World leaders descend on Belfast to mark the 25th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement (B/GFA)
April 17, 2022, Washington, DC. From April 17-19, Belfast will host global political and economic leaders to mark the 25th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement (B/GFA), which underpins Northern Ireland's peace, its constitutional settlement, and its institutions. Central to marking the anniversary is Agreement 25, a conference hosted by Queen's University Belfast. Sponsors of Agreement 25 include the Council on Competitiveness and the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils, and participants in the three-day international conference will include President Bill Clinton; Secretary Hillary R. Clinton, the Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast; and many other luminaries.
The Agreement 25 conference will celebrate the achievements of those who signed the 1998 B/GFA, recognize the role of women in peace building, amplify the voice of the next generation of young leaders, and create a dialogue that proposes and considers social and economic solutions to the major issues that will impact the region over the next 25 years.
“Reimagine” is the theme of Agreement 25 Day Three, when the focus will turn to the future and explore opportunities to expand Northern Ireland’s economic prospects. In alignment with the theme, the Honorable Deborah Wince-Smith,President and CEO, Council of Competitiveness, will lead an expert panel discussion titled, “Global Northern Ireland.” The session will help inform a vision of the future for Northern Ireland, and topics will focus on ways to build a more dynamic, diverse, and inclusive economy with an industrial base and innovation ecosystems that are adaptive, agile, and capable of rapid change. Panelists will include Joan Gabel, President, University of Minnesota, and Academic Vice Chair, Council on Competitiveness; Dr. Steven Ashby, Director, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Josh Parker, CEO, Ancora L&G; Sarah Friar, CEO, Nextdoor; and Steve Orr, CEO, Catalyst
“Today’s pathways to the future are dramatically different than they were just three years ago, much less 30 years ago, but they will be built with innovation – tapping into our collective imagination, insight, ingenuity, invention, and impact. With the right policies in place, Northern Ireland has the ambition and vision to innovate, grow, and achieve extraordinary gains over the next 25 years,” said Wince-Smith.
The Council has a long history of partnership with Northern Ireland and the Republic. Its work has helped optimize the innovation and competitiveness ecosystem across the entire island. This includes engaging over the past quarter century with critical stakeholders, including Queen’s University Belfast, the Northern Ireland Centre for Competitiveness, InterTrade Ireland, and the Ireland National Council on Competitiveness to explore key issues and best practices in areas such university-industry partnerships, high-tech foreign investment, and place-based innovation.