"My parents had no education. My mother couldn't read or write English. She worked nights in a textile mill. My father was a janitor at a local college in our hometown."
George Mitchell did not have an easy start in life. He worked from an early age to put himself through college, and then through law school. At one time he dreamed of becoming mayor of his home town, but his career took him far beyond the city hall of Waterville, Maine.
When George Mitchell stepped onto the international stage, he had already represented Maine in the United States Senate for 14 years, the last six as Majority Leader, the second most powerful elected official in the United States. In those years he enjoyed almost universal respect in Washington. It was said, "there is not a man, woman or child in the capital who does not trust George Mitchell."
At the request of the British and Irish Governments, George Mitchell served as Chairman of the International Commission on Disarmament in Northern Ireland, and as Chairman of the subsequent peace negotiations. Under his leadership the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom agreed to an historic accord, ending decades of conflict. The agreement was overwhelmingly ratified by the voters of Ireland, North and South.
For his service in the cause of peace, George Mitchell has received numerous awards and honors, including the United Nations (UNESCO) Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor the U.S. Government can bestow.