(Source: Phil Embassy, Wash., D.C., 14 Sept 2011) - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said today that President Benigno S. Aquino III will undertake an official visit in the United States from September 18 to 23, particularly in New York and Washington.
The visit aims to enhance the country's strategic profile by underscoring the Aquino government's demonstrated commitment to its good governance and anti-corruption agenda, and to increase awareness about the government's domestic and foreign policy thrusts. The visit also looks to highlight the administration's economic agenda and accomplishments after a year in office, meet with present and potential U.S. investors and apprise the Filipino Community about the Aquino administration's accomplishments and share the latest developments in the country.
President Aquino was invited by U.S. President Barack Obama and Brazilian Dilma Rousseff to the official launch of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in New York on September 20. The OGP is a new multilateral initiative to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. Presidents Obama and Rousseff are the co-chairs of the said initiative.
The Philippines is one of only eight countries, and one of only two from Asia, which are members of the Steering Committee of OGP. The other seven countries are: the US, Brazil, UK, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway and South Africa. The Steering Committee members were selected based on the following criteria: Fiscal Transparency, Access to Information, Disclosures Related to Elected Officials, and Citizen Engagement.
The selection of the Philippines as a Steering Committee member is an international acknowledgement of the Aquino administration's demonstrated commitment to and innovative practices in open governance and anti-corruption.
President Aquino will also deliver the keynote remarks at an OGP-related forum entitled "The Power of Open: A Global Discussion". He is the only head of state invited to address the opening ceremony of this all-day multi-stakeholder, ministerial level conversation focused on the role of openness in improving responsiveness, fostering accountability, creating efficiency, fighting corruption, and similar themes.
The Asia Society also extended an invitation for the President to deliver a speech on his domestic and foreign policy thrusts.
President Aquino is also scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at the IBM Centennial Forum called "THINK: A Forum on the Future of Leadership" marking IBM's 100th anniversary. The forum will be attended by more than 700 leaders from government, business, the academe and science, as well as up-and-coming leaders from across the globe.
Fordham University in New York will confer a Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa on the President. The university had also conferred an honorary degree on his mother, former President Corazon Aquino, in September 1986.
Following a Fordham tradition, the names of over 30 world leaders conferred a degree are carved on the steps of the "Terrace of the Presidents" at Keating Hall. His name will be carved next to that of his mother.
While in New York, President Aquino will have a roundtable meeting with high level business executives belonging to the US-ASEAN Business Council, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce.
World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick invited the President to deliver a public lecture during the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington D.C.
President Aquino's lecture will center on the theme of citizen empowerment, good governance and fighting corruption as agents of poverty reduction before an audience composed of finance ministers, central bankers and country representatives.
He will also visit Senator Daniel Inouye, President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate and Chairman of its Appropriations Committee, to thank him for his continued support of Philippine causes in the U.S. Congress.
The President will also meet with the Filipino community in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia. This would be the first meeting between President Aquino and the Filipino community in this tri-State area region. Approximately 110,000 Filipinos reside in this area.