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Official visit to the West Coast of the U.S.

Official visit to the West Coast of the U.S.

Date: Sun 18th Oct, 2015 | 09:51

President Higgins will make an official eight-day visit to the West Coast of the United States from Wednesday 21st to Thursday 29th October.  While the main focus of the visit will be on the cities of Seattle and San Francisco, the schedule will include visits to both Microsoft in Seattle and Google in San Francisco, where the President looks forward to meeting with the significant number of Irish staff members. 

During his visit The President will deliver two keynote addresses, one on the role of technology in sustainable development and the other on global hunger, at the University of Washington (Seattle) and at the University of California, Berkeley, respectively. President Higgins, who will be accompanied by Sabina Higgins, will also meet with the first responders, medical staff and volunteers who assisted after the Berkeley tragedy, which led the death and injury of Irish students, last June.

On 21st / 22nd October 
In the afternoon of Wednesday 21st October President Higgins will have an official meeting with Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle, in City Hall.  Afterwards the President and Sabina Higgins will visit the Chihuly Gardens and the Space Needle Monument. 

On the morning of Thursday 22nd the President will visit Skyline High School, where the programme will include a demonstration Gaelic football match organized by Brendan Hyland – one of the school PE teachers. The President will then address the students and meet with representatives of Seattle GAA, who are organising the North American Provincial Championship for 2016.

In the afternoon the President will visit Microsoft, where he will be met by Ms Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President. The President will also meet with over 150 Irish staff, currently employed at Microsoft, Seattle. 

Later in the evening the President and Sabina are guests of honour at a reception in the Seattle Centre for the Arts (McCaw Hall), hosted by the Consul General Philip Grant. The Seattle Pipe and Drum Band will greet the President and entertain the 500 guests, which will include a representative and widespread number of members of the Irish Community in Seattle.

23rd October
On the morning of the 23rd October the President will visit the University of Washington where he deliver a keynote address, entitled, ‘Taking Responsibility for Climate Change: The Challenge to Science and Technology in new Circumstances”. This will be followed by a question and answer session. 

After departing the University the President will meet with members of the Irish community in Seattle, who immigrated to the United States in the 1950’s and 1960’s. 

Later in the evening the President and Sabina will attend a dinner hosted Seattle’s Mayor Ed Murray at the Chihuly Boathouse, in conjunction with the ‘Irish Network of Seattle’. 

On Saturday the President and Sabina fly from Seattle to San Francisco.

25th October
On the morning of Sunday 25th October the President visits the United Irish Cultural Centre in San Francisco. In St Frances Hall (at the Centre) the President will meet with representatives of Irish Community organisations, to include the United Cultural Centre itself; Irish Immigration and Pastoral Centre; Comhaltas Ceoltoiri and the GAA. 
Later in St Patrick’s Hall he will meet with over 140 participants in the Pastoral Centre’s Seniors Outreach Programme. The President and Sabina will also have an opportunity to meet with local Irish community members who immigrated to the United States in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

In the afternoon the President and Sabina will be guests of honour at a reception for 700 Irish Community members from the ‘Bay Area’, hosted by Consul General Grant in the Filoli House and Gardens. The President will deliver an address and meet with the guests in attendance.

26th October 
On Monday 26th October the President will attend lunch at the Geary Theatre, where he will meet with representatives of San Francisco’s arts and cultural community. Afterwards the President will depart for the University of California, Berkeley, where he will deliver a keynote address entitled, ‘Ending Global Hunger and Eliminating Poverty: is it possible?’ This will be followed by a question and answer session. Afterwards the President and Sabina will have an opportunity to view Irish related items at the university - and later they will be guests of honour at a reception hosted by UC Berkeley.

27th October
On the morning of Tuesday 27th the President will visit Tesla, where he will be met by its founder and CEO Mr Elon Musk. The President will also have an opportunity to meet with representatives of Irish companies currently engaged with Tesla. 

Afterwards the President will attend and deliver an address at a lunch for key US business contacts, hosted by the IDA and Enterprise Ireland. Later President Higgins will visit Google, where he will have a meeting with Ms. Lorraine Twohill, Chief Managing Officer and Mr David Burke, Vice President. Afterwards the President will meet with up to 100 Irish Google staff based in San Francisco.

Later in afternoon the President meets with Mayor Sam Liccardo in San Jose City Hall. San Jose has longstanding relationships with Ireland.

28th October 
On Wednesday 28th October the President attends a reception for first responders, medical staff and volunteers who were involved in the Berkeley tragedy in June, which caused the death and injury to Irish students, who were in the area on J1 visas. President Higgins will meet with and address the group. 

Later the President and Mayor Tom Bates of Berkeley will plant a tree at the Martin Luther King Civic Centre in memory of those who died in the Berkeley tragedy. In the evening the President will deliver an address at the ‘The Bay Area Council Business Leadership Awards’ at the Fairmont Hotel. The attendance will include Mr Chuck Feeney and Mr Mark Benioff.

29th October
On Thursday 29th the President visits the State Capitol, Sacramento, where he has an official meeting with Mr Jerry Brown the 
Governor of California.

The President and Sabina Higgins depart San Francisco on Friday 30th, arriving in Dublin on Saturday 31st October.