March 26, 2008 — The Right Honorable Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, will deliver a keynote address on Scottish independence April 1 at the University of Virginia.
Salmond's speech, "Scotland and America: Lessons from the Land of Jefferson," will be held in the Dome Room of the Rotunda at 2 p.m. The speech is free and open to the public.
Salmond's visit marks the 10th anniversary of a United States Senate resolution noting America's Declaration of Independence was inspired in part by the 14th-century Scottish Declaration of Arbroath.
Salmond is touring the United States to promote Scotland Week, which starts March 30 and showcases Scotland's academic, business and cultural contributions to the world. He also plans stops in Boston, New York City and Washington.
The Scottish Parliament was formed in 1999 and began assuming delegated powers from the British Parliament, taking responsibility for domestic issues, such as education, tourism and economic development, while the British Parliament retains authority for foreign affairs and national security. As first minister, Salmond is the head of the Scottish government and presides over five cabinet secretaries.
In his first year in office, his government has appointed a Council of Economic Advisers to advise on raising Scotland's sustainable growth rate; reduced the size of the central government; advanced the world's biggest innovation prize for renewable energy; introduced legislation to make higher education free; lowered business taxes to spur economic investment; and launched a national conversation on independence.
An economist by training, Salmond served as oil economist and then Royal Bank economist for the Royal Bank of Scotland before he was first elected to the British Parliament in 1987 and then began serving a dual mandate in both the British and Scottish parliaments in 1999.