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The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin, T.D., today announced further details of the Global Irish Economic Forum, which is to be held in Farmleigh on the weekend of 18th-20th September, 2009.
Addressing a press conference at Government Buildings, the Minister said:
‘‘Earlier this year, the Government decided to host a Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin on 18 - 20 September. The Forum aims to explore how the Irish, at home and abroad, and those with a strong interest in Ireland, can work together to contribute to our overall efforts at economic recovery.
Invitations to the Forum were issued by way of a personal letter from the Taoiseach in April. The response has been extremely encouraging, with over 180 people set to participate. Traveling at their own expense, and giving freely of their time and expertise, these invitees reflect the enduring willingness of the Irish abroad to engage with and support Ireland. They include international business leaders, well known cultural figures and groundbreaking thinkers, people who exemplify the ‘remarkable combination of hope, confidence and imagination’ which President John Fitzgerald Kennedy called ‘the quality of the Irish’.
Today, I am making available details of the program for the event, along with an up to date list of those who have agreed to participate. I am also pleased to launch the Forum’s official website - www.globalirishforum.ie - which will include detailed information for those participating at Farmleigh and more general communication on the event itself.
In planning for the Forum, my Department is working closely with other Departments and the relevant State Agencies. The program has been designed to maximize the sharing of ideas and engagement between participants, while facilitating concrete outcomes.’’
Summarizing the main elements of the program, the Minister said that:
“Following an opening address by the Taoiseach, the program will consist of five separate sessions over the course of the 18th and 19th September at which invitees, joined by members of Cabinet, will engage in substantive debate and discussion. The titles of the five sessions are: ‘The global economy: positioning Ireland for the upturn’; ‘Ireland – the innovation island’; ‘Promoting brand Ireland through our global cultural profile’; ‘Ireland’s image abroad: what is it now; how can it be improved; and what role can new media play?’; and ‘Ireland and its Diaspora: harnessing a unique resource’. There will also be eleven small breakout working groups on the Friday afternoon which will consider a range of economic issues relevant to the development of the ‘Smart Economy’.
Recognizing the invaluable networking opportunity presented by the Forum, the program will include a number of hospitality events, including a reception hosted by President McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin and a dinner at Dublin Castle, hosted by the Tánaiste, Mary Coughlan. Lunch will be offered on Sunday 20th September followed by the All-Ireland Football Final”.
Looking forward to the event, the Minister said: “I believe that the Global Irish Economic Forum has the potential to be an extremely significant event, both as a step towards addressing our current economic challenges and as a platform for the development of a long term strategy which will channel the enormous potential of this global community. The positive reaction with which invitees have greeted the initiative augurs well for its success.”
Minister Martin pointed out that the Forum is one of a number of initiatives being taken by the Government to develop a more strategic relationship with the Irish Diaspora. He said that: “Successive Governments have had a long record of engagement with our global community and have worked very successfully with them in the past, particularly in relation to economic development and the peace process. Over the past 6 years alone, the Government has provided some €60million in funding to Irish Diaspora organizations and projects and in 2007 organized a successful Diaspora conference in Dublin Castle. The Forum builds on this work”.