26 May 2011

Official invitation to President Obama's historic speech received by Essex student representative

Alex Reily

President Barack Obama's historic speech to both Houses of Parliament was attended by Alex Reily, Vice-President (Education) at the University of Essex Students' Union, thanks to a special invitation from the United States Embassy.

The English Literature graduate, who is now undertaking a sabbatical role at the University of Essex Students' Union, was one of just three student representatives from across the UK to be invited by the Embassy to Westminster Hall to hear President Obama address the House of Commons and House of Lords.

Alex received his invitation after writing an essay on taking part in a satellite link-up with Afghanistan universities organised by American embassies around the world. The Embassy initiative was highlighted to Alex by Dr Tom Scotto, from the Department of Government.

Speaking immediately after President Obama's speech, Alex said: "It was an absolutely fantastic experience to attend the first ever speech by a US President in Westminster Hall. President Barack Obama is a remarkable orator who expressed himself with remarkable gravitas. He expressed a need to re-double the investments our nations put into scientific research and education, in order to remain leaders in a changing economy, whilst also demonstrating humility in the wish to improve the living standards and freedom of all peoples around the world."

The welcoming address at Westminster Hall was delivered by House of Commons speaker John Bercow MP, an alumnus of the University of Essex’s Department of Government and Honorary Graduate. Alex was also invited to join Mr Bercow for a reception in the Speakers House after the proceedings where he was able to meet other attendees of the address.

Ends

If you would like to request an interview, a photograph of Alex Reily or further information please contact the University of Essex Communications Office on 01206 874377.

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