Gallery of Photos from the 2019 CA-NI Diplomatic Dinner

Over 200 people gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Belfast last Thursday (24 October) to attend the 2nd Diplomatic Dinner to be held in the city.  The dinner was hosted by the Consular Corps/Association of Northern Ireland (CA-NI) and sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland.  Co-operation Ireland, the leading peace-building organisation in Ireland, was nominated as the beneficiary charity.

It was an opportunity for CA-NI to showcase the work that they do and for the Honorary Consuls to welcome the business community in Northern Ireland to the event, along with Political Leaders, Consul Generals and senior Diplomats, in celebration of the increasing multiculturalism and diversity of Northern Ireland society.

We are indebted to Invest Northern Ireland for sponsoring the dinner and supporting both CA-NI and Co-operation Ireland.  Steve Harper, Executive Director, International Business at Invest NI, recognised the hugely important role played by CA-NI in looking after the interests of over 40 international communities who now consider Northern Ireland as home.  Steve stated the importance to the Northern Ireland business community of this fantastic opportunity to seek inward investment and outreach to an international market.

President of CA-NI and Honorary Consul of India, Lord Diljit Rana, MBE, welcomed everyone to the event.  Speaking at the dinner, Lord Rana said: “As President of CA-NI, I am delighted to welcome everyone to the Diplomatic Dinner. The occasion will be a wonderful celebration of the many nations represented here and I look forward to a very enjoyable evening.”

Fergal Keane, OBE, BBC News Africa Editor was invited as guest speaker and gave a heart-rending speech on trauma and conflict from some of the world’s trouble spots.  Fergal, who grew up in County Cork, is one of the BBC’s most celebrated foreign correspondents.  He has covered most of the world conflicts of the last 30 years and has won numerous awards for his reports.   He is also an author of several bestselling books.

To continue with a multi-cultural theme, Wilson Magwere and Kyle McCann entertained guests with ethnic sounds of Africa.  Wilson left his home in Zimbabwe some 16 years ago to set up home here in Northern Ireland, and has spent much of his time here, facilitating workshops and conferences, many alongside Co-operation Ireland Youth Workers, using his own experiences and his talent as a musician to create positive working relations between young people from diverse communities within Northern Ireland.

Peter Sheridan Chief Executive, Co-operation Ireland said: This year, Co-operation Ireland celebrates its 40th anniversary and as the lead charity for peace and reconciliation on the Island of Ireland, is delighted to be chosen as beneficiary of the CA-NI Diplomatic Dinner.  All proceeds raised through the event will go towards the charity’s peace-building work with young people”. 

“As an organisation, our vision is of a peaceful and stable island where people of all backgrounds live and work together for a better future, and the aim of this dinner fits our remit perfectly”.

Over the past decade we have seen Northern Ireland move to a society that is culturally and ethnically diverse and ensuring that people feel welcomed and able to integrate into all parts of Irish society, North and South, is something we reflect in our programme work with young people”.