On June 7 and 8, 2013, Rancho Mirage’s historic Sunnylands estate—the stunning former home of the late Ambassador Walter Annenberg and his wife Leonore—will be host to official talks between President Barack Obama and the People’s Republic of China’s President Xi Jinping, their first meeting since Jinping took the helm of his country. A wide range of bilateral, regional, and global issues will be discussed.
Regular readers of our Rancho Mirage musings know very well how proud those of us in the Palm Springs Valley were to welcome Sunnylands as a newly renovated public and private venue to serve as a retreat for world leaders. This “Camp David of the West” was envisioned by the Board of the Sunnylands Trust as a place where POTUS could meet with leaders of other countries to promote global peace and facilitate international agreements.
My friend Richard Kite, the mayor of our fair city, recently reminded me, “Rancho Mirage is accustomed to welcoming our nation’s chief executive and foreign leaders. From President Eisenhower through the presidency of Bill Clinton, every U.S. president has visited Rancho Mirage for both business and pleasure.” And Sunnylands has been host to many of these notables, including frequent visits by President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan and a “drop-in” by Queen Elizabeth, not to mention President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush’s State Dinner at Sunnylands in honor of Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu—one of the rare occasions in U.S. history when a state dinner was held outside of the White House.
As a side note, Sunnylands is also open to the public for much of the year. Tours of the 20,000 square-foot home and the 200-acre property are available for a nominal charge, and advance tickets are a necessity due to perennial sellouts. The Sunnylands Center and Gardens—adjacent to the estate property—are open free of charge and boast an array of interactive exhibits and art, a beautiful café and gift shop, and an ever-changing landscape with breathtaking views of the San Jacinto Mountains.
One crucial facet of the great mission for this spectacular property is about to become a reality, and I have no doubt that the leadership of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands will host an amazing premiere visit of President Obama as he greets the President of the People’s Republic of China. www.sunnylands.org