Belfast could teach world about how to co-exist peacefully, says Geldof

City chosen to host One Young World Summit of youth leaders in 2023

Bob Geldof said the youth of Belfast “bring by your very presence the absurdity of fighting one another”. File image: One Young World Summit

Bob Geldof said the youth of Belfast “bring by your very presence the absurdity of fighting one another”. File image: One Young World Summit

 

Belfast has outbid seven other cities to host a major gathering of youth leaders in 2023.

Speaking at an online event confirming the decision, Bob Geldof said Belfast was the ideal location for the One Young World Summit because it was an exemplar of two “completely different cultures” which had learned how to live with each other.

He said cities such as London, which held the event last year; Munich, which is due to hold it this year; and Tokyo next year did not have the type of experiences that the people of Belfast had built up as a result of the peace process.

“It’s an experience, an outlook, a perspective, a deep culture, something new and very different to what they don’t have elsewhere,” he said.

“You bring the potential of a future without the necessity of war. You bring by your very presence the absurdity of fighting one another.”

Some 2,000 young people representing every country in the world are scheduled to attend in May 2023.

Annual summit

The One Young World Summit has been held annually for the last 13 years. Among those involved in it are former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.

The decision to choose Belfast has been welcomed by the city’s lord mayor, alderman Frank McCoubrey.

“The timing is significant as it will coincide with our city’s ambitious new cultural strategy and an unparalleled immersive cultural activity during the year,” he said. “We are confident that One Young World Belfast 2023 will generate opportunities for our young people, both now and for future generations.”

First Minister Arlene Foster said she was proud to see the summit come to Belfast, adding: “It provides an important opportunity for a powerful and productive dialogue across nations and generations.”

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said the event would “provide a platform” to share perspectives on how to bring about positive change in the world.