Dr. McDonald Benjamin, was born at Coulisbistrie, Dominica on March 5, 1924. He died on October 23, 1989 in Washington, D.C.
He was the first born West Indian to take a PhD in Food Technology at the University of California Los Angeles, after first having graduated from the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture in Trinidad . He was the Senior Economist with the Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO)/World Bank Program and ended his career at the World Bank as the Asia Division Director for Project Management Development of the International Fund for Project Development in Rome.
He authored the well-respected agriculture project development handbook titled “Investment Projects in Agriculture” — in Longman, London (1981). At his passing, Dr. Benjamin was Dominica’s Ambassador to the United States from 1986 to 1989.
His German-born wife, Hannelore “Angela” Benjamin, was later Dominica’s ambassador to the FAO. It is of note that Ambassador Hannelore Benjamin saw Adolph Hitler when Hitler visited her school. She was hit in the face for not giving the “Heil Hitler” salute quickly enough. Her father Ewald Sichmann was a supporter of Colonel Von Stauffenberg’s anti-Hitler plot Operation Valkyrie ( see – https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Valkyrie) and barely escaped with his life. He was banished to the deepest part of the Dortmund area coal mines for six months and returned home after the war: blinded by his experience for several months.
Ambassador Benjamin’s son, World Bank economist Dr. Mcdonald Benjamin Jr. , was educated at Oxford University and Georgetown University. In recent years Dr. Benjamin Jr. has been the World Bank representative for Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. The Benjamin family has made enormous contributions to the Caribbean region, having distinguished themselves in the cause of economic development. Dr. Benjamin’s daughter Alessandra is a graduate of the University of Miami and has been an actress in Los Angeles.
Alessandra, Dr. McDonald Benjamin Jr. and their mother, Angela, are thanked here for being volunteers for, and supporters of, Rebuild Dominica (www.rebuilddominica.org) following the Hurricane Maria disaster. We commend them for their example and commitment to humanitarian and development service.
From the desk of Gabriel J. Christian, Esq. – President at Rebuild Dominica Inc.