CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced he will host Mexico State Governor Eruviel Ávila for an official state visit from Feb. 9 to Feb. 12. Governor Ávila’s trip is a result of Governor Quinn’s trade mission to Mexico City which took place in April 2013. Next week’s visit will include several events, including a ribbon-cutting at Illinois’ new “Casa del Estado de Mexico” (a trade office representing the state of Mexico), a free concert from the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México, a wreath-laying at the Benito Juárez statue on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and the world premiere performance of “Of Mutual Interest: Lincoln and Mexico” at the Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield. The visit is part of the Governor’s commitment to strengthening relations between Illinois and Mexico.
“When I led a delegation to Mexico City last year, Governor Ávila showed us why the state of Mexico is as strong an economic partner as it is a wonderful place to visit,” Governor Quinn said. “My trade mission to Mexico strengthened ties with our sister state – especially in agriculture, water technology, manufacturing and tourism – and our relationship continues to grow. We are honored that Governor Ávila has traveled to Illinois and will help us celebrate 150 years of friendship between Illinois and Mexico.”
“I am eager to see my friend Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and continue the discussions we began last spring about increasing commerce and tourism between our two states,” Governor Ávila said. “And I am looking forward to learning about Matías Romero’s historic visit to Springfield in 1861.”
Governor Ávila will be accompanied by Aarón Urbina Bedolla, Chairman of the state of Mexico’s Congress, and Baruch Delgado Carbajal, President of the state of Mexico’s Supreme Court. The delegation will include Dr. Jorge Olvera García, Rector of the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, who will sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the State of Illinois and University of Illinois to promote collaboration between the two states on veterinary medicine, animal genetics, bio-fuels, crop sciences and irrigation.
As a gift to Governor Quinn and the people of Illinois, the Governor of the State of Mexico is bringing a 70-person symphony – the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México under conductor Enrique Bátiz. The symphony will play a free concert at Benito Juárez Community Academy at 6:30pm on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. The concert will be open to the public. Benito Juárez Community Academy High School is located at 1450-1510 W. Cermak Rd. Chicago, 60608.
On Feb. 11, the day before Abraham Lincoln’s 205th birthday, Governors Ávila and Quinn will travel to Springfield to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The highlight will be a special theatrical production of “Of Mutual Interest: Lincoln and Mexico,” a reenactment of the fateful meeting in 1861 when Matías Romero – Mexican President Juárez’s envoy – met President-elect Lincoln to seal a friendship between their two nations.
That evening, Governor Quinn will host a reception for Governor Ávila at the Illinois Executive Mansion.
Governor Ávila has been the Governor of the state of Mexico since 2011. He was twice elected Mayor of Ecatepec de Morelos and was a deputy of the state of Mexico’s Congress. He is an attorney who has authored a book about constitutional law in Mexico. The state of Mexico is Mexico’s most populous (16.2 million residents) and most industrialized state.
Governor Quinn has vowed to make Illinois the “most welcoming state” in the United States, and has often noted the friendship between Juárez and Lincoln. Last year, Governor Quinn declared March 21 as “Benito Juárez Day” across Illinois. Mexico is Illinois’ second-largest trading partner. With sales of $8.2 billion, Illinois is the third largest agricultural exporter in the United States, and the country of Mexico is one of Illinois’ most loyal agricultural trading partners. Since 2010, the country of Mexico has purchased $1.9 billion in agricultural products from Illinois, including $780 million in 2012 alone, making it the state’s third largest agricultural export market.
Governor Quinn was the first Illinois governor to visit Mexico in 13 years and only the fourth U.S. governor to visit Mexico since 2005. There are now 1.6 million people in Illinois of Mexican origin, about one in eight Illinois residents. Mexico and Illinois have had a sister state relationship since 1990.