Claudia Savage (PA)
Thousands of young people from more than 190 countries have arrived in Belfast to attend the opening ceremony of an international leadership summit.
The One Young World Summit opens at the SSE arena on Monday evening and has brought together 2,000 future leaders from across the world to discuss some of the biggest issues facing the world and how to accelerate social impact.
The summit has been recognised by the City of Belfast and the UK Government as being part of the official celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
Delegates were welcomed to Belfast City Airport on Sunday evening with a Riverdance-style line-up of dancers from the Causeway Coast and an award-winning brass band from County Down performing on arrival.
Tourism NI director of marketing Naomi Waite said the summit is an exciting opportunity for Northern Ireland to showcase itself to the world.
“Thousands of young people from all over the planet will be in Northern Ireland this week and what better opportunity for us to really put on a show and highlight what a world-class destination we are,” she said.
“They have just experienced a giant local welcome at the airport today and I know this is just the beginning for these delegates.
“These young people will be our future leaders and we know they will leave Northern Ireland having had four of the most incredible days of their lives.
“This summit has the power to leave a true legacy here, which will be felt for years to come.”
One Young World managing director Ella Robertson McKay said the team have been blown away by the welcome they have received in Northern Ireland.
“There is a real energy about this wonderful diverse city and we are so thrilled to be bringing the One Young World summit to Belfast.
“The next four days will be truly transformative for the young leaders attending. This is an opportunity for a global delegation to come together to shape the future of our world.
“We have some of the most influential people in the world gathered here in Belfast, to inspire, share learnings, and connect with a truly international delegation.
The delegates will be counselled by political, business, and humanitarian leaders such as former Irish president Mary Robinson, Queen Rania of Jordan and Didier Drogba.
Additional counsellors include footballer Rio Ferdinand, Rugby World Cup winner Francois Pienaar and British-Iranian journalist and author Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
The One Young World Summit has named its Journalist of the Year Award 2023 the Lyra McKee Award for Bravery, in honour of the Belfast journalist who was killed during riots in Londonderry in 2019.