The Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP will lead the Scottish Parliament's cross-party delegation to North America, it was announced today. The delegates will be Frank McAveety MSP, David McLetchie MSP, Alex Neil MSP and Iain Smith MSP.
The delegation announcement coincides with the Presiding Officer’s address to delegates of the 53rd annual conference of the British Association for American Studies at an evening reception in the Parliament tonight.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s address, Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said:
“The annual Scotland Week celebrations have grown out of the 1998 Tartan Day resolution which tells the story of the unique bond between Scotland and America. Today, around 20 million Americans of Scots’ descent help keep alive that tradition of friendship and close ties.
“As a parliament, we are delighted to participate in Scotland Week and delighted to play our role in deepening this relationship.”
Highlights of the programme include:
Sunday 30 March
The Presiding Officer and delegation will join Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture Linda Fabiani MSP to launch the Scotland Run in Central Park, New York.
Monday 31 March
The Presiding Officer and delegation will visit the Ontario Legislative Assembly in Toronto and meet with the Speaker, the Honourable Steve Peters.
Tuesday 1 April
The Presiding Officer and delegation will attend Question Period at the Canadian House of Commons in Ottawa, meet with Speaker of the House of Commons, the Honourable Peter Milliken MP, and meet the Speaker of the Senate, the Honourable Noël A. Kinsella.
Wednesday 2 April
The Presiding Officer will deliver a key speech at the Tartan Day 10th Anniversary reception in Washington (jointly held between the Government and Parliament).
Thursday 3 April
The Presiding Officer will meet with the President of the National Conference of State Legislatures, Representative Donna Stone.
The delegation will meet with the Governor of Virginia, Governor Timothy Kaine, and members of the Council on Virginia’s Future.
Friday 4 April
The Presiding Officer will address the audience of an open air concert in the British Memorial Garden. The garden is a gift to the City and the people of New York celebrating the unity and friendship between the United States and the United Kingdom, while also honouring the 67 British victims of the World Trade Center attacks.
Following this, the delegation and the Presiding Officer will attend a Scottish Youth Theatre performance of “When a Star Falls” at the Algonquin Theatre.
Saturday 5 April
The Presiding Officer and delegation will attend the ‘Kirkin o' the Tartan’ and 10th Annual Tartan Day Parade, New York.
Sunday 6 April
The Presiding Officer will deliver a key speech at the Tartan Day 10th Anniversary reception in New York, hosted by the American-Scottish Foundation.
Parliament's Scotland Week Delegation Announced
The 53rd annual conference of the British Association for American Studies:
Attendees are primarily scholars, postgraduate students, academics who are teachers and researchers. Other expected attendees include: Lisa Vickers, Principal Officer at the American Consulate; Barrie Walkley, Head of Public Affairs at the US Embassy in London and former US Ambassador to Gabon; Professor Vicki Bruce, Head of the College of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Edinburgh; and Professor Douglas Cairns, Head of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology.