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Release: Immediate

(Editors note: Mitchell will be available to meet with members of the media at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15 at the North Room of the Iowa Memorial Union on the UI campus.)

Former U.S. Senator George Mitchell to speak at the UI Sept. 15

IOWA CITY, Iowa ­ Former U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell will present a lecture at the University of Iowa at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15 at the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union.

The lecture, "Tales of a Patriot: Creating Peace in Northern Ireland," is sponsored by the UI Lecture Committee. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Mitchell, a former Democratic senator and majority leader from Maine, served 14 years in the Senate before retiring. In 1995 he was named as special advisor on Northern Ireland. He now serves as chairman of The International Commission on Disarmament in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland, which is under British rule, has seen as many as 3,600 of its citizens killed in an ongoing war between the country's Protestant majority and Catholic minority. Mitchell has worked with the country's political leaders to disarm the Catholic militants of the Irish Republican Army.

The recent bombings in Omagh, Northern Ireland led President Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to meet personally to discuss ways on how to end continual terrorist attacks and bring peace to the region that has endured a three-decade sectarian war.

Mitchell, who retired from the Senate in 1994, was initially selected by President Clinton to fill a U.S. Supreme Court seat that had been vacated by Justice Harry A. Blackmun who retired during the same year. However, Mitchell declined Clinton's selection.

"Although it would be an honor to be considered for the court, I believe I can best serve by concentrating this year on health-care reform and the rest of the president's agenda for change," Mitchell said in 1994.

Mitchell served as state chairman for the Maine Democratic Party from 1966 to 1968 before being appointed as a district judge, a position he held before being elected to the Senate in 1980. Mitchell, a native of Maine, served as a U.S. Army officer before earning a law degree from Georgetown University in 1960. He has written three books, the latest, Not for America Alone: The Triumph of Democracy and the Fall of Communism, was published in 1997.

For more information about UI Lecture Committee events, contact Trinity Ray, 1998-99 committee chairman. The committee's office number is (319) 335-3255.