Conflict resolution in divided societies
Senator George Mitchell
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center
Institute for International Business and
Global Executive Forum
Center for International Business Education & Research
Senator George Mitchell is one of the era's most distinguished international statesmen, and currently
chairs the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact Finding Committee, He served as chairman of the International
Commission on Disarmament in Northern Ireland and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom,
the U.S. government's highest civilian honor. From 1980-1995 he was a U.S. Senator and was Senate
Majority Leader for six years. After leaving the Senate, he joined the Washington, DC law firm of Verner,
Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand. He is the author of four books, the most recent of which is
"Making Peace." He received his undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College in 1954, served as a US
Army Counter-Intelligence Corps officer until 1956, and received his LLB degree from Georgetown
University in 1960.
George Mitchell's vast experience in resolving conflicts in the hot spots of the world has led him to
conclude that negotiating with Osama bin Laden is not an option and any attempt to do so would be futile.
"Human history has been plagued over and over again with individuals and causes which don't lend
themselves to rational resolution. And I think that's the case with these particular terror networks now,"
said Mitchell, speaking before the Global Executive Forum.
The terrorists' fanaticism and hatred preclude rational discussion, making their demands impossible to
satisfy. "If we were to give them everything they want, they'd come up with one more thing. And if we
gave them one more thing, they'd think of something else they want."
Osama bin Laden rants about U.S. support of Israel, "but this is propaganda and not what has formed his
attitudes about the United States," said Mitchell.
"If tomorrow the Israelis and the Palestin