The heft of the diaspora will be brought to bear on the challenges of Brexit at the Belfast International Homecoming which will take place in the city in October.

The sixth annual business and investment conference, the Belfast International Homecoming, for the Irish (and Scots Irish) diaspora will be held between Oct 16 to 18 at a number of locations across the city.

In partnership with Ulster Bank and Belfast Harbour, the three-day event themed ‘Be The Bridge’, will forge new connections and cement existing relationships with the aim of building a better Belfast. Representatives from the European Union, the Irish and British governments and prominent US politicians, will come together to promote our great city whilst addressing current challenges.

Those challenges, we know, are best faced with the help of our global family who has played a crucial role in getting us to where we are today, not least the transatlantic efforts which have boosted peace and prosperity.

The 'Celtic Connection' across the Irish Sea also plays a major part in the progress and that contribution has been recognized by the choice of this year’s keynote speaker.

Cllr Susan Aitken is the Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow City Region Cabinet and will open Friday’s (18 October) business and investment conference at the Belfast Harbour Commissioners office.

The hub of the north’s seaborne trade will be the venue for the day’s discussions which will include a focus on those sectors which will continue to prosper beyond Brexit including our ever-burgeoning film industry and the growing tourism offering.

A specific focus on tourism will take place on Thursday (17 October) with a Tourism Breakfast hosted at the iconic Titanic Belfast. The managing director of Hastings Hotels (and the host of the Belfast Homecoming), Howard Hastings will address delegates on how ‘Hotel Investments Reflect Our Belief in Belfast’.

This premier business event will again recognize a host of Belfast Ambassadors, among them our global brothers and sisters and the local heroes building international bridges to the diaspora. This year will also see recognition of ten Young Ambassadors, leading lights of their generation who speak to a progressive, people-focused city.

The Homecoming Legal Symposium, which brings together the best legal brains from across the globe to discuss the day’s most pressing issues, will again take a pivotal position in the three-day event.

Commenting on his return to the Belfast International Homecoming, the First Vice President at Wells Fargo Advisors, New York, Conor McCoy said his family connection to Belfast drives his eagerness to get involved.

“My parents are from Belfast and I grew up there in the city so that connection creates an affection and a desire to support its progress. From a business perspective, there are new opportunities being provided in sectors such as tourism and a lot of other positives so the Belfast International Homecoming is a great opportunity to give the city the exposure it deserves.

“The ‘Be The Bridge’ theme is particularly apt for us as Irish Americans as we have always had an interest in maintaining links to home and I look forward to returning and building on those relationships.”

The Belfast International Homecoming will take place from Oct 16 - 18, 2019. Find out more at BelfastHomecoming.com.

Honorees of The Belfast International Homecoming in 2018: Jerry Hanweck, CEO Hanweck Associates NY, Joanne Stuart, Head of the NI Tourism Alliance, Jack Butler, MD, MRP, Philadelphia/Belfast, John Donovan, Boston Chair of the Boston-Belfast Sister Cities. Presented by Jackie Henry, Senior Partner, Deloitte, Belfast.Belfast International Homecoming