Among those encouraging greater cross-Atlantic cooperation was Len O’Hagan, Chair of Belfast Harbour who was speaking ahead of a major summit entitled ‘New York-New Belfast’ which takes place in New York City between 9-10 June. The event represents a major opportunity to showcase an emerging and vibrant Belfast to some of New York’s most influential business, political and civic leaders.
Mr O’Hagan said closer ties between one of the world’s renowned cities and a new, outward looking Belfast would provide a logical step in formalising already strong links between both cities. He explained:
“Belfast is redefining its international image and it is important that we build upon our long-standing relationship with the US, particularly New York City. This ‘New Belfast’ has much to offer the overseas investment community, not least the various regeneration projects underway throughout Belfast Harbour Estate, Titanic Quarter and the Cathedral and Gaeltacht Quarters.”
“The two day event will feature world renowned speakers and influential representatives from across New York with the aim of opening up not only investment opportunities, but stronger cooperation on tourism and issues linked to regeneration so that the economic benefits of progress can be felt throughout Belfast.”
The summit organised by Belfast Media Group will feature a high powered delegation from Belfast’s business, culture and arts and civic community such as CBI chief Terence Brannigan, renowned artist Rita Duffy, Tourism Ireland’s CEO Niall Gibbons and Richard Williams, CEO of Northern Ireland Screen.
The two day event will also hear from an impressive line up of US speakers including US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland Declan Kelly, world renowned architect Michael Sorkin and author of ‘Twenty Minutes in Manhattan’ an international best seller, John Liu, Comptroller of New York City, business leader Shaun Kelly of KPMG and Ben Chrnelich, of NYSE technologies.
The private sector led initiative will also see the launch of the Belfast Ambassadors Network during the event in the USA. The ambassadors will promote transatlantic partnerships across a range of sectors and is being supported by Tourism Ireland.
One of the key speakers at the summit is Christine C. Quinn of New York City Council who welcomed the call for greater collaboration between Belfast and New York saying:
"I am thrilled to participate in the first ever New York-New Belfast conference. New York and Belfast have long been partners in commerce and culture. It is such a near-instantaneous and long-standing connection that has characterised the relationships of our great cities, I'm proud to be a part of building new bridges and strengthening the existing relationships between New York and Belfast."
The event has been organised as a follow up event to the successful City of Quarters Conference which took place in Belfast in late March during which a series of investment announcements were made including Government funding for the University of Ulster Belfast Campus and an Integrated Transport Hub for bus and rail service for Belfast City.
Greater collaboration between New York City and Belfast will help secure future economic, cultural and social progress and success, according to Belfast’s business community.