The University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice will host Senator George J. Mitchell as the next speaker in the Joan B. Kroc Distinguished Lecture Series. This year’s series focuses on “The Negotiators” who work in challenging conflict situations to build consensus for human rights and peace.
Mitchell served in the U.S. Senate from 1980 to 1995, where he held a variety of important leadership roles including Senate Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995. After leaving Congress in 1995, Mitchell served as a Special Advisor on Ireland to President Clinton, and from 1996 to 2000 was instrumental in the peace negotiations which lead to the Good Friday Agreement, a historic accord ending decades of conflict between the political parties of Northern Ireland and the governments of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Following the success in Ireland, in 2000, President Clinton, Prime Minister Barak of Israel, and Chairman Arafat of the Palestinian Authority asked Mitchell to serve as Chairman of an International Fact-Finding Committee on Violence in the Middle East. Published in 2001, the committee’s recommendation, widely known as the Mitchell Report, was endorsed by the Bush Administration, the European Union and many other governments. In January 2009, President Obama appointed Mitchell as the administration’s Special Envoy for Middle East Peace.
Diana Kutlow, senior program officer at the IPJ said of Mitchell, “Senator George Mitchell is a living witness to the potential for peace in even the most “intractable” conflicts. He has said that every conflict can be resolved because human beings start them and human beings can stop them. He played an essential role in doing just that in Northern Ireland and has negotiating lessons to share from that successful foray into peacemaking.”
His lecture, entitled “Negotiating in Business, Politics and Peace,” will draw on Mitchell’s legal and political experience as well as his role as Independent Chairman of the Northern Ireland Peace Talks. Mitchell will address why the success from the Northern Ireland negotiations has not translated to the Middle East. Mitchell will also explore how peace negotiations differ from political and business deal-making and how people from various professions use their negotiating skills to build pace in their communities and countries.
“I formed the conviction that there is no such thing as a conflict that can’t be ended,” Senator Mitchell explains. “Conflicts are created, conducted and sustained by human beings. They can be ended by human beings.”
The Joan B. Kroc Distinguished Lecture Series is a forum for high-level national and international leaders and policymakers to share their knowledge and perspectives on issues related to peace and justice. Designed to broaden our understanding and thinking about how to prevent and resolve conflict and promote peace with justice, the series is made possible by an endowment from the late Joan B. Kroc.
This event is open to the public and press. Reservations are required at http://peace.kintera.org/dls or call (619) 260-4236.
– Melissa Wagoner
Photo courtesy of Reuters