This weekend was the first ever Icons festival in Belfast. Icons is a global event where the icons of today can come together to inspire the icons of tomorrow. It takes place over four days and combines all elements of the creative industries (tech, music and screen). PPI-NI board member Jim Fitzpatrick is the co-founder and organiser of the festival, that helped more than 50 startups introduce themselves to a larger audience and expand their brand. One of the themes of the weekend was encouraging entrepreneurship and progress in the tech world, to help move the country forward. A multitude of domestic and international speakers took the stage to speak about the industry’s ability to impact social change by providing education opportunities, inspiration for innovation and most importantly, jobs.
One of the keynote speakers at the festival was Public Enemy’s Chuck D. Known for his socially and politically conscious hip-hop music in the 1980’s and 90’s, he brought elements of his music to the festival, and applied it to his speeches and presence throughout the weekend. During his time in Belfast, he wanted to learn more about the history of the city, and spend time with youth from different communities. What better organisation to turn to than PeacePlayers International-Northern Ireland! Last Thursday, Chuck D met the Junior Champions 4 Peace, project coordinator, Joanne Fitzpatrick and managing director, Gareth Harper at The Peace Wall on Cupar Way in West Belfast. During the meeting, Chuck told the kids how proud he was of their courage to challenge social norms, how special it was for them to come together as a group, and even sang 6 year member of PeacePlayers Anna Hinchcliffe a birthday tune!
Throughout the weekend, PeacePlayers continued to engage with local businesses both new and old, and conversed about each of their roles in moving the society forward. At PeacePlayers, our goal is to create societal assets that will provide the path to a more united community. This is a goal that was shared by many of the companies at the Icons festival. When you invest in people, there is no limit to the success that is possible, which was without a doubt shown this weekend at the festival!