Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Former US President Bill Clinton back in Belfast in March

Ex-President to give speech at Queen's institute named in his honour

Former President Clinton giving an address at the University of Ulster's Magee  campus in 2010
Former President Clinton giving an address at the University of Ulster's Magee campus in 2010

Former US President Bill Clinton is set to return to the Northern Ireland to give the inaugural lecture at a Queen's University institute set up in his honour.

The William J Clinton Leadership Institute in Riddel Hall was named after the former President in recognition for his key role in the peace process.

It's fitting, then, that he will make Queen's University his first stop-off on March 5 to open the university's leadership institute based in Stranmillis.

Clinton's last visit to Northern Ireland was in 2010.

He made a brief appearance in Londonderry ahead of a major economic summit on Northern Ireland in Washington, as well as outlining his ideas for building economic prosperity.

Opened in May last year, the aim of the leadership institute is to focus on the local business community and support economic development through direct engagement with public and private sectors.

Speaking at the time, Mr Clinton said: "I am honoured to be associated with this institute.

"It will prepare future business leaders for a time that requires economic innovation and in the process, will demonstrate the determination of Queen's in Northern Ireland to seize the opportunities that peace has made possible."

Queen's acting president and vice-chancellor, Professor James McElnay, said the university was honoured to welcome the former President once more.

"He has a long and proud association with both Queen's and Northern Ireland and he will have the opportunity to see at first-hand our leadership institute to which he has given his name," he said.

He added: "The aim of the institute at Queen's is directly aligned to the goals of the Clinton Foundation and provides a focus at the heart of the local business community and supporting economic growth."

Mr Clinton, once referred to his work in Northern Ireland as one of his "great honours" and hailed people here and the political leaders for what he called an "historic achievement" in making peace.

It is not clear whether he will be accompanied by his wife Hillary, a former US Secretary of State, or if his itinerary will include any other part of Northern Ireland.

BACKGROUND

Former US President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary visited Northern Ireland three times during his two-term presidency between 1993 and 2001, at the end of which the Clinton Foundation was established.

His last visit to Northern Ireland was four years ago when he spoke to students and key business leaders at the University of Ulster.

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