Stage set for New York New Belfast conference

This year’s New York New Belfast conference goes online for the first time ever tomorrow (Friday 12 June) as leaders from both sides of the Atlantic explore how both cities can emerge stronger from the coronavirus crisis.

Over 400 delegates will log on to engage in a programme of panel discussions, musical and poetry interludes, and video dispatches from leaders in New York and Belfast. This year’s virtual conference will keep links between NI and North America open and thriving as Covid-19 prevents delegates from gathering together.

Panel discussions will focus on how we reboot our tourism industry, financing the rebuilding effort post-pandemic, business experiences of pivoting to serve their communities, and how tech companies can play their part in the recovery.

The conference will also hear a message of hope from Belfast minister Reverend Livingstone Thompson on the fight against racism, prejudice, and injustice.

Confirmed New York New Belfast conference speakers include

  • Congresswoman Kathleen Rice, US House of Representatives
  • Senator Tim Kennedy, New York State Legislature
  • Bill Mulrow, Chair of New York Forward Re-Opening Advisory Board
  • Alison Metcalfe, Executive VP, USA and Canada, Tourism Ireland
  • Conor Murphy MLA, Finance Minister
  • Diane Dodds MLA, Economy Minister
  • Tom DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller
  • Suzanne Wylie, CEO, Belfast City Council
  • Jayne Brady, Belfast Digital & Innovation Commissioner
  • Shaun T. Kelly, Vice Chairman, The Ireland Funds America, KPMG Ireland
  • Gareth Macklin, Managing Director, Obbi Solutions

Danny Moore of Options will speak at the conference about the pandemic relief effort and the Robin Hood Project which is raising funds for frontline workers. He said: “We are proud to be involved in this year’s conference which brings a whole new meaning to our transatlantic relationships. Working together and strengthening links across the world is even more important in overcoming our collective and shared challenges.

“Despite being physically isolated from each other during the pandemic, there is so much each city can learn in how we react to and rebuild after this crisis. Businesses of all shapes and sizes – including our own – have reacted swiftly to serve our communities and help people and companies get back on their feet.

“The role of business is also crucial in helping recovery efforts, both by generating prosperity through jobs and investment but also by co-ordinating relief efforts like our Robin Hood Project. Across the world, frontline workers have risked their lives in this pandemic and it is only right that we give back in whatever way we can.”.

Conference organiser Connla McCann, Director of Aisling Events, also said: “This year’s conference is a unique but exciting situation for everyone involved. While we would usually be preparing to travel to New York City at this stage to be together and celebrate the links between Belfast and the US, we have pivoted and adapted to ensure these connections remain active and vibrant. By sharing our experiences and best practice, both cities can emerge from this crisis stronger.

“This year is also an opportunity for those who have been unable to travel with us to New York in the past to be fully involved and engaged. The conference will provide a much-needed uplift and inspire societal change.”

The conference is sponsored by NI Bureau, Tourism Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Obbi Solutions, Options, the Irish American Partnership, the Irish Business Organisation of New York, Cboe Hanweck, Forepont Capital Partners and KPMG.

Registration for the conference is free but attendees are encouraged to donate to the conference’s Covid-19 appeals raising funds for healthcare workers: Meitheal in New York and the Robin Hood Project in Belfast.

To register and for full programme information, visit www.aisling-events.com

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