Story posted January 22, 2009
George J. Mitchell '54 — former Senate Majority Leader, negotiator of the Northern Ireland Peace Accord and chair of the investigation into illegal steroid use in Major League Baseball — has been chosen to serve as the new U.S. envoy to the Middle East.
Mitchell says there's "no such thing as a conflict that can't be ended" and pledges his full effort to bring peace and stability to the Middle East.
Mitchell said Thursday he'll be facing a "volatile, complex and dangerous" conflict — one that has become so entrenched, it's seen by many as unchangeable.
But he says President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton aren't convinced of that.
With Obama looking on, Clinton introduced Mitchell to a State Department audience, saying he'd work to advance prospects for peace between Israel and its neighbors.
Mitchell says he saw during his work as an envoy in Northern Ireland that even a conflict that dates hundreds of years can be resolved.
Mitchell was born and raised in Waterville, Maine, and graduated from Bowdoin College and Georgetown University Law Center. He entered the U.S. Senate in 1980 and went on to an illustrious career in the senate that spanned 14 years. In January 1989 he became Senate Majority Leader. He held that position until he left the senate in 1995.
During his tenure, Senator Mitchell earned enormous bipartisan respect. It has been said "there is not a man, woman, or child in the Capitol who does not trust George Mitchell."
In 1995, he established the Mitchell Scholarship Program (now the Mitchell Institute) to create ongoing scholar involvement in leadership and professional development, as well as community service and mentoring activities. In 2008, Time magazine included him on its list of the one hundred most influential people in the world.