Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict
Peace through Perseverance
4th Annual Gala and Peacebuilder Award Ceremony, Monday, May 1, 2017
About the Peacebuilder Award
The CRCC at Drew University was privileged to honor former Senator George Mitchell with the CRCC Peacebuilder award. A respected member of the Senate and successful peace negotiator, George Mitchell was inspiring and insightful.
George Mitchell served as US Special Envoy for Middle East Peace from January 2009 to May 2011. Prior to that, he had a distinguished career in public service, serving as a Senator for 15 years, enjoying 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, Senator 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 cleanup law. Senator 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. Senator 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 William J. 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 Senator 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 Ehud Barak, and Chairman Yasser Arafat, Senator 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 by 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 September 11 attack victims and their families.
Senator Mitchell served as Chairman of the global board of the law firm DLA Piper and is now Chairman Emeritus; 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; as President of the Economic Club of Washington; and as Chairman of the International Crisis Group.
Sen. Mitchell is the author of five books. The most recent, a memoir entitled The Negotiator: Reflections on an American Life, was published in May 2015. With his colleague, Sen. Bill Cohen of Maine, he wrote Men of Zeal, describing the Iran-Contra investigation. In 1990, Sen. 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, Sen. Mitchell wrote Making Peace, an account of his experience in Northern Ireland.
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