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O’Bama, O’Biden and O’Reiss
As former Special Envoy to the Northern Ireland Peace Process, Washington College President Mitchell B. Reiss was invited to celebrate an early St. Patrick’s Day at the White House.
WASHINGTON, DC—As former Special Envoy for the Northern Ireland Peace Process, Washington College President Mitchell B. Reiss was invited to the White House Friday evening, March 14, for an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration with President Obama and key figures from Ireland, including Taioseach Enda Kenny.
Here are his thoughts on the evening:
The St. Patrick’s Day event at the White House is always special—a celebration of the many ties between the United States and Ireland, a time to reconnect with friends and colleagues we may not have seen during the year and a commemoration of the hard and important work that Washington, Dublin and London devoted to ending the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland.
It is also a time when the parties rededicate themselves to completing the long walk to a peaceful and prosperous integrated society in the North. President Obama and the Taioseach each spoke eloquently to a 400-strong Irish-American audience in the East Room of the White House.
The event was a reminder that some events and some foreign policy issues are beyond partisanship, as well as a reminder of how many people in the world still look to the United States for leadership.
Reiss was the President’s Special Envoy for the Northern Ireland Peace Process, with the Rank of Ambassador, from 2003 to 2007. Working with the British and Irish governments, he played a key role in persuading the political parties representing Northern Ireland’s two “traditions” to finally end the “Troubles” and restore local government. He was awarded the Foreign Affairs Award for Public Service for his work on ending the conflict.
To watch President Obama’s remarks at the event, click here.