President Michael D. Higgins will make his first official visit to the United States, incorporating events in New York and Boston, from Monday 30th April to Saturday 5th May 2012. He will be accompanied by Sabina Higgins and, in Boston, by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Mr Jimmy Deenihan TD.
In the course of his visit the President will engage with the broad Irish community in New York and give the Thomas Flanagan Memorial Lecture to the American Irish Historical Society. He will have meetings at the UN; participate in a seminar on Freedom of Speech and have a meeting with UN General Secretary, Mr. Ban Ki Moon. He will go on to participate in Famine commemoration events in Boston.
In his various engagements, which will include business audiences in both cities, the President will invite the Irish and Irish-American community to become involved in the task of remaking Ireland’s economy and society. He intends to highlight the transformative potential of culture and innovation and their capacity to improve Ireland’s economy and enhance its reputation abroad.
The details of the Visit are as follows:-
The President will be met on arrival in New York on 30 April by Mr. Michael Collins, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States and Mr. Noel Kilkenny, Consul General of Ireland to New York. He will later attend a reception, hosted by the Consul General, and address over 300 members of the Irish Community at Ireland House on Park Avenue.
On Tuesday (1 May), the President will attend a business breakfast on Wall Street with young Irish professionals, hosted by the Irish Network, New York. Later that morning he will visit and pay his respects at the 9/11 Memorial and the Irish Hunger Memorial at Battery Park. He will meet with Mayor Bloomberg at City Hall and later attend a lunch hosted by the Consul General with New York based Irish artists, representatives of
New York cultural institutions and cultural partners. That evening, the President will deliver the 2012 Thomas Flanagan Lecture under the aegis of the American Irish Historical Society. His lecture is entitled: ‘Remembering and Imagining Irishness’.
On Wednesday morning (2 May) the President will visit the Emerald Isle Immigration Centre in the Bronx and later the Aisling Irish Community Centre in Yonkers. In the afternoon, he will participate in an Irish film promotional event at the Lincoln Center and afterwards attend a production of 'Once' at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on Broadway.
On Thursday morning (3 May) the President will participate in the World Press Freedom Forum at UN Headquarters and afterwards will call on the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon. On Thursday evening the President will attend as Guest of Honour at the American Ireland Fund Gala Dinner and address over 1400 guests.
On Friday morning (4 May) the President will travel to Boston where he will attend a business lunch hosted by the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, Tourism Ireland and Bord Bia. In the afternoon, he will call on Mayor Thomas Menino and in the evening will attend and address the Self Help Africa Inaugural Change-Makers Ball.
On Saturday (4 May) the President will lead the representation at the 2012 National Famine Commemoration abroad. He will deliver a lecture ‘Reflecting on An Gorta Mór: The Great Famine of Ireland – Some Narratives, their lessons and their legacy’, at the historic meeting house in Faneuil Hall and subsequently lay a wreath at the
Famine Memorial in downtown Boston. Later in the day, the President will attend an Irish Community Reception, hosted by the Irish Consul General, Michael Lonergan, before visiting the John F. Kennedy Library. He departs Boston for Dublin later in the evening.