Over 100 Liberal and Progressive Democratic Parties gather in Belfast to discuss “Our Shared Future”

The world network of liberal and democratic parties will meet in Belfast, Northern Ireland from 15-17 May, 2008 to discuss the theme of “Our Shared Future” and the three sub-themes: “For a non-violent society”, “For an inclusive society” and “For a society where we all can live”. The meeting, which marks the world body’s 55th Congress will, amongst other things, call for a reflection on the goals of the liberal network worldwide regarding such issues as terrorism, global migration, and climate change.

According to LI President, John, Lord Alderdice: “There is of course profound symbolism in holding the LI Congress in the Europa Hotel. It was once the most bombed hotel in the world, but became the setting for US President Bill Clinton, and leading politicians from Britain and Ireland to set Northern Ireland on the road to peace and economic prosperity. Last month Northern Ireland celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, but its importance is not to be found in looking back at the past, but in applying its lessons at home and elsewhere. It is no accident that last week saw Northern Irish and South African politicians meeting with Iraqi parliamentarians to assist them in finding a way forward, and this week I will return again to the Middle East where our work is also finding resonances with, and giving some hope to the political leaders of divided communities there.”

The Congress is being hosted by the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, a party which was one of the key architects of the Good Friday Agreement under the leadership of Lord Alderdice.

According to current leader, David Ford: “I am looking forward to sharing global experiences on good relations at the Liberal International Congress. Hosting this event is a great opportunity for Belfast and we can demonstrate that Northern Ireland is open for business.” The report on the theme of the Congress, which is “Our Shared Future”, will be tabled for discussion by over 100 political parties, heads of state and government, parliamentarians and world renowned experts and academics. Delegates from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America Latin America and the Middle East will call on governments to adopt a more progressive policy in dealing with the issues that are affecting our world. They will also place emphasis on ways to bring the poorest countries into the discussion.

The Congress will also discuss Global Migration, Conflict Prevention, and Innovative Sources of Energy.

Full information can be found on the LI website: www.liberal-international.org. The Congress will take place at the Hotel Europa in Belfast, Great Victoria Street, City Centre, Belfast, BT2 7AP.

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