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President Michael D. Higgins on official visit to West Coast, United States

President Higgins will make an official eight-day visit to the West Coast of the United States from Wednesday 21st to Thursday 29th October.

President Michael D. Higgins on official visit to West Coast, United States

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 Redmond and Google in Mountain View, where the President looks forward to meeting with a 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 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.

On the morning of Thursday 22nd the President will visit Skyline High School, where the programme will include a demonstration of a Gaelic football match organised 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.

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, 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 have an opportunity to meet with Seattle's older generation of Irish emigrants and honour, in particular, 94 year old Irish-born priest and broadcaster, Fr. William (Bill) Treacy, a Seattle luminary and founder of the Treacy Levine Reconciliation Centre.

Later in the evening, renowned glass artist, Dale Chihuly will welcome the President and Sabina to his famous studio at the Chihuly Boathouse for a dinner hosted by Seattle’s Mayor Ed Murray and his husband, Michael Shiosaki, 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 Francis Hall, the President will meet with our Emigrant Support partners and cultural and academic partner organisations and leaders of San Francisco's vibrant Irish community, including representatives from the United Cultural Centre itself; Irish Immigration and Pastoral Centre; Comhaltas Ceoltoiri and the GAA.

Later in St Patrick’s Hall, the President will meet with over 140 participants in the Pastoral Centre’s Seniors Outreach Programme. The Outreach Programme is Irish Government funded.

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 Philip Grant in the historic Filoli Estate - the 100 year old house and gardens were inspired by Muckross House in Killarney and built by the Bourne family who gifted Muckross to the State. The celebration will highlight the links both old and new between Ireland and the Silicon Valley/San Francisco region.

26th October
On Monday 26th October, the President will attend lunch at the historic A.C.T. Theatre on Geary Street, 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 items from the prestigious collection of UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library - including original documents by Seamus Heaney who studied and taught at Berkeley. There will also be items related to 1916.

This will be followed by a meeting with Irish-connected members of faculty, researchers and students. The President will announce a new partnership between the Consulate and UC Berkeley to enhance academic ties and develop new programs.

27th October

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.

Later in afternoon, the President meets with representatives of the Irish community in San Jose City Hall. Discussions will include the Sister City program between San Jose and Dublin and their plans to mark the 2016 centenary celebrations.

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. 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. Arbutus is the tree which will be planted, a tree which is native to both Ireland and California and one of the most attractive trees in both floras.

In the evening, the President will deliver an address at the ‘The Bay Area Council Business Leadership Awards’ at the Fairmont Hotel. The Bay Area Economic Council is Northern California's most respected think tank and is celebrating its 70th year. The attendance will include Mr Chuck Feeney, one of Ireland's most generous benefactors 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.