Belfast is set to welcome ex-pats from across the world back home during a three-day event at the start of October.
The Belfast Homecoming 2015, which takes place between October 7 and 10, is expected to bring together leaders from Europe and the US with strong ties to Belfast.
Leading the diaspora delegation will be a 40-strong mission from the New York State legislature, while participants will come from as far apart as Tokyo and Toronto.
Now in its second year, the Homecoming celebrates Belfast as a city on the rise, with the aim of building bridges and relationships as well as bringing people back to their homeland.
Key invents include:
- Plenary sessions on transforming Belfast through Business, Investment, Arts, Job Creation, Tourism, Education etcetera
- The premier of the new Marcus Robinson short film for Tourism Ireland ‘Van Morrison Live on Cyrpus Avenue’
- Belfast Business Top 50 Awards
- NI Connections Pop-Up Banquet in Belfast Dock
Key speakers include:
- Juan Mari Aburto, Mayor of Bilbao
- Representative Mike Cusick, President of the American Irish Legislators Society on New York
- Minister Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for External Affairs and International Development in the Scottish Government
Connla McCann, Director, Aisling Events, said: “This year’s Homecoming is set to shine a positive light on Belfast’s progress. We have the biggest delegation from New York arriving with guest speakers including Councillor Daniel Dromm, Chair of Education Committee at New York City Council, and key regional European leaders such as the Mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto.
“We anticipate that over 150 leading diaspora figures will arrive in Belfast for this event. I’d like to thank all our sponsors for their continued support in welcoming our diaspora back home to Northern Ireland and help making the event possible.”
Richard Donnan, Managing Director Retail Banking and NI SME and C&IB, Ulster Bank, said: “The inaugural Belfast Homecoming which took place last year marked a new era of co-operation between the people of Belfast and those in the diaspora who hail from Belfast or simply love the city.
“The energy and connections created made this an easy choice for Ulster Bank to be centrally involved once again. Our ambition is to be the number one bank for customer service, trust and advocacy, and an event like this is a unique opportunity to build strong and productive international ties.
“We are excited to be taking a leading role in helping build a better Belfast, and we look forward to facilitating pledges and actions in relation to jobs, tourism, education, arts and sport.”
Andrew Cowan, CEO, NI Connections, said: “Northern Irish Connections is a global network that helps connect the thousands of Northern Irish people and friends of NI that are living around the globe. By engaging our diverse and influential diaspora we can help reap business and cultural opportunities for our members, and for Northern Ireland.
“The Belfast Homecoming 2015 is a celebration of that network and a space where we can think out loud about how we start to shape Belfast by using the input of our valued diaspora who are doing great things elsewhere.
Colin Mounstephen, Senior Manager, Deloitte, said: “We are pleased to show our continued support for the Homecoming in Belfast. Over the last few years we have invested £30 million in our own operation in Belfast which shows that we are proud to be part of a city on the rise. We have the ambition to succeed in globally competitive markets and we must connect even more so with our diaspora to bring further investment and enhance our reputation as a place to do business.”