James George (born September 14, 1918 in Toronto, Ontario) is a Canadian diplomat, political and environmental activist, author, and “spiritual seeker.” He is also an Asteroid Day 100X Signatory. A founder of the Threshold Foundation and president of the Sadat Peace Foundation, he led the Friends of the Earth international mission to Kuwait and the Persian Gulf to assess post-war environmental damage.
George received a Littauer Fellowship to Harvard University, and was a 1940 Rhodes Scholar for Ontario, studying at Upper Canada College, Trinity College, and University of Toronto, and was awarded an Honourary Doctorate of Sacred Letters by Trinity College, University of Toronto, at its May Convocation.
George served in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve during World War II, attaining to the rank of Lt. Commander, following which he represented Canada at the United Nations, and later before NATO. He then served as High Commissioner of Canada to Sri Lanka (Ceylon) 1960–64, High Commissioner to India and Ambassador to Nepal 1967–72, and Ambassador to Iranand the Gulf States 1972–77. Commonwealth Secretary-General Arnold Smith credited George with helping to contain the conflict between India and Pakistan in 1971, when East Pakistanbecame Bangladesh.
Retiring from diplomatic service in 1977, George turned his attention to ecological and spiritual issues full time. While directing Threshold Foundation he helped to found in London (1978–82), he played a leading role in the adoption by the International Whaling Commission of a moratorium on high seas whaling and to ban all whaling in the Indian Ocean and the Antarctic. In 1984, he co-founded the Anwar Sadat Peace Foundation to promote peace in the Middle East, and the following year was a founder of the Rainforest Action Network. More recently, he has worked to develop wind power resources in British Columbia, and has been helping to develop new technology to make the desalination of seawater more affordable.
His publisher’s bio describes George as “first and foremost a spiritual seeker.” During his years of diplomatic service, he met numerous spiritual thinking and teachers, including Krishnamurti,Thomas Merton, Yogaswami of Sri Lanka, Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, Dudjom Rinpoche, and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Across six decades he has been a devoted practitioner of the Gurdjieff Work, and was a close disciple of the late Madame de Salzmann, G.I. Gurdjieff’s primary student.
George has been twice married, first to Caroline Parfitt, 1942–96, with whom he had three children: Daniel, Graham (who died in 2003) and Caroline Randolph (Dolphi). He married Barbara Brady Wright in San Francisco on 1 January 2005, at the age of 86.
In September 2007, CBC aired a short documentary about him titled “In the Spirit of Diplomacy,” by independent film-maker Marco Mascarin. This piece used elements of a 1975 documentary byPaul Saltzman entitled “Saint Demetrius Rides a Red Horse: James George Leaves India.”
- George, James (1975). Achaemenid Orientations.
- George, James; Blackwelder, Brent (10 July 1991). “Oil Fires: A Middleast Chernobyl?”. Toronto Star. p. A21.
- George, James (1 September 2002). ASKING FOR THE EARTH: Waking Up to the Spiritual/Ecological Crisis. Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press. ISBN 978-1581770902.
- — (22 August 2009). The Little Green Book on Awakening. Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press. ISBN 978-1-58177-112-1.