A leading expert on American foreign policy, Washington College’s 27th president invites a steady stream of international figures and Washington insiders to discuss world affairs.
Mitchell B. Reiss became the 27th president of Washington College on July 1, 2010, and was inaugurated on October 2, 2010. The former Special Envoy to the Northern Ireland Peace Process and a key official addressing the North Korean nuclear crisis had been most recently Diplomat-in-Residence at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he held a number of leadership positions, including Vice Provost for International Affairs, Dean and Director of the Wendy and Emery Reves Center for International Studies; he also held appointments in the School of Law and the Government Department. President Reiss left Washington College in the summer of 2014 to take over the position of President and CEO of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
From 2003-2005 Reiss served as Director of the Office of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department, where he provided Secretary Colin L. Powell with independent strategic advice and policy recommendations. In December 2003, he was asked to serve concurrently as the President’s Special Envoy for the Northern Ireland Peace Process with the rank of Ambassador; in January 2005 Secretary Condoleezza Rice asked Reiss to continue in this position, which he did until February 2007. During this period, Northern Ireland registered historic progress towards ending “the Troubles” and realizing the full promise of the Good Friday Agreement. For his efforts, he received the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Award for Public Service.
In 1995, Reiss helped manage the start-up and operations of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), a multinational organization designed to deliver $6 billion of energy (500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil/year and two 1,000 MW nuclear power stations) to North Korea. He led KEDO’s negotiations with the North Koreans and served as its first General Counsel. Reiss was a Guest Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., where he started its nonproliferation and counterproliferation programs. He practiced corporate and banking law at Covington & Burling and served as Special Assistant to the National Security Advisor as a White House Fellow in 1988-89. He was a Consultant to the Office of the Legal Advisor at the State Department, the General Counsel’s Office at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and the Los Alamos and Livermore National Laboratorie
Reiss has a law degree from Columbia Law School, a D.Phil. from Oxford University, a Master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy and a B.A. from Williams College. He has written three books on international security, contributed to eighteen others, and published over 100 articles and reviews. His newest book, Negotiating with Evil: When to Talk to Terrorists, was published by digital publisher Open Road Media in September 2010 as its first original e-book.
Reiss has testified frequently before Congress, appeared on television and radio in the U.S. and overseas, and delivered numerous talks before academic, military, and civilian audiences around the world.
Council on Foreign Relations, NYC
President Mitchell B. Reiss was a participant in the Council on Foreign Relation’s Higher Education Working Group on Global issues on January 30th and 31st in New York City. The Working Group convenes twice annually to explore the role of colleges and universities in a rapidly changing world and how institutions can most effectively meet the challenges of globalization. At this session representatives from more than 60 leaders of American higher education institutions and businesses gathered together to discuss current trends and what they mean for the future of higher education.
“The future of higher education will be filled with hard choices,” President Reiss said. “Despite being one of the few participants invited from a small, liberal arts college, it was clear that all of the players are concerned with the changing realities of this marketplace and understand the urgency with which we need to act.”