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Leadership | Current Events | Globalization | Politics


Walter F. Mondale's record of public service includes Vice President of the United States, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, U.S. Senator, and Attorney General for the State of Minnesota. He was also the Democratic Party's nominee for President in 1984. He is currently Senior Counsel with the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney LLP, headquartered in Minneapolis with 16 offices worldwide. He serves on the firm's Asia Law Practice Group. He also serves as the Honorary Norwegian Consul General in Minneapolis.

In March 1998, serving as President Clinton's special envoy, Mr. Mondale traveled to Indonesia to meet with then-President Suharto regarding the Asian financial crisis and economic reforms in Indonesia.

Walter Frederick ("Fritz") Mondale was born in Ceylon, Minnesota and he spent his boyhood in the small towns of southern Minnesota, where he attended public schools. After he helped manage Hubert H. Humphrey's first successful U.S. Senate campaign in 1948, he earned his B.A. in political science from the University of Minnesota in 1951. After completing service as a corporal in the U.S. Army, Mondale received his LL.B. (cum laude) from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1956, having served on the law review and as a law clerk in the Minnesota Supreme Court.

In 1960, Minnesota Governor Orville Freeman appointed him to the position of State Attorney General. Mr. Mondale was then elected to the office in 1962, and served until 1964, when Governor Karl Rolvaag asked him to fill the U.S. Senate vacancy created by Hubert Humphrey's election to the Vice Presidency. The voters of Minnesota returned him to the Senate in 1966 and 1972.

During his 12 years as a Senator, Walter Mondale served on the Finance Committee, the Labor and Public Welfare Committee, Budget Committee, and the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. He also served as the chairman of the Select Committee on Equal Education Opportunity and as the chairman of the Intelligence Committee's Domestic Task Force.

Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale were elected President and Vice President of the United States on November 2, 1976. On the President's behalf, Mr. Mondale traveled extensively throughout the country and the world advocating U.S. policy. He was the first Vice President to have an office in the White House, and he served as a full-time participant, advisor, and troubleshooter for the Administration.

In 1984, Mr. Mondale was the Democratic Party's nominee for President of the United States. Following that election, he practiced law, taught, studied, traveled and served as a director of both non-profit and corporate boards. He returned to his native Minnesota in 1987, where he practiced law with the firm of Dorsey & Whitney until President Clinton nominated him to be the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. He served as Ambassador to Japan from August 13, 1993, to December 15, 1996.

During that period, Walter Mondale helped to negotiate several U.S.-Japan security agreements, including a resolution to the controversy about the U.S. military presence in Okinawa. He also helped to negotiate numerous trade agreements between the United States and Japan, and he promoted the expansion of educational exchanges between the two nations. In addition, he attended the annual APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit meetings in Seattle, Jakarta, Osaka, and Manila.

Mr. Mondale is a director of several non-profit boards, which includes the UnitedHealth Foundation, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs Advisory Board, and the Dean's Board of Visitors of the Medical School at the University of Minnesota. He is Chairman of The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation.

Walter Mondale currently serves on the executive committee of the Peace Prize Forum, an annual conference co-sponsored by the Norwegian Nobel Institute and five midwestern colleges of Norwegian heritage.

In 1997 and 1998, Mr. Mondale served as co-chair (with former Senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker) of the independent, bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Project. This national project was supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts and staffed by The Aspen Institute in Washington, DC.

Prior to his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Walter Mondale was a Distinguished University Fellow in Law and Public Affairs at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. In 1990, he established the Mondale Policy Forum at the Humphrey Institute to bring together leading scholars and policymakers for conferences on domestic and international issues.

From 1986 until his appointment as Ambassador in 1993, Mr. Mondale served as chairman of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, a Washington, DC-based organization that conducts non-partisan international programs to help maintain and strengthen democratic institutions.

Mr. Mondale is married to the former Joan Adams. They have three children and have four grandchildren.

Walter Mondale has authored the book The Accountability of Power: Toward a Responsible Presidency and has written numerous articles on domestic and international issues.

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  • The Accountability of Power: Toward a Responsible Presidency

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