SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has attended the inaugural Obama Foundation summit in Chicago.
The Foyle MLA was invited to the summit as a guest of President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle having previously been named on the list of upcoming European Young Leaders.
The event brought together civic and political leaders from over 60 countries around the world and was focused on sharing progressive ideas and plans across a range of areas including politics, business and community development.
The SDLP Leader said: “It was a great privilege to be invited by President Obama and his wife Michelle Obama to attend the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit. Ireland, north and south, needs strong friends and speaking to President Obama I am confident he will continue to act as a strong support to our political and peace processes.
“During his time in office President Obama was a strong friend of Ireland’s and he will remain so. The world is experiencing a dark and difficult moment after the victories of Trump and Brexit. For the first time in generations, a dangerous mix of economic protectionism and anti-immigrant sentiment has poisoned much of our politics.
“That is why it is so important that those of us who seek to break that cycle and who seek to promote progressive politics come together and work together. The work of the Obama Foundation are leading that work.”
Mr Eastwood said the diversity of people and of ideas at the summit gave him “hope that the victories of those on the political extremes, who seek to divide our communities, can be temporary”.