Conference 2020

Fanad Lighthouse, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Conference 2020

Cape Spear Lighthouse, Newfoundland and Labroador, Canada.

Conference 2020

Fanad Lighthouse, Donegal, Ireland

Conference 2020

Point Amour Lighthouse, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

Conference 2020

Inishtrahull lighthouse, Inishtrahull, Co Donegal

Conference 2020

Bay Bulls Lighthouse, East Coast trail, Avalon, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Conference 2020

Arranmore Island, Co. Donegal

Conference 2020

Bona Vista Eastern Lighthouse, Newfoundland and Larador, Canada.

Conference 2020

Cape Race Lighthouse, Avalon, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Conference 2020

Greencastle Lighthouse, County Donegal

Conference 2020

Rose Banche Lighthouse, Newfoundand and Labrador, Canada


The Ulster Canada Initiative will be hosting our 12th annual Laurentic Forum virtually this year, but it is still packed with interesting experts, discussion and content. The overarching theme for the Forum is set around Sustaining Coastal Communities and will run on November 10th. 12th 17th & 19th, 2020. We’ll be working in collaboration with regional stakeholders such as Inishowen Development Partnership, Udaras na Gaeltachta, ERNACT, Donegal County Council, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Bord Iascaigh Mhara and Failte Ireland.

Together with our Newfoundland partners such as the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, ACOA, the Marine Institute of NL, Centre for Social Enterprise at Memorial University of Newfoundland, the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation, The Municipality of Port Rexton.

We have chosen the icon of a lighthouse as a key symbol in our logo because of what it represents around the world—a beacon of hope to coastal communities. For centuries these guiding lights have withstood the elements in order to ensure safe passage, pointing the way to a secure future. we hope that the Laurentic Forum can help to do the same.

 This conference is free to attend with compliments of the Laurentic Forum and sponsors.

Conference Agenda

(Click on dates below for further information)

Online Conference Begins








November 10th – 10:30-12:30 (NST) / 14:00-16:00 (GMT) ===== Overview of the EU Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme for 2021 with potential Collaboration with Atlantic Canada

Official Opening of the Laurentic Forum & an Overview of the EU Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme for 2021 with potential Collaboration with Atlantic Canada


Moderator – Shauna McClenaghan – Joint CEO of Inishowen Development Partnership.

· Opening Address by Cllr Rena Donaghy – Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council

· Charlie McConalogue, T,D Minister of Agriculture, Food and Marine, for the Republic of Ireland.

· Province of Newfoundland and Labrador -Speaker TBC

· Christopher Parker, Program Manager for the EU Northern Periphery and Arctic Program.

· Manuel Hackett, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

· Q&A Session

November 12th – 10:30-12:30 (NST) / 14:00-16:00 (GMT) ===== Digital Hubs & Social Enterprise: Advancing remote work in rural communities

Theme – Digital Hubs & Social Enterprise: Advancing remote work in rural communities

Modern technology is seen as bearing the potential to allow people to work anywhere, including from rural communities. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought discussions of remote work to the forefront and amplified interest in how it could revitalise rural economies and reverse outmigration.

Through this session we’ll hear how the spaces provided by digital and entrepreneurial hubs and the innovations of social enterprises in rural parts of Ireland and Newfoundland are paving the way for a paradigm shift. Speakers in the session bring diverse and complementary perspectives on the making remote work work for rural communities.

Moderator: Nicole Helwig, General Manager of the Centre for Social Enterprise, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

· Tracey Keogh, Co Founder of Growremote, (Winner of the Social Enterprise of the Year Award in Ireland for 2019)

· Maria Gallagher, Donegal County Council – An overview on their consultation Remote Working Development Strategy.

· Colin Corcoran, Founder of St Mary’s Bay Connect and CFO of the Genesis Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

· Adrian Begley, Arranmore Island Council and Director of the Modem, Arranmore Island’s Digital Hub.

· Carolyn Wakeham, Community Ecosystem Innovation Coordinator, The Commons in Bonavista, NL, Canada

Q&A Session

November 17th – 10:30-12:30 (NST) / 14:00-16:00 (GMT) ===== Opportunities and Challenges in The Blue Economy

Theme – Opportunities and Challenges in The Blue Economy

Moderator- Robert Verge, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation.

· Dr Mark White, Economic Development Officer for Udaras na Gaeltacht, an overview on the Blue Economy

· Diane Hollett, Founder and CEO of the Newfoundland Seaweed Company.

· Donegal Hydro Harvesting LTD. (a start-up algae farming company in Inishowen, Co Donegal)

· John Andy Bonar, Vice President for Research, Equality and External Affairs at Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) and Kevin Anderson Head of the School of Fisheries at the Marine Institute, Memorial University of Newfoundland. A joint presentation on the role of education & research institutions feeding into industry and the community to drive economic development

· Derek Butler, Executive Director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Seafood Producers and Richard Donnelly from Bord Iascaigh Mhara (The Irish Seafood Development Agency) a joint presentation on the current challenges facing the seafood sector in light of Covid-19

· Paul Lansbergen President of the Fisherieries Council of Canada will present an overview of Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy 2040, A combined policy development strategy between the Fisheries Council of Canada and the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance


Q&A Session

November 19th – 10:30-12:30 (NST) / 14:00-16:00 (GMT) ===== Tourism during a time of Covid

Theme – Tourism during a time of Covid

Covid-19 is bringing challenges and opportunities for the tourism sector and business must react and pivot to attract new and retain old customers.

Discussion of market insights, how business must attract the domestic market as against traditionally focusing overseas. Visitor expectations before, during and after their visit. Ensuring safety and confidence among customers and staff. Newfoundland & Labrador and Donegal are known for wide open spaces, sparse population, uncrowded destinations, this is what people are looking for now.


Moderator- Meadbh Seoighe, Tourism Development Officer for Údarás na Gaeltachta

Email/online facilitator: Máire Ní Fhearraigh, Donegal Tourism


Topic 1 : Destination Response to Covid – Marketing (20 minutes)

Government Speakers:

· Joan Crawford, Fáilte Ireland – Insights on markets – Wild Atlantic Way

· Andrea Peddle, Director of Tourism, Marketing and Visitor Services, Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism, Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation –- Tourism Strategy “Inside Out”


Topic 2: Destination response to Covid – Health and Safety (20 minutes)

· Joan Crawford, Fáilte Ireland – Covid Safety Charter – implementation & promotion

· Craig Foley, CEO Hospitality, Newfoundland and Labrador – Doing it Right Program


Topic 3: Business Experience & The COVID Pivot (30 minutes

· Sonja Mills, Port Rexton Brewery, Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada)

· Michael Gatherall and Joe O’Brien: Gatherall’s and O’Brien’s Boat Tours Collaboration Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada)

· Margaret Cunningham (Glencolmcille folk Village), Co Donegal, Ireland

· Killian McLaughlin, Wild Ireland, Burnfoot, Co, Donegal, Ireland

Q&A Session: 30 minutes followed by Wrap Up.


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The Laurentic Forum is organised and facilitated by the Ulster Canada Initiative with funding, sponsorship and support from the following organisations: