From the Archives: State Dinners at the White House
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.
March 23, 2015
Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of Prime Minister Abe of Japan
President Obama will host Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan for an official visit to the White House on April 28, including a State Dinner that evening. The two leaders will celebrate the strong global partnership that the United States and Japan have developed during the 70 years since the end of World War II, and underscore the common values and principles that have made the bilateral relationship so enduring. President Obama and Prime Minister Abe will discuss a range of economic, security, and global issues, including progress on the Trans Pacific Partnership, Japan’s expanding role in the Alliance, and climate change.
Japan State Dinner Press Preview and Spousal Program
Monday, April 27, 2015
The White House * 11:00 AM – On Monday, April 27 in the State Dining Room, the Office of the First Lady will host a press preview of Tuesday night’s Japan State Dinner and unveil the Obama State China Service.
As is tradition, First Lady Michelle Obama participated in the design and selection of the State China. The purchase of this China Service was funded by a special donation from the White House Endowment Trust of the White House Historical Association, a private nonprofit organization.
In addition to the Obama State China Service, sample place settings for the State Dinner will be on display for photos and b-roll. Officials and Executive Residence staff will deliver brief remarks and answer questions on background.
Tuesday evening’s dinner marks the eighth State or Official Visit of the Obama Administration; previous visits include: India in November 2009, Mexico in May 2010, China in January 2011, Germany in June 2011, Korea in October 2011, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland in March 2012, and France in February 2014.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama
host a State Dinner for
Japanese Prime Minister Abe and his wife, Mrs. Akie Abe