The first Ireland-US conference to take place in person since the Covid storm upended transatlantic relations is scheduled for New York on Oct 1.
The eleventh annual New York-New Belfast gathering, which went to virtual format last year, is transitioning back to a live event in the Big Apple. However, with travel from Ireland still banned, Belfast-based speakers will be beamed in from the head offices of conference premier business partner KPMG.
Conference convenor Connla McCann said that, while the entire event will be streamed online, she was "over the moon" at being able to oversee the return of an in-person conference in New York.
"It's been the strangest of times but despite the Covid challenges, heroic work has been done to keep the transatlantic bridges strong," she said. "The next step is to bring the friends of Belfast in the Big Apple together in one location to discuss the work of recovery. We're saddened that our delegates and speakers from Belfast will be unable to make their annual pilgrimage to New York but we are very proud of the fact that we have overcome myriad challenges to reconnect Ireland and America again."
Among the high-profile speakers appearing in-person at the New York-New Belfast conference in the Manhattan Club will be Leni Sloan of the African American Irish Diaspora Network, New York Assemblyman and Chair of the American Irish Legislators Society Mike Cusick, Dennis Bree of Twitter, Margaret Molloy of Siegel+Gale and Wearing Irish, Alexandra Levin of Brightline West Trains and Amsterdam News publisher Elinor Tatum.
"Our focus will be on the work of rebuilding and securing a bright future for Belfast-New York partnerships," added Lawlor, CEO of Aisling Events. "We probably haven't experienced this type of separation between America and Ireland since World War II so there is almost a sensation of emerging from the fog of war into the bright skies of transatlantic cooperation once again. By going with an in-person conference in New York, we're sending the strong message that Covid will not defeat our determination to forge ever-stronger links between our two countries."
You can see the full program for the New York-New Belfast along with ticket details online.
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