Former US President, Bill Clinton is set to visit Derry within weeks, the ‘Journal’ can reveal.
Queen’s University, Belfast, has already confirmed that he will attend the opening of a new department named in his honour there next month.
The university said the goals of the William J. Clinton Leadership Institute were similar to those of the Clinton Foundation, which was set up in 2001.
Mr Clinton and his wife, Hillary, have visited the North several times and it is known that he is particularly fond of Derry, which he last visited in 2010.
The ‘Journal’ has learnt that this visit will also include a trip to the city and, as he is known to enjoy public engagements and has built a relationship with the University of Ulster’s Magee campus, it is highly likely that any itinerary would include both educational and civic functions.
Queen’s acting president and vice-chancellor, Prof James McElnay, has said of the Belfast visit: “He has a long and proud association with both Queen’s and Northern Ireland and he will have the opportunity to see at first hand our leadership institute, to which he has given his name.
“The aim of the William J. Clinton Leadership Institute at Queen’s is directly aligned to the goals of the Clinton Foundation.
“It provides a focus at the heart of the local business community, supporting economic growth and the ongoing development of the knowledge economy.”
Mr Clinton previously said that working on the peace process had been one of the “great honours” of his life. His last trip here was in 2010 when he outlined his ideas for building economic prosperity in the North during a visit to Derry.
He first visited Derry in 1995 when he was President of the United States.
During that visit, thousands of people turned out to greet him at Guildhall Square.
It was a chilly Thursday afternoon in November when the then President arrived in Derry city centre in a blaze of black limousines, American flags, tight security and rapturous applause.
During his speech that day, he told the massed ranks in front of the Guildhall: “I came here because you are making a home for peace to flourish and endure.”
He returned to Derry for a second time in the summer of 2001 and was back again two years later.
On that occasion, he gave the inaugural lecture at the Tip O’Neill Chair of Peace Studies at the Magee campus of the University of Ulster.
During his 2010 visit, again to Magee, he outlined his strategy to help lift the North out of its economic malaise.