COUNCILLOR HEADS STATESIDE

Councillor Gardiner will visit Washington DC early next month
Councillor Gardiner will visit Washington DC early next month

It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to meet the President of the United States, but for one Blue Toon councillor that is exactly what he will be doing next month, when he attends the 61st National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C.

Peterhead North and Rattray councillor, Alan Gardiner, will be mingling with some of the world’s brightest and best at the prestigious annual breakfast, which will see US President Barack Obama gather together with Members of Congress and other dignitaries, as well as leaders from across the world.

He will additionally participate in a series of meetings, luncheons and dinners in the lead up to the main event itself.

He is meeting all the costs of the visit himself and there will be no cost to the taxpayer.

Not one to be intimidated by such exclusive company, Councillor Gardiner has said he welcomes the opportunity to showcase Aberdeenshire to such a high-profile international audience and is determined to put the area on the map for those he meets during the visit.

With plenty to boast about, including the area’s repeat winning performance in the Bank of Scotland’s Quality of Life survey, the varied economic opportunities available and outstanding natural beauty of the area, Councillor Gardiner hopes to leave behind a lasting impression of Aberdeenshire in Washington D.C.

He told the Buchanie: “It is a great honour to be invited to the National Prayer Breakfast. The opportunity to hear President Barack Obama speak in person is likely to be one I will never forget and I am looking forward to the trip immensely.

“The breakfast brings many political representatives together in a spirit of peace around the teachings of Jesus, with invitees being extended the opportunity to stay with a Member of Congress for a number of days prior to the breakfast.

“I am in no doubt that it will be a fantastic opportunity for me to try and raise the profile of this wonderful part of Scotland among some very influential people and I will very much be embracing the role of Aberdeenshire ambassador during my visit.”

Established in 1953 by Abraham Vereide, the event was initially known as the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, and is a time for the diplomatic community to build and strengthen relationships. It has been attended by every US President since Dwight Eisenhower.

This year’s breakfast will be attended by some 3,500 guests from over 140 countries, made up of presidents, vice-presidents, ambassadors, foreign secretaries and political dignitaries. Invitees come from all world religions as well as no faith backgrounds.

Every year sees a secret keynote speaker in attendance, whose identity is only revealed on the morning of the event itself. Previous keynote speakers have included Mother Teresa, Bono and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.