PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- History was made Friday, September 23, when Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj visited Philadelphia and was hosted by The Philadelphia Orchestra, the first visit by a foreign elected leader to a U.S. city at the exclusive invitation of an arts organization.
The Mongolian delegation was welcomed at City Hall by elected officials including Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, who declared September 23 Mongolia-Philadelphia Friendship Day. "We are proud to have The Philadelphia Orchestra serve as ambassadors of our city during their annual international tours and are honored to welcome President Elbegdorj and the Mongolian delegation to Philadelphia," Mayor Kenney said.
The visit was a rare instance of a visit by a democratically elected leader of a crucial U.S. ally to the City of Philadelphia. This elicited tremendous interest in Washington, with a description of the visit read into the Congressional Record (the first such recognition for an orchestra on the floor of the Senate) and a letter to the Orchestra from Secretary of State John Kerry, his first letter of praise to an arts organization as secretary.
This day-long visit marked a significant step forward in U.S.-Mongolia bilateral relations and celebrated The Philadelphia Orchestra's June trip to Mongolia for concerts, residency activities, and special events in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, when it will become the first Western orchestra ever to perform in Mongolia.
The Orchestra delegation will constitute the largest non-military/non-government American group to visit Mongolia in over 30 years of bilateral relations between the two countries.
Prior to the Orchestra's matinee performance, attended by President Elbegdorj, Philadelphia Orchestra musicians—Concertmaster David Kim, Principal Second Violin Kimberly Fisher, Principal Viola Choong-Jin Chang, and Principal Cello Hai-Ye Ni—performed in the president's honor.
The visit also illustrated the influence of music as a powerful instrument of cultural diplomacy and cross-cultural understanding, and the broadening recognition of The Philadelphia Orchestra's world-leading and sustained commitment to people-to-people diplomacy, globally representing the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the U.S.
"All of us with The Philadelphia Orchestra believe deeply and whole-heartedly in the power of people-to-people diplomacy, and we are excited about the new artistic and cultural adventure that awaits us in Mongolia," Allison Vulgamore, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Orchestra said.
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SOURCE Philadelphia Orchestra Association