It is an enormous privilege and a pleasure for me to welcome you all to the Queen's University, Belfast, on this gorgeous autumn day.
Madame Secretary, I know that I speak on behalf of everyone in this room when I say how pleased we are to welcome you, and how grateful we are for your continued commitment to Northern Ireland.
The focus of today's meeting is that of economic development. Queen's plays a full role in that respect, through the provision of high-quality graduates, through direct business development, and through industry-led (inaudible) partnerships with companies on both sides of the Atlantic. We enjoy excellent relationships with government and with the NIH and NSF, through the U.S. (inaudible) partnerships, and we work closely with (inaudible) universities in the United States.
Madame Secretary, ladies and gentlemen, our commitment to economic development in Northern Ireland is absolutely total. We are delighted to welcome you all to Queen's today by now handing over to Arlene Foster, Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Investment.MINISTER FOSTER:
Thank you very much, Peter, and Secretary of State, Mr. Ambassador, Deputy First Minister, (inaudible). I very much want to add my thanks for you all being here today, and most especially to the Secretary of State and to Declan (inaudible) in relation to the tasks ahead of us.
And I am absolutely delighted with the establishment of this working group, in particular. I think it's a very exciting opportunity for us all, for Northern Ireland business people (inaudible) the U.S. team, as well. And (inaudible) I think we are going to see some very good company actions (inaudible). And I very much look forward to continuing our work together (inaudible).SECRETARY CLINTON:
Well, thank you all. And, Peter, thank you for welcoming all of us to the university. Thank you for your very positive remarks, in the hopes that we (inaudible) this enterprise.
I believe that probably everyone around the table knows our new ambassador (inaudible). You may not know (inaudible) responsible for global partnerships in the State Department. And, of course, you have all become acquainted with our economic envoy, Declan Kelly.
Let me just make a few very brief comments, and then ask Declan to say a few words. But mostly, I want to hear from all of you, and your thoughts and ideas about the way forward.
This enterprise is one to which I am deeply committed. I feel strongly that the work that has gone on over the last years here in Northern Ireland prove that (inaudible) is particularly important. As I said earlier at Stormont, I believe that the political stability (inaudible) peace and economic growth and opportunity are inseparable. And, therefore, it is particularly important to me and to our administration to support you. (Inaudible.) So, I am looking forward to hearing any ideas you have about generating trade, creating jobs, moving (inaudible) economies in a positive direction together. This is an exciting time for Northern Ireland, a challenging time for you, as well as for us.
But I am the perennial optimist. I believe strongly that, you know, we have an opportunity every time there is a challenge. And being smart and creative, flexible, agile, (inaudible) today's economic conditions is an absolute necessity. And, given the track record that we have seen -- I've been involved now for 15 years -- I have no doubt that it will be very positive for Northern Ireland (inaudible).
So, with that, let me ask Declan to (inaudible).