More than 2,000 young people from over 190 countries around the world will experience “something new and very different” when they descend upon Belfast in 2023, according to Sir Bob Geldof.

Following a competitive Host City Bid Process, which included eight candidate cities from across five continents, Belfast has been confirmed as the Host City for the 13th annual One Young World Summit in May 2023.

The global forum for young leaders, One Young World’s mission is to create a better world, with more responsible and more effective leadership. This is achieved by identifying, promoting and connecting the world’s most impactful young leaders, from every country and sector, working to accelerate social impact.

Delegates at the annual One Young World Summit are joined by influential political, business and humanitarian leaders – the One Young World Counsellors – including Sir Bob Geldof, President Mary Robinson, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Duchess of Sussex and Sir Richard Branson, amongst many other global figures.

Addressing delegates at the virtual launch of One Young World Belfast 2023 today, One Young World Counsellor Sir Bob Geldof said:

“I love the fact that One Young World 2023 is in Belfast, because there’s so much that people in this city can talk about to these younger people: about processes that made two completely different cultures and societies function together; about discovering there is another way of doing things; that there is a future and that talking through subjects actually works.

“Belfast brings to this global conference an experience, an outlook, a perspective, a deep culture, and something new and very different that they won’t have got at One Young World 2021 in Munich this year or Tokyo next year.

“You bring something real and vital and possible. You bring a successful society who still have to negotiate every day with each other to drive forward. They’ve never had that and it’s invaluable.”

Welcoming One Young World Belfast 2023 the First Minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster said:

“I am pleased and proud that Belfast will be hosting this exciting and transformative event which brings together young leaders of the future with those more established on the world stage. It provides an important opportunity for a powerful and productive dialogue across nations and generations and will empower our inspirational young people to be the change they want to see.”

The deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said:

“One Young World Belfast 2023 is fantastic news for the city and beyond as we look forward to welcoming thousands of young people from right across the world.

“It is so important that we hear the voices of our young people and the One Young World event will provide a platform to share perspectives on how we can bring about positive change locally and globally.”

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Frank McCoubrey said the timing of One Young World Belfast was significant, coinciding with the city’s ambitious new cultural strategy and an unparalleled programme of immersive cultural activity during the year 2023.

“We will proudly showcase to over 2,000 young people from more than 190 countries around the world that Belfast is brimming with talent, potential and youthful optimism – an energy that is driving our city’s resurgence and regeneration,” he said.

“The fact that these young people will take such hugely positive experiences of Belfast home with them will create a long-lasting, global legacy for our amazing city. We’re confident that One Young World will inspire and generate opportunities for our young people, both now and for future generations.”

One Young World Belfast 2023 will be delivered and matched-funded by a range of private and public sector partners and sponsors – including Belfast City Council; Conference Partners International; Connected Citizens; Department for the Economy NI; Department of Finance NI; Education Authority NI; Tourism Northern Ireland; Visit Belfast and ICC Belfast.  Opportunities to sponsor and provide in-kind support for One Young World Belfast 2023 will officially be launched in the coming months.

The One Young World Belfast 2023 strategy is led by an Advisory Board and Organising Committee of business leaders from across a range of sectors – co-chaired by Dr Howard Hastings OBE, Managing Director of the Hastings Hotels Group and Conor Houston, Director of Houston Solutions and Founder of Connected Citizens.

Conor Houston – also a One Young World Ambassador – commented:

“Having attended and spoken at the 2017 Summit in Bogota, I have experienced first-hand the life-changing impact that One Young World has on thousands of young leaders from every nation in the world each year. Added to this, its power to incite and inspire long-lasting and deep-rooted societal impact and change is simply unparalleled.

“For Belfast as the Host City, the legacy of One Young World 2023 will extend far beyond the immediate economic impact. Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, One Young World Belfast 2023 will bring a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase on a global stage just how far Northern Ireland has come and our ambition to achieve so much more in the future.”

One Young World described the 2023 Summit in Belfast as an opportunity to celebrate the city’s youthful dynamism, talent and history, as well as create opportunities for its young people who are driving positive, peaceful and impactful change in the years to come.

Montréal was also announced today as the Host City for One Young World 2024. Speaking about both cities, One Young World Co-Founder David Jones said: 

“Belfast and Montréal are vibrant, youthful cities, and we’re really looking forward to hosting our next Summits in these important cultural hubs. The world has faced more than a year of incredible disruption, yet we have also seen inspirational moments of activism, strength and commitment. The young leaders of the world are well-placed to help lead us out of the crisis and into a brighter future.

“Similarly, our next host cities Belfast and Montréal share a passion for attracting global talent and being committed to the acceleration of the kind of ambitious, innovative ideas that we will need. As we look to the future of One Young World, we are thrilled to announce that Belfast and Montréal will be our next host cities”

Kate Robertson, Co-Founder, One Young World added:

“We’ve seen how the pandemic has brought enormous distress to the younger generation. But we’ve also been heartened and inspired by this generation’s commitment to activism, sustainability and social justice during unprecedented times.

“As we hit the final 10-year countdown to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals there are several hurdles we face to achieve the change that we must see.

“We are eager to focus these next Summits on what we’ve learnt from this global pandemic, and how we can leverage the good work that has been done so we can continue to push for meaningful change.”