Belfast Telegraph

Universities in transatlantic tie-up

By Symon Ross

New York's universities are set to forge stronger links with Queen's University and University of Ulster, it has been announced.

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn made the announcement during her address at a conference entitled 'New York-New Belfast' in the US yesterday.

The commitment includes establishing greater collaboration between every major University in New York with local Universities in order to encourage "both cities to learn from one another - seeking innovative solutions to common problems in order to advance economic opportunity, democratic values, creative inspiration, best practices, and cultural diversity".

The New York City Council Speaker added: "Over the next 12 months we'll work to make sure every major University in New York City offers a Belfast exchange programme.

"We've already started a conversation with City University of New York to ask them to explore this idea. New York boasts some of the world's top educational institutions including Columbia University and Cornell University.

Conference organiser Mairtin O Muilleoir said of the announcement: "This is an important announcement today as it further reinforces the benefits of close working relationships with New York City. I have no doubt that students taking part in the exchange programmes in the coming 12 months will return to Belfast with enhanced skills and knowledge ready to apply them in contributing to the community and economy in Belfast.

"The two-day summit in New York has opened up not only investment opportunities, but stronger cooperation on tourism and issues linked to regeneration so that the economic benefits of progress can be felt throughout Belfast."

The conference has been addressed by CBI chief Terence Brannigan, Tourism Ireland's chief executive Niall Gibbons and Richard Williams, chief executive of Northern Ireland Screen, as well as New York City Comptroller John Liu and Belfast Harbour Chairman Len O'Hagan.