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As reported by local, national, and international media outlets (see links below), Senator George Mitchell, chair of the negotiations that led to Northern Ireland’s historic 1998 accord and an end to decades of sectarian bloodshed, was overseas in early April to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. At 89, he was once again on the world stage, urging leaders to uphold the peace that began, as he said, “when history opened itself to hope.” (To see his full remarks, watch the video linked above.)
In recognition for his leadership role in the Northern Ireland peace process, Senator Mitchell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Liberty Medal, in 1998 — the same year he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. A year later, he was invested as an Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE).
At the same time he was working to end violent conflict and help reshape Northern Ireland’s political destiny, Senator Mitchell was also busy creating a brighter future for Maine’s young people.
The Mitchell Institute’s guiding tenet — that no Maine student with the qualifications and ambition to pursue a college education should be denied that opportunity due to limited financial resources — is as important today as it was when Senator Mitchell established the Mitchell Scholarship Program in 1995, the same year he was appointed by then-President Bill Clinton to serve as the U.S. Special Envoy for Northern Ireland.
Since its founding, the Mitchell Institute has awarded $23 million in scholarships, fellowship awards, and contingency funds to more than 3,400 Maine college-going students — by any measure an enormous investment in the state’s young people and workforce over the past 28 years.
- Senator Mitchell’s address at the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement (video)
- The Associated Press/Portland Press Herald: George Mitchell, in Northern Ireland, urges end to political impasse
- Boston Globe: The gentleman from Maine who brought peace to Northern Ireland
- BBC News: Good Friday Agreement: Bill Clinton says getting involved was ‘leap of faith’
- The Independent: Good Friday Agreement changed history, Mitchell tells anniversary event
- The Irish Times: George Mitchell believes current crisis in North will be resolved
- The Washington Post: George Mitchell’s secret to peace holds lessons — in N. Ireland and U.S.