Countdown is on as Belfast prepares to host thousands of young leaders for the One Young World Summit

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World renowned counsellors including an Oscar winner, a Netflix sensation and sport stars are confirmed to address delegates

With just weeks until the world’s largest gathering of young leaders takes place in Belfast, One Young World has revealed the line-up of influential political, business and humanitarian leaders who will be counsellors at the summit.

The One Young World Summit will bring together delegates from over 190 countries and more than 250 organisations to confront the biggest challenges facing humanity and accelerate social impact.

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In June it was announced that former Chelsea star, Didier Drogba will be a counsellor at the summit and Northern Ireland star of Oscar-winning film, An Irish Goodbye, James Martin will also take his place alongside some of the world’s most influential leaders.

Looking forward to the One Young World in Belfast in October. Picture: One Young WorldLooking forward to the One Young World in Belfast in October. Picture: One Young World
Looking forward to the One Young World in Belfast in October. Picture: One Young World

Most recent announcements include star of Netflix show, The Umbrella Academy, Aidan Gallagher, who will join journalist and author, Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe who was detained in Iran in April 2016 and was held hostage for six years, Maria Juliana Ruiz, the former First Lady of Columbia and Dr James Doty, Professor of Neurosurgery at Stanford University.

From the world of professional sport, delegates will be counselled by former professional footballer Rio Ferdinand OBE, two South African Rugby World Cup winners, Francois Pienaar and Tendai Mtawarira, and Olympic gold medal swimmer, Mark Tewksbury.

More than 2,000 delegates will come to Belfast for four life-changing days of knowledge-sharing and networking with the eyes of the world focussed on Northern Ireland during this time. Young leaders from Northern Ireland are set to join including Matthew Taylor, Co-founder of PureMental, Fatima Sarwari, Chairperson of the Afghan Association of Northern Ireland and Ciaran Ferrin, Chair of the Belfast Climate Commission's Youth Working Group to name just a few.

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Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy said: “As a city full of energy and potential, Belfast is looking forward to playing its part in bringing exceptional young leaders, activists and business leaders from every corner of the world together to find solutions to the important issues facing our world today.

“This diverse line-up of counsellors really speaks to the vibrancy and variety of what’s in store for delegates, with a packed programme of speakers and events drawing upon experiences from all walks of life, the world over.

“I look forward to welcoming all the One Young World attendees on October 2-5, listening to their perspectives on tackling key areas like climate change and health inequalities, and highlighting the work already underway here in Belfast to tackle these issues and create local solutions to global issues.”

Tourism Northern Ireland CEO, John McGrillen said the One Young World Summit will provide a wonderful platform to showcase Belfast and Northern Ireland on the international stage.

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He said: “The Summit is unparalleled when it comes to uniting young leaders from all over the world to create change and lasting impact.

“This event will be truly transformative for over 2,000 delegates who will take part in it, and we hope Belfast and Northern Ireland will hold a special place in their heart afterwards.

“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase the vibrancy, beauty and the giant spirit of Northern Ireland to such a large gathering of international visitors and to inspire return visits and future business opportunities.”

Jackie Henry, managing partner, People & Purpose, Deloitte UK, said: “I am incredibly proud that Deloitte is an opening ceremony principal partner sponsor of this year’s One Young World in my home town of Belfast. Deloitte has been supporting One Young World since 2011 and this year we have some fantastic young people taking part, not only from our team in Belfast but also from Deloitte’s offices around the world, as well as others nominated by Deloitte’s charity relationships in Northern Ireland.

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“It’s so important that we help empower our young leaders to drive positive change in the world and I believe One Young World in Belfast will provide a brilliant platform for the young people who attend to start having a positive impact on the big concerns facing our world. I also think there is much that the young people visiting our city will learn from the amazing people of Belfast and look forward to joining them at the summit.”

This year’s One Young World Summit has been recognised by both the City of Belfast and the UK Government as being part of the official functions to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

Joining the extensive list of counsellors will be a number of local political figures with extensive experience of peace building. This includes Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and Bertie Ahern, former Irish Taoiseach and an architect of the Good Friday Agreement.

Meanwhile, the countdown comes as an array of performers from every corner of Northern Ireland prepare to put on an epic opening ceremony to welcome delegates on Monday, October 2.

The ceremony will take place at Belfast’s SSE Arena as the best of local talent will be at the centre of a truly immersive experience for attendees.