Office of Public Affairs

Mitchell Speaking at USM on "Understanding the Middle East and Its Significance on the World Stage"

Senator George Mitchell will keynote the second annual Wright Express Leadership and Creativity Event Series with a presentation on "Understanding the Middle East and Its Significance on the World Stage.”  

The event, scheduled from 7:30 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, October 5, in USM’s Hannaford Lecture Hall, Bedford Street, Portland, is Mitchell’s first Maine presentation on current Middle Eastern issues since completing his duties as Special Envoy.  USM President and Middle Eastern scholar Selma Botman will be joining Mitchell to offer commentary.

Wright Express founded the Leadership and Creativity Event Series in 2010 to provide an annual forum at USM for leaders of national or international renown, and to raise scholarship monies.  

“This Wright Express Leadership and Creativity Event Series is a partnership with USM designed to showcase creative leaders who have made a difference in the world or in the way we see the world. Senator Mitchell’s unique perspective about the recent events in the Middle East is relevant to help us understand the impact on the world stage and our community,” said Wright Express Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Dubyak.  “We are equally excited that the series has the dual purpose of funding scholarships for USM students.”   

Mitchell will present his perspective about the recent events in the Middle East, including how turbulence in Arab politics will have both direct and indirect effects on the U.S. And despite the many obstacles to peace, Mitchell will share why he remains optimistic amidst the current turmoil.

The senator has been involved in the Middle East in many capacities since he retired from the United States Senate in 1995. In 2000-2001, he served as chairman of the Sharm el-Sheikh International Fact-Finding Committee to examine the crisis in the region. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed him to serve as Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, a position he held until this spring. 

Botman, who holds a Ph.D. in history and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, has served as an affiliate at Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies. She has taught at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, published articles and books, and was interviewed extensively during the emergence of the Arab Spring.

All ticket proceeds will support USM scholarships. Tickets are $20, general admission and $15 for seniors and students. Seating will be first-come, first-served. See "Understanding the Middle East and Its Significance on the World Stage" to purchase tickets. For more information, call USM at 780-4714.

USM President Selma Botman photograph

Senator George Mitchell photograph

About Wright Express

Wright Express is a leading provider of value-based, business payment processing and information management solutions. The company's fleet, corporate and prepaid payment solutions provide its more than 350,000 customers with unparalleled security and control across a wide spectrum of business sectors. The company's subsidiaries include Wright Express Financial Services, Pacific Pride and Wright Express International, including Wright Express Prepaid Cards Australia and Wright Express Fuel Cards Australia. Wright Express and its subsidiaries employ more than 850 associates in six countries. See Wright Express.

About USM

The University of Southern Maine is northern New England's outstanding public, regional, comprehensive university, dedicated to providing students with a high-quality, accessible, affordable education. From our campuses in Portland, Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn, USM offers baccalaureate, master's and doctoral programs, providing students with rich learning opportunities in the arts, humanities, politics, health sciences, business, mass communications, science, engineering and technology. Our students will be the artists, business people, engineers, health care workers, public servants, teachers and others whose talents will fuel our economy—and shape tomorrow's world.