THIS year’s Laurentic Forum’s will be hosted virtually over three days this week. The theme of the event is ‘Sustaining Coastal Communities’, and takes place online, due to Covid-19, on Tuesday to Thursday.
The Laurentic Forum has grown organically from the bottom up as a community led initiative since 2006. It was then when Don McNeill, originally from St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, who had emigrated to Donegal in 1994, and eight like-minded friends got together and chipped in and bought a wreath to hold a small informal but poignant wreath laying at St Mura’s Church of Ireland cemetery in Fahan for the 21 Newfoundlanders who were amongst the over 350 men lost in the sinking of the HMS Laurentic on January 25, 1917.
As most of the men who were on board were members of the Royal Navy Reserve, they were mostly from coastal fishing communities from many nations and this Forum is a fitting memorial to them.
From these humble grassroots beginnings, the Laurentic Forum and associated conference was formed. The conference has grown organically over the years, gaining interest across Ireland, the North Atlantic, Canada and beyond.
By working with key strategic stakeholders in the Northwest of Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and new partners this year in North Norway and Iceland, the Laurentic Forum has become a truly unique pan-Atlantic collaborative process. The forum’s success has largely been accredited to adherence to a strong ethos and application of the quadruple helix philosophy by engaging with the four main sectors of society (education, private, public and community sectors).
The Laurentic Forum provides a unique opportunity for all participants. This is facilitated by involvement from a diverse group of participating partners including regional councils, governments, governmental agencies, NGOs, private sector practitioners, community groups and educational institutions. The forum enables representatives from four Peripheral Atlantic regions to come together to explore best practice through shared learning.
The Laurentic Forum is formed with two sub committees, these include a group focused on Tourism and a group focused the Blue Economy. Each subcommittee acts independently and is made up of regional stakeholders from the four partner areas and meet monthly virtually to discuss the various facets of these themes in the four North Atlantic regions.
The results of these discussions and developments then lead to a choice of themes, topics, and speakers for presentation at an Annual Conference held each autumn.
This is a very special year for the Laurentic Forum as they celebrate the participation and contributions of their new partners from North Norway and Iceland.
This year’s conference will focus on the thematic themes of sustainable tourism and the value of the blue economy to our coastal communities and is free to attend.
To find out more information and to register go to our website http://laurenticforum.com
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