Senator George Mitchell, Global Diplomat, Peace Negotiator and Leadership Expert who has an established reputation for skillful negotiation, patience, wise counsel and resilience and who successfully helped broker the Northern Ireland peace deal. Named by Time Magazine in 2008 as one of the “100 most influential persons in the world.”
George J. Mitchell served as US Special Envoy for Middle East Peace from January 2009 to May 2011. In that capacity he worked toward an end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Prior to that he had a distinguished career in public service. He was appointed to the United States Senate in 1980 to complete the unexpired term of Senator Edmund Muskie, who resigned to become Secretary of State. He was elected to a full term in the Senate in 1982 and went on to an illustrious career there that spanned 15 years. In 1988, he was reelected with 81 percent of the vote, the largest margin in Maine history. He left the Senate in 1995 as the Senate majority leader, a position he had held since January 1989.
Mitchell enjoyed bipartisan respect during his tenure. It has been said “there is not a man, woman or child in the Capitol who does not trust George Mitchell.” For six consecutive years he was voted “the most respected member” of the Senate by a bipartisan group of senior congressional aides.
While in the Senate, Mitchell served on the Finance, Veterans Affairs, and Environment and Public Works Committees. He led the successful 1990 reauthorization of the Clean Air Act, including new controls on acid rain toxins. He was the author of the first national oil spill prevention and clean-up law. Mitchell led the Senate to passage of the nation’s first child care bill and was principal author of the low-income housing tax credit program. He was instrumental in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, landmark legislation extending civil rights protections to the disabled. Mitchell’s efforts led to the passage of a higher education bill that expanded opportunities for millions of Americans. He was a leader in opening markets to trade and led the Senate to ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement and creation of the World Trade Organization.
In 1995, he served as a Special Advisor to President Clinton on Ireland, and from 1996 to 2000 he served as the Independent Chairman of the Northern Ireland Peace Talks. Under his leadership the Good Friday Agreement, an historic accord ending decades of conflict, was agreed to by the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom and the political parties of Northern Ireland. For his service in Northern Ireland Mitchell received numerous awards and honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor given by the US government; the Philadelphia Liberty Medal; the Truman Institute Peace Prize; and the United Nations (UNESCO) Peace Prize.
In 2000 and 2001, at the request of President Clinton, Prime Minister Barak, and Chairman Arafat, Mitchell served as chairman of an International Fact-Finding Committee on violence in the Middle East. The Committee’s recommendation, widely known as The Mitchell Report, was endorsed by the Bush Administration, the European Union, and many other governments.
In 2006 and 2007, he led the investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. He also served as chairman of the Special Commission Investigating Allegations of Impropriety in the Bidding Process for the Olympic Games and was the independent overseer of the American Red Cross Liberty Fund, which provided relief for 9/11 attack victims and their families.
Mitchell served as chairman of the Board of Directors of The Walt Disney Company; a member of the Board of the Boston Red Sox; and a director of several companies, including Federal Express, Xerox, Staples, Unilever, and Starwood Hotels and Resorts. He also served for ten years as the chancellor of Queen’s University of Northern Ireland, president of the Economic Club of Washington, and chairman of the International Crisis Group.
In 2008, Time magazine named Mitchell one of the “100 most influential persons in the world.”
Mitchell is the author of four books. With his colleague, Sen. Bill Cohen of Maine, he wrote Men of Zeal, describing the Iran-Contra investigation. In 1990, Mitchell wrote World on Fire, describing the threat of the greenhouse effect and recommending steps to curb it. His next book, published in 1997, was Not for America Alone: The Triumph of Democracy and the Fall of Communism. In 1999, Mitchell wrote Making Peace, an account of his experience in Northern Ireland.
After two years focusing on Middle East peace for President Barack Obama, he returned to the law firm DLA Piper as chairman emeritus in May 2011, the same job he gave up when President Obama appointed him to the Middle East position.
- Conflict in the Middle East
- US Trade Relations with Europe, Japan & China
- Bringing Peace to Northern Ireland