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Policy / PEOPLE

On a Quest for Peace

New role: Former Rep. Jim Marshall(AP Photo/Erik S. Lesser)

July 26, 2012

See more coverage of the people who influence politics and policy in Washington, D.C., on National Journal's People page.

A military man will be the new president of the United States Institute of Peace. Former Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Ga., starts his new job on Sept. 14.

Currently a lecturer at Princeton University, Marshall is only the fourth president of the independent organization created by Congress in 1984. Marshall’s military background is in apparent contrast to the Institute’s goal of preventing conflict without the need for violence.

Marshall, 64, who served four terms in the House from 2003 to 2011, followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both former Army generals, and left Princeton in 1968 to enlist in the Army. He volunteered for infantry combat in Vietnam and was awarded two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart after being wounded. He returned to Princeton to graduate with his bachelor’s degree before attending Boston University Law School.

 

Marshall moved to Macon, Ga., in 1979 to practice business law and to join Mercer University as a law professor. In 1995, he pursued his interest in politics and was elected mayor of Macon, a position he held until 1999.

He lost his first run for Congress in 2000 against then-Rep. and now-Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. But Marshall won the next time around in one of the closest elections of 2002. He narrowly defeated a Republican county commissioner, Calder Clay, in a newly drawn 3rd Congressional District by basing his campaign around his military experience.

Marshall’s military background also showed during his tenure in Congress. He made a name for himself as a conservative Democrat who supported the Iraq war and was a proponent for veterans’ rights. Marshall lost his seat in 2010 to now-Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga.

Marshall will replace Richard Solomon, a former political-science professor who became the institute’s third president in 1993. Solomon, who expanded the institute’s reach with offices in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Libya, announced in January that he would step down in September.

“I am humbled, honored, and pleased to join a talented and committed team whose mission is critically important to the United States and the world,” Marshall said.

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