Transatlantic cooperation tops NY-NB agenda

Congressman Joe Crowley will be presented with the Irish Echo’s Irish American Person of the Year Award at the ninth annual New York-New Belfast conference, which takes place June 7-8.

By Irish Echo Staff

Leading companies from across the U.S. who have extensive operations in Ireland will gather in New York in on June 7-8 to explore transatlantic co-operation.

The ninth annual New York-New Belfast conference will also hear from recently-elected New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on his commitment to bridge-building between Ireland, north and south, and the Big Apple.

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Bolstering mutually beneficial partnerships in commerce, culture and community, the conference will feature a strong delegation of business and civic leaders from Belfast including renowned peacemaker the Rev Bill Shaw — a Presbyterian cleric who has established an arts hub in nationalist North Belfast — novelist Glenn Patterson and actor Geraldine Hughes, now appearing in Broadway smash hit “Harry Potter and The Cursed Child.”

Connla McCann.

Californian multinational Concentrix, which has just opened a $20m European headquarters in Belfast, will be represented by SVP Philip Cassidy while KPMG Global COO, Shaun Kelly, a native of Belfast, will be the main speaker at a luncheon recognizing 50 companies with operations on both sides of the Atlantic.

"You put smart people in a room together and good things happen," said Connla McCann, host of the annual convention. "Belfast and New York differ massively in scale but the problems of urban development, job-creation and community inclusion are identical. Over the past nine years, many great friendships and alliances have been forged at our annual conference and we are delighted to have another roster of high-profile speakers this year."

The conference will open with a Thursday evening reception in the American Irish Historical Society where the focus will be on arts and heritage, including the bicentennial of the birth of Frederick Douglass, who spoke to large crowds in Belfast in 1845, and the 50th anniversary of the release of Van Morrison's “Astral Weeks” in New York. The following day, the action switches to Pier A Harbor House, once an immigration hall, at the very tip of Manhattan, where speakers will include New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli as well as 20 Minutes in Manhattan author and urbanist Michael Sorkin.

You can see the full agenda for the New York-New Belfast Conference and register here. Honorary Chairs of conference include film-maker Terry George, equity investor Michael George, Lorraine Turner of the NI Bureau and Suzanne Aquino, Global Category Head at Chain IQ. The two-day gathering will culminate with the presentation of the Irish Echo’s Irish American Person of the Year Award to Congressman Joe Crowley.