b'CONFERENCE 20191 2 3 45 6 7 8Thefour-dayconferenceincludedcloseto200The conference also included sessions that discussed the ongoing in-supporters from cities across the world includingvestment and long-range plans of The Ireland Funds within Northern Ireland. Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese and Prof. Monica the US, Ireland, the UK, Europe, Singapore andMcWilliams, Chairperson of Interpeace (Geneva) were guest speakers. Australia.Other speakers included Martin OBrien (Director of Social Change Initiative), The Baroness May Blood MBE, Peter Sheridan (CEO of Co-Over the weekend, the group paid visits to various peace and recon- operation Ireland) and members of The Ireland Funds Young Leaders: ciliation projects supported by The Ireland Funds in Northern IrelandConor Houston, Gareth Quinn and Richard Willis. Panels were mod-including 174 Trust, Cinemagic and PeacePlayers International. erated by Dearbhail McDonald (journalist, author, broadcaster and A key event of the international gathering was The Ireland FundsEisenhower Fellow) and Jonathan Ireland (Co-Founder & Partner, Lan-AWB Vincent Literary Award which was presented posthumously toyon Communications).Lyra McKee to honor the significant contribution that she made to Ire- Chairman of The Ireland Funds America, John Fitzpatrick said: Es-land through her writing. tablished during the conflict in Northern Ireland, The Ireland Funds is President and CEO of The Ireland Funds America, David Cronin,deeply connected to the North. Through the Good Friday Agreement, said: Through her writing, Lyra McKee inspired and challenged us withthe bridge to peace has been built but we must work hard to cement this her insightful work as a journalist and author. Lyras talent and abilitypeace. It is truly a process that continues to require all of our energy, to connect across generations, prejudice and sectarianism was excep- commitment and support. This years Ireland Funds conference in Bel-tional. With our own roots and deep connections in Northern Ireland,fast has been an important and productive one, and we are returning to it is most appropriate that The Ireland Funds AWB Vincent Literarythe various geographies around the world with renewed purpose.Award this year honors Lyra McKee.The event was an opportunity to thank donors and friends from The award was presented to Lyras partner, Sara Canning, with heraround the world for their ongoing commitment to the philanthropic family and friends in attendance.In her memory, the accompanyingmission of The Ireland Funds.award funding ($25,000) will be presented to Fighting Words, a creative writing charity for children and young people in Northern Ireland.connect 201957'