President Michael D Higgins to help US ties in Chicago
PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins aims to cultivate Ireland's relationship with thousands of Irish descent in Chicago as he returns to the US for his second official visit.
He is also due to receive an honorary degree from Indiana University, from where he graduated with a masters degree in sociology in 1967.
The six-day visit kicks off this Thursday when the President, accompanied by First Lady Sabina, meets the Ambassador of Ireland to the US Anne Anderson and Consul General of Ireland to Chicago Aidan Cronin.
It follows last month's state visit to Britain, where he met Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip
On Friday, he will meet Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at City Hall, and in the afternoon will travel to Indiana University in Bloomington ahead of a ceremony on Saturday where he will receive a degree in Humane Letters and a Distinguished Alumni service award.
Sunday will see Mr Higgins deliver an address to 600 of Chicago's Irish community.
On Monday, the President will speak at a breakfast hosted by the Chicago Board of the American Ireland Fund.
He will then meet the Governor of Illinois Pat Quinn and will later deliver an address to Chicago's business, academic, government and civic leaders.
The President's visit will conclude on Tuesday with a trip to the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, which is set to showcase a major exhibition of Irish objects in March 2015.