US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday that growing investment in the North will help cement peace in the region.
Mrs Clinton was promoting investment opportunities at the opening of the US-Northern Ireland Economic Conference in Washington.
She extolled the new peaceful climate and said "too few" people knew about the opportunities that Northern Ireland's "prime location", educated workforce and "supportive policy environment" create.
The event is intended to support the peace process by encouraging US investment.
Mrs Clinton said: "For a long time when Americans, and particularly American businesses, heard the words 'Northern Ireland' the first thing that came to mind was not investment."
She told the audience "A stronger economy in Northern Ireland will help support a lasting peace."