It was his first trip to Memphis, but Daniel Mulhall, the ambassador from Ireland to the United States, must have felt right at home Friday when he visited the University of Tennessee Health Science Center for a luncheon. That’s because his host was Chancellor Peter Buckley, MD, who is a native of Dublin.
“A hundred thousand welcomes to the ambassador and his wife,” Chancellor Buckley said in his native tongue to open the noontime gathering in the newly renovated Nash Building on the Memphis campus.
Ambassador Mulhall is making his first official trip to Memphis this week to connect with Irish citizens living in Memphis and to foster stronger relationships between Memphis and Ireland and their business communities. The Greater Memphis Chamber coordinated the visit. Roughly three dozen members of the Chamber’s highly successful Chairman’s Circle and other area top business leaders attended the luncheon.
“You are incredibly welcome,” the chancellor told the gathering. “We want to tell you what a gem we have in our institution.” He said the university is an anchor of the community, played a pivotal role during the pandemic, and is a major provider of health care professionals for the state.
Ambassador Mulhall said earlier plans to visit Memphis were canceled because of the pandemic. The timing of this visit was fortuitous, he said, because of Dr. Buckley’s appointment as chancellor this year. “This is my first time in Tennessee,” the ambassador said. “It is entirely appropriate for the first trip that I would be greeted by an Irish chancellor.”
He said Ireland ranks in the Top 10 for foreign investment in the U.S. and the Top 6 in Tennessee. He said Tennessee is the No. 1 destination for Irish imports, thanks to the pharmaceutical and medical device sector and the supply chain that routes products stateside through FedEx on the way across the country. He said Ireland will continue to explore economic opportunities in Tennessee and the U.S.
“Ireland continues to be an ideal bridge between the United States and the European Union,” he said.
“Our doors are always open to every one of you,” Chancellor Buckley said. “We so value our partnership with the Memphis Chamber. We are most grateful to the Chamber leadership team for providing us with this opportunity to showcase together what the great city of Memphis has to offer for economic and business development and also the pivotal role UTHSC plays in Memphis and across the great State of Tennessee.”