Mitchell B. Reiss (born 1957) is a senior American diplomat who became the 27th president of Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland on July 1, 2010. He served as Director of Policy Planning at the United States Department of State under Colin Powell. He also served as the United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland, with the diplomatic rank of Ambassador, until stepping down in 2007. He has degrees from Williams College, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Columbia University Law School and Oxford. He was also selected to be a White House Fellow and was assigned to the National Security Council, where he worked both for Brent Scowcroft and Colin Powell.
He was Chief Negotiator in the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, an organization set up by the United States, South Korea, and Japan to implement the Agreed Framework on preventing nuclear proliferation on the Korean peninsula. He has served on the National Security Council, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Ford Foundation, the Cambridge Institute for Applied Research, the State Department, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Previously, he was Vice-Provost for International Affairs, Professor of Law at the William and Mary Law School, and Professor of Government in the Department of Government at the College of William and Mary. He is a member of the Mission Essential Personnel Board of Advisors.
As a Special Envoy to Northern Ireland, he has played an important role in the Northern Ireland peace process. However, after Reiss denied Gerry Adams a visa to the United States to spur the endorsement of policing and justice in Northern Ireland by Adams and his political party, Sinn Féin, Adams criticized Reiss on March 16, 2006 saying, "I don't have high regards for Mitchell Reiss's input into this process" and "If it is he who is advising the president, it's very very bad advice." Reiss responded "We try very hard to be an honest broker. I think if you look at the record, it demonstrates quite clearly that we don't play favorites - that we call it as we see it... We try to keep our eye on the main objective here - which is moving the peace process forward and keeping the focus on the people of Northern Ireland." Less than a year later, in January 2007, Sinn Féin formally endorsed policing and justice, thereby paving the way for the historic power-sharing arrangement with Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party on March 26, 2007.
Mitchell is married to Elisabeth Reiss
- Negotiating with Evil: When to Talk to Terrorists, ASIN B003MZ14OQ
- Bridled Ambition: Why Countries Constrain Their Nuclear Capabilities, ISBN 0-943875-71-4
- Without the Bomb: The Politics of Nuclear Non-proliferation, ISBN 0-231-06439-X
- Nuclear Proliferation after the Cold War (co-editor/author), ISBN 0-943875-64-1
- The Nuclear Tipping-Point (editor), ISBN 81-7049-227-0
- Washington College — Official Washington College Website
- Mitchell B. Reiss — official biography from the United States Department of State
- NI special envoy appointed — BBC News article, 12 December 2003
- Reiss' current blog at ForeignPolicy.com