The United States and Ireland have a strong partnership. In recent years, that relationship has seen expansion in political, economic and cultural ties.  Ireland's Ambassador to the United States Michael Collins will talk about the growth of that relationship. His visit comes at a unique time, given recent European support of the Lisbon Treaty.  Issues he will address include the political dynamic in Europe from the Irish perspective, the global economy, the Northern Ireland peace process, and immigration issues.

Ambassador Michael Collins, a native of Dublin City was educated at Blackrock College and obtained a BSc from Trinity College, Dublin. He joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1974 and his early diplomatic postings brought him to Rome, Italy and New York. He has served as Ireland's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (which covered Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Quatar and the United Emirates) and also as Ambassador to the Czech Republic and Ukraine. He was appointed Second Secretary General at the Department of the Taoiseach in 2001 and in that capacity has had overall responsibility for international and European Union affairs particularly the Northern Ireland peace process.  In this regard he worked closely with the Taoiseach, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Northern Ireland political parties and US Special Representatives. On 18 September 2007 Ambassador Collins presented his credentials to President Bush and was appointed Ireland's Ambassador to the United States.

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