From the Archives: State Dinners at the White House
The Office of Presidential Libraries of the National Archives and Records Administration
King David Kalākaua of Hawai’i was the first head of state to be honored with a White House State Dinner on December 12, 1874 by President and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant. In the years that have followed, State Dinners have come to signify the utmost respect for visiting heads of state. Each State Dinner is an historic event with the power to cement friendships with allies and foster cooperation with warming relations.
Months of meticulous planning go into a State Dinner and thorough research is conducted to celebrate the guest of honor’s country, culture, and favored preferences. Hallmarks of American culture are also chosen, often by the First Lady. Together, these considerations are translated into details both large and small, including invitations, menus, guest lists, and entertainment. The results can be a form of diplomatic dialogue between the host and guest cultures.
List of White House State Dinners given by President Barack Obama:
Nov 24, 2009 Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
May 19, 2010 Mexican President Felipe Calderon
Jan 19, 2011 Chinese President Hu Jintao
Jun 7, 2011 German President Angela Merkel
Mar 14, 2012 United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron
Feb 11, 2014 French President François Hollande
Apr 28, 2015 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe
Sep 25, 2015 Chinese President Xi Jinping
September 15, 2015
Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China
President Obama will host Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, at the White House for an official State Visit on September 25, 2015. This reciprocates President Obama’s State Visit to China in November 2014.
President Xi’s visit will present an opportunity to expand U.S.-China cooperation on a range of global, regional, and bilateral issues of mutual interest, while also enabling President Obama and President Xi to address areas of disagreement constructively.
The President and Mrs. Obama will host President Xi and Madame Peng Liyuan at an official State Dinner on the evening of September 25
Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of His Holiness Pope Francis
The President and the First Lady will welcome His Holiness Pope Francis to the White House on Wednesday, September 23. During the visit, the President and the Pope will continue the dialogue, which they began during the President’s visit to the Vatican in March 2014, on their shared values and commitments on a wide range of issues, including caring for the marginalized and the poor; advancing economic opportunity for all; serving as good stewards of the environment; protecting religious minorities and promoting religious freedom around the world; and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities. The President looks forward to continuing this conversation with the Holy Father during his first visit to the United States as Pope.
Statement by the President on Pope Francis’s Encyclical
I welcome His Holiness Pope Francis’s encyclical, and deeply admire the Pope’s decision to make the case – clearly, powerfully, and with the full moral authority of his position – for action on global climate change.
As Pope Francis so eloquently stated this morning, we have a profound responsibility to protect our children, and our children’s children, from the damaging impacts of climate change. I believe the United States must be a leader in this effort, which is why I am committed to taking bold actions at home and abroad to cut carbon pollution, to increase clean energy and energy efficiency, to build resilience in vulnerable communities, and to encourage responsible stewardship of our natural resources. We must also protect the world’s poor, who have done the least to contribute to this looming crisis and stand to lose the most if we fail to avert it.
I look forward to discussing these issues with Pope Francis when he visits the White House in September. And as we prepare for global climate negotiations in Paris this December, it is my hope that all world leaders–and all God’s children–will reflect on Pope Francis’s call to come together to care for our common home.
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by resolution 36/67 of the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with its opening session, which was held annually on the third Tuesday of September. The first Peace Day was observed in September 1982. In 2001, the General Assembly by unanimous vote adopted resolution 55/282, which established 21 September as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire. The UN invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.
The 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, on July 25-26. It will be the sixth annual gathering of entrepreneurs at all stages of business development, business leaders, mentors, and high-level government officials. The established tradition demonstrates the U.S. Government’s continued commitment to fostering entrepreneurship around the world. For more: http://www.ges2015.org.
Reinforcing the U.S.-Africa Partnership
Grant Harris and Shannon Green March 30, 2015 10:30 AM EDT
Last summer, the United States paved new pathways for our relationship with Africa by hosting the historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Fifty-one African leaders joined President Obama in Washington for a discussion on “Investing in the Next Generation”, the theme of the Summit. This gathering resulted in $33 billion dollars in new commitments to support economic growth across Africa, as well as tangible U.S. and African efforts to improve security, promote human rights and good governance, and provide opportunities for Africa’s sizeable youth population.
As the White House announced earlier today, the United States is partnering with the Government of Kenya to host the sixth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). The President will travel to Kenya this summer – his fourth trip to sub-Saharan Africa and the most of any sitting U.S. president – where he will participate in bilateral meetings and attend this important event.
Launched by President Obama in 2009, GES will bring together more than 1,000 entrepreneurs and investors from across Africa and around the world to showcase innovative projects, exchange new ideas, and help spur economic opportunity. This year’s Summit in Kenya will have an overarching focus on generating new investments in entrepreneurs, particularly women and young entrepreneurs. Choosing Kenya as the destination for GES underscores the fact that Africa, and Kenya in particular, has become a center for innovation and entrepreneurship. Kenya is a world leader in mobile money systems like m-pesa and a driver of innovation, through creative spaces like “iHub.” These are just a few tangible demonstrations of the entrepreneurial spirit that is deeply rooted on the African continent.
. U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec – Remarks for Global Entrepreneurial Summit (GES)/POTUS Visit Press Conference July 23, 2015 Good afternoon, We are getting close to President Obama’s arrival in Kenya. His visit will be a truly historic moment for both Kenya and the United States, and underscores the fact that the United States’ partnership with the Kenyan Government and people has never been stronger. When the President arrives later this week, he will be the first sitting U.S. President to visit Kenya. By itself, this would be a momentous event. That the visit involves this President – a man with such deep personal and familial ties to Kenya – makes it even more meaningful. Let me take a moment to thank our partners in the Kenyan Government – and Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed in particular – for their exceptional assistance in ensuring that President Obama’s visit happens safely and efficiently. I have no doubt that, with our combined efforts, this visit will be a great success. For more: http://nairobi.usembassy.gov/sp072315.html.
June 19, 2015
Statement by the Press Secretary on the President’s Travel to Ethiopia
In late July, President Obama will travel to Ethiopia for bilateral meetings with the Government of Ethiopia and with the leadership of the African Union. This visit, which will follow the President’s travel to Kenya, will build on the success of the August 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit by strengthening ties with our African partners and highlighting America’s longstanding commitment to investing in Africa. This will be the first visit of a sitting U.S. President to Ethiopia and to the African Union headquarters, underscoring our efforts to work with the countries and citizens of sub-Saharan Africa to accelerate economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and improve security.
Histiory of The Embassy of the United States in Havana Cuba
The United States established diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba in 1902, opening the first U.S. Embassy in Havana in 1923. The Embassy was closed in 1961 when the United States severed diplomatic relations. During President Carter’s administration in 1977, the United States and Cuba signed an agreement establishing the U.S. Interests Section (USINT) in Havana, and the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, DC. Under the formal protection of the Embassy of Switzerland, USINT operated out of the former U.S. Embassy building, which first opened in 1953. On December 17, 2014, President Obama announced the intention to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba. After six months of negotiations, the two nations officially renewed diplomatic relations on July 20, 2015, and USINT became U.S. Embassy Havana.
7/20/15 The Cuban embassy re-opens it’s doors in Washington D.C.
7/20/15 Statement by the Press Secretary on the Opening of the Embassy of the United States of America in Havana, Cuba, and the Opening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C
7/20/15 Secretary of State John Kerry and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez Parilla hold a press conference
Kerry to host Cuba foreign minister in Washington on Monday
July 17, 2015 6:59 PM By David Storey and Matt Spetalnick – Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez in Washington on Monday, U.S. officials said, to mark the historic restoration of diplomatic ties between former Cold War foes severed more than five decades ago.
Kerry will host Rodriguez at the State Department after the Cuban official leads the formal reopening of the Communist state’s embassy, a hugely symbolic step in the thaw between the countries initiated by President Barack Obama and Cuba’s President Raul Castro in December.
The Cuban flag will be raised over its mission in Washington for the first time in 54 years. While the U.S. embassy in Havana will also be automatically reopened, no American flag will fly there until Kerry visits to preside over a ceremony, U.S. officials said on Friday. He is expected to travel there in August.
Rodriguez, the first Cuban foreign minister to visit Washington since around the time of the Cuban Revolution, will have a substantive discussion with Kerry instead of “just a passing handshake,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said.
He said the agenda would cover areas of possible cooperation, such as global health and the Cuban people’s expanded “access to telecommunications,” as well as points of contention, including Cuba’s human rights record and U.S. fugitives sheltering on the island.
Re-establishment of ties, agreed on July 1 after several rounds of talks, will be the latest phase in a normalization process expected to move slowly because of lingering disputes as well Havana’s desire to keep a tight rein on Cuba’s society and its state-run economy.
A U.S. economic embargo against Cuba will remain in place, and only Congress can lift it.
First Lady Michelle Obama to Travel to the United Kingdom and Italy First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to London, Milan, and Vicenza from June 15-21, 2015. Accompanying Mrs. Obama on this trip will be her mother, Mrs. Marian Robinson, and daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama. As part of the Let Girls Learn initiative and following her recent visits to Japan and Cambodia, the First Lady will visit London where she will meet with students and discuss how the UK and the U.S. are working together to expand access to girls education around the world – supporting adolescent girls in completing their education. As part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, the First Lady will lead a Presidential Delegation to the Milan Expo 2015 representing our steadfast commitment to a healthier nation. The Presidential Delegation will tour the USA Pavilion, “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet,” and participate in activities to lift up efforts to support healthier families and communities. And as part of the Joining Forces initiative, Mrs. Obama will visit members of the military and their families stationed in Vicenza, Italy. The First Lady will also visit cultural sites in Venice before returning to Washington, DC.
First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama travel to London
Tuesday, June 16th
First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama arrive in London
Stanstead Airport, London, England
Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama visit with students
Mulberry School for Girls, London, England
First Lady Obama delivers remarks on the ‘Let Girls Learn’ Initiative
Mulberry School for Girls, London, England
First Lady Michelle Obama hosts a roundtable discussion with representatives from the Research for Equitable Access and Learning Centre, Peace Corps, former prime minister of Australia Julia Gillard and students on expanding access to girls education around the world
Mulberry School for Girls, London, England
First Lady Michelle Obama meets with British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha
Downing Street, London, England
First Lady Michelle Obama meets with The Prince Henry of Wales
Kensington Palace, London, England
Wednesday, June 17th
First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama travel to Milan
First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama arrive in Milan
First Lady Obama meets with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife
The G7’s precursor was the ‘Group of Six’, founded ad hoc in 1975, consisting of finance ministers and central bank governors from France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, when Giscard d’Estaing invited them for an “informal gathering at the chateau of Rambouillet, near Paris […] in a relaxed and private setting”. The intent was “to discuss current world issues (dominated at the time by the oil crisis) in a frank and informal manner”. Canada became the seventh member in 1976, after which the name ‘Group 7’ or G7 was used. During 1986–87 the G7 with its finance ministers and central bank governors superseded the G5 as the main policy coordination group, particularly following the Louvre Accord of February 1987, agreed by the G5 plus Canada and endorsed by the G7.
The heads of state and government of the Group of Seven (G7) will be meeting at Schloss Elmau in Upper Bavaria on 7 and 8 June 2015. In addition to the global economy and foreign, security and development policy, they will be discussing the UN conferences to be held in 2015 as well as the post-2015 agenda.
Other key issues they will be addressing include:
Protection of the marine environment, marine governance and resource efficiency,
Antibiotic resistance, neglected and poverty-related diseases, and Ebola,
Retail and supply chain standards, and
Empowering self-employed women and women in vocational training.
The leaders of the G7 countries will also discuss energy security, including as part of the Rome G7 Energy Initiative. In addition, they will continue the ongoing G7 process in regard to development policy.
A community of shared values
The G7 countries have a special responsibility when it comes to shaping our planet’s future. As a community of shared values, the G7 must work towards establishing peace and security and ensuring people can live a self-determined life. Freedom and human rights, democracy and the rule of law, peace and security, prosperity and sustainable development are core principles agreed by the G7.
“The heads of state and government of the G7 do not accept the Russian Federation’s illegal annexation of Crimea. As a community of values, they have therefore decided to hold their meetings without Russia until further notice.”
Foreign and security policy
The G7’s commitment to pursue a common foreign and security policy is extremely important given the numerous political crises the world over. In March 2014 the G7 declared that a meaningful discussion was currently not possible with Russia in the context of the G8. Since then meetings have continued within the G7 process.
Sustainable economic growth and free trade
The G7 countries are key actors in international economic relations, and as such they carry great responsibility for creating reliable, sustainable and viable global economic conditions. Dynamic and sustainable growth in industrialised, newly industrialising and developing countries is easier to achieve if those countries are agreed on basic issues around economic development, cross-border trade and an effective, prudent financial market architecture.
That is why the G7 will continue to work towards establishing an enabling environment that is stable in the long term in order to promote dynamic, sustainable economic growth. Sound finances, open global markets and a well-functioning labour market have a key role to play in that. The G7 states will together continue to promote international trade.