Renowned Senator and Negotiator George J. Mitchell to Discuss America’s International Role at Lecture

August 11, 2015

George J. Mitchell has earned national and worldwide respect as a U.S. Senator and Senate majority leader, as well as a chief negotiator and fact-finder for troubled regions and controversial inquiries. As the presenter of the Honorable T. Linus Hoban Memorial Lecture, Senator Mitchell will discuss “The U.S. Role in the World: Challenges and Responsibilities.” The University of Scranton’s Schemel Forum, in collaboration with the Lackawanna Bar Association, will present the lecture Thursday, Sept. 10, at 5:30 p.m. at the Elm Park United Methodist Church (712 Linden St., Scranton). The public is invited to attend the lecture free of charge.

Senator Mitchell, who represented Maine in the U.S. Senate from 1980 to 1995, served on the Finance, Veterans Affairs, and Environment and Public Works committees. He was instrumental in the passage of several landmark legislations including: the first national oil spill prevention and cleanup law, the nation’s first child care bill, the Americans with Disabilities Act, a higher education bill that expanded opportunities for millions of Americans, the North American Free Trade Agreement and creation of the World Trade Organization.

He capped a distinguished career in the Senate as majority leader from 1989 to 1995 and for six consecutive years, was voted “the most respected member” of the Senate by a bipartisan group of senior congressional aides.

In 1995, Senator Mitchell 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, the United Kingdom and the political parties of Northern Ireland. For his service in Northern Ireland, Senator Mitchell received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor given by the U.S. 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 many other governments.

In 2006 and 2007, Senator Mitchell 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; 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.

The author of “The Negotiator: A Memoir” (published in 2014), which he will sign following the lecture, Senator Mitchell also wrote “Making Peace” (1999) and “Not for America Alone: The Triumph of Democracy and the Fall of Communism” (1997), and he co-authored “Men of Zeal: A Candid Inside Story of the Iran-Contra Hearings” (1988). He received an undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College and a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.

“As our nation and some of our most important allies have just completed a negotiation with Iran that has led to a pact – one that was at least as challenging as the one in Northern Ireland – I am especially honored to have Senator Mitchell here to talk about America, the world and his work in negotiation,” said Sondra Myers, director of the Schemel Forum at The University of Scranton. “I see no better way of working out conflicts than negotiation. In my view, it is the most heroic of processes.”

Since its inception in 1978, the Hoban Lecture has hosted prominent world figures including U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist; Hans Blix, Ph.D., former chairman of the International Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction; Alexander M. Haig Jr., former U.S. Secretary of State and supreme allied commander of NATO; Helmut Schmidt, former chancellor of West Germany; Edward Heath, former prime minister of the United Kingdom; the late Yitzak Rabin, former prime minister of Israel; and Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent, and her husband James Rubin, President Clinton’s assistant secretary of state for public affairs. The most recent Hoban Lecture, held in 2014, featured Yuriy Sergeyev, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations and Ambassador Extraordinary.

“The Lackawanna Bar Association, celebrating its 125th anniversary, is a proud partner in the Hoban Lecture Series, which has a great history of distinguished lecturers,” said Matthew P. Barrett, Esq., president of the Lackawanna Bar Association. “Senator Mitchell has played a significant role on the national and world stage for years. Our Association is honored to participate in an event which will host Senator Mitchell and we look forward to his presentation.”

For additional information about the Hoban Lecture, contact the University at 570-941-7401 or the Lackawanna Bar Association at 570-969-9161.

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