Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 6, 2010

The Office of the Chief of Protocol’s Diplomatic Partnerships Division will lead an “Experience America” tour to Chicago with the Diplomatic Corps May 12th -14th. Established in 2008 “Experience America” trips provide opportunities for Chiefs of Diplomatic Missions and their spouses to travel outside of Washington and learn about neighborhoods and communities across the United States. By taking the Diplomatic Corps to different cities and communities, this program seeks to found new understanding of America’s people and produce mutually beneficial relationships between the cities we visit and the countries of those ambassadors who participate.

Working closely with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, the Office of the Chief of Protocol has organized a packed trip highlighting Chicago’s business and urban redevelopment, local government initiatives, business leaders, innovation centers and research institutions. On average, Chiefs of Mission from over 50 countries have attended “Experience America” trips in the past.

On Thursday May 13, the Ambassadors will meet with business leaders at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, visit the Wrigley Global Innovation Center and learn about important research projects underway at the Illinois Institute of Technology. On Friday May 14th, the trip continues with a breakfast dialogue hosted by the University of Chicago, a tour of a community revitalization project, a luncheon with civic leaders at the Field Museum and a farewell reception hosted by Mayor Daley in Millennium Park. Spouses will keep a separate schedule on May 13, being hosted at a breakfast by Chicago’s First Lady, Maggie Daley, and learning about Chicago’s successful high school program, After School Matters before visiting the Museum of Science and Industry.

“We are delighted to host the Experience America program in our city,” said Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. This program offers a great opportunity for members of the diplomatic community to learn more about our nation, its history and our people. Chicago is proud to be a city of immigrants, who have shaped our growth and development throughout the years. We value our strong connections around the world, reinforced by the presence of a dynamic and active Consular Corps serving here in the heartland of the United States. I am pleased to invite members of the diplomatic community to Chicago to discover everything from our vibrant diverse neighborhoods and great architecture to our beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline and our world-renowned business, civic and cultural institutions. The well-being of cities like Chicago depends to a large degree on how we plan for and deal with global inter-connection.

“The goal of this program is to show this distinguished community the best of America and Chicago is the perfect city to do just that”, said United States Chief of Protocol Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall. “This program gives Chiefs of Diplomatic Missions the opportunity to step outside of the Beltway, create new connections, and experience firsthand the diverse fabric of America. As you may know, Chicago is also the hometown of President Obama and Mrs. Obama and the birthplace of Secretary Clinton and so Chicago is an ideal city for the Diplomatic Corps to visit and we are looking forward to the trip.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will announce the trip to Chiefs of Diplomatic Missions today at 4:00pm in the Benjamin Franklin Room as the featured speaker at the “State of the Administration” speaker series, a “Diplomatic Partnerships” program, which gives Chiefs of Diplomatic Missions the opportunity to speak with and hear directly from senior Obama administration officials.

Established in 2009, “Diplomatic Partnerships” seeks to foster international goodwill and provide the Diplomatic Corps with greater understanding of the United States’ people, customs and institutions through an exchange of ideas, cultures and traditions. “Diplomatic Partnerships” pursues this goal through a broad range of unique programs and events such as “Experience America-Chicago”. Detailed trip schedule and event information for “Experience America- Chicago” will be released closer to the trip date.

For interview requests or more information, please contact Kamyl Bazbaz at or 202-647-2681.

PRN: 2010/392