At age 88, President Shimon Peres shows no sign of letting up on his global travels.
Peres, who is one of Israel’s most frequent fliers, goes abroad at least a dozen times a year.
He did so again on Tuesday night soon after signing the appointment of Supreme Court President Asher Dan Grunis. The destination this time was the United States. The president usually stays away from one to four days, but this time will be out of Israel for close to two weeks and will be traveling coast-to-coast.
The initial reason for his US trip was to open the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference and receive a life achievement award. Since then, the seemingly tireless Peres – who does not suffer from jet lag – has expanded his itinerary to include several meetings and addresses to literally thousands of people. His schedule began in New York, where he met with the international media on Wednesday morning, also giving a separate interview to veteran American media icon Barbara Walters, who has interviewed him in the past. He also met with Jewish community leaders and major Wall Street investors.
He will continue meeting with the media Wednesday and has scheduled interviews with The New York Times
magazine. In the evening he will address a thousand members of New York’s Jewish community at the 92nd Street Y.
In this context, he will also give a live interview to PBS interviewer and acclaimed broadcast journalist Charlie Rose.
On Friday, March 2, Peres will meet the Wall Street investors again in a somewhat more formal setting, when he addresses a conference on high finance. He will subsequently leave for Washington where he will spend the Sabbath.
On Sunday, March 4, he will deliver the opening address at the AIPAC conference after which he will receive a life achievement award.
As part of the award ceremony, AIPAC will screen a documentary film on highlights of the president’s life.
Peres will also meet with US President Barack Obama, with whom he will discuss the Iranian problem and what needs to be done to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
Peres will then fly to Palo Alto, California for a series of meetings with leading Silicon Valley figures. On Monday morning he will tour IBM headquarters and familiarize himself with some of the company’s new developments.
In the evening Peres will be the guest of honor at a dinner hosted by Cisco CEO John Chambers, where other guests will include top executives of major hi-tech enterprises.
Peres, who has met several of these people in other circumstances and even hosted some of them at the presidential residence, will urge them to invest in Israeli R&D companies.
On Tuesday morning, March 6, together with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Peres will launch his international Facebook page and engage in a live interview with Internet surfers from around the world. Acutely aware of the slow progress of politicians in the Middle East peace process, Peres is calling on people from all walks of life, particularly young Middle Eastern residents, to be his friends for peace and offer suggestions as to how peace can be attained.
Peres will then have lunch with major American venture capitalists and will also try to persuade them to invest in Israel – which compared to most other countries, emerged almost unscathed from the global economic crisis.
On Tuesday evening Peres will address some 1,500 members of the San Francisco Jewish community at Temple Emanu-El.
According to his representatives, no high ranking Israeli has visited with the San Francisco Jewish community in decades. The last one to do so was Golda Meir.
On Wednesday, March 7, Peres will open the prestigious LAUNCH Conference, an annual event at which some 2,000 top hi-tech entrepreneurs discuss new initiatives.
On Thursday, March 8, prior to leaving for Los Angeles, Peres will tour Google as the personal guest of CEO Sergey Brin.
That night, Peres will address some one thousand members of the LA Jewish community, including a large contingent of expatriate Israelis.
On Friday morning, March 9, Peres will be the guest of Steven Spielberg at Dreamworks, where he will tour the studios and get a quick lesson on how films are edited.
The Dreamworks experience will be a warmup for Saturday night when Peres will meet with Hollywood producers, directors and script writers who represent the new generation of the city that attracts so much talent.
Before flying back to Israel on Sunday, March 11, Peres will meet with leaders of the Hispanic community.