The Washington Foreign Law Society (WFLS) awarded Senator George J. Mitchell the annual Harry LeRoy Jones Award for Senator Mitchell’s role in advancing the rule of law in his extraordinary career as a legislator, diplomat, and leader. The award was presented at the Society’s annual Gala dinner, held at Union Station in Washington, DC, on Wednesday evening, May 23, beginning at 7 pm. The Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State, Harold Hongju Koh, introduced Senator Mitchell at the dinner. The Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Ireland and the Director of the Northern Ireland Bureau offered congratulations to Sen. Mitchell.
Senator Mitchell served for fifteen years in the U.S. Senate, and left in 1995 after an extraordinary series of accomplishments, including six years as Senator Majority Leader. In the years since leaving the U.S. Senate, he has taken on major diplomatic responsibilities of international significance, including President Clinton’s Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. Under his leadership, the Good Friday Agreement, a historic accord ending decades of conflict, was agreed to by the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom and the political parties of Northern Ireland. For his service in Northern Ireland Senator Mitchell received numerous awards and honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor given by the US 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 by many other governments. He served as President Obama’s U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace from 2009 to 2011. He is currently Partner and Chairman Emeritus of the law firm DLA Piper.
The Harry LeRoy Jones Award is given annually by the WFLS to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the development and application of international law. Recent recipients include the Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of the World Justice Project, William H. Neukom; U.S. Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Sandra Day O’Connor; U.S. Senator Richard Lugar; former Secretary of State James Baker; and the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. Formed in 1952, the WFLS is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, that promotes knowledge and understanding of international legal matters. Its members include attorneys, U.S. government officials, foreign diplomats, academics, representatives from international organizations and others.
Senator Mitchell has been named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time Magazine. Samuel Witten, the president of the Washington Foreign Law Society, said, “we are honoring Senator Mitchell for his important role in advancing international law and world peace through his tireless efforts as a U.S. Senator and in his many achievements in addressing the conflicts in Northern Ireland and the Middle East.”
The following were Gala Silver Level Sponsors:
American Society of International Law, American University Washington College of Law, Arnold & Porter, Chadbourne & Parke, Debra & Michael Decker, DLA Piper, Georgetown University Law Center, George Washington University Law School, Holland & Knight, Northern Ireland Bureau, and White & Case.
Photos of the event are found here.