Europe Gets 'Closer To Belfast'

Northern Ireland's young people are to get the chance to increase their knowledge about other European countries, writes Carla Liébana.

The opportunity comes through a programme of activities that will feature in the sixth edition of 'Opportunity Europe Fair & Exhibition', which was inaugurated yesterday in St. George's Market, Belfast.

Over two days, schoolchildren from across Northern Ireland are enjoying showcases prepared to offer them a taste of European culture.

This year, the event organized by Belfast City Council's European and the European Commission Office in NI, has underlined the number of links between NI and the rest of Europe.

NI is receiving a considerable amount of people from another countries who have chosen to establish their life here.

Considering this enriching situation, the purpose is also to promote this connection - but in the opposite direction.

For this reason, the exhibition has offered a lot of information to encourage young people to work, study, volunteer or just to and travel around the continent.
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In fact, the NI Culture Minister Nelson McCausland - who is pictured here enjoying the opening event - said encouraging people to learn foreign languages is vital "in order to prepare them for life in the global economy".

Meanwhile, Maurice Maxwell, Head of the European Commission Office in NI, stated that the European Union has a significant impact on life here and that 'Opportunity Europe' allows young people "to gain an insight into whit Europe means for them".

The schedule included different activities such as salsa dancing, a range of food stalls offering the continental flavor and the opportunity to practice new languages, as well as other activities about diverse fields.

Running from 10 am to 2 pm, it is also offering varied workshops themed around animation, gaming and graphic design, under the theme 'Creativity and Innovation',

Councillor William Humphrey, Chairman of Belfast City Council's Development Committee, commented that even in its sixth year "the organizing team continues to add a new dimension to the diverse programme on offer".

A short story Schools Competition promoting local young people write about a European city was also opened to all post-primary schools, offering as a prize an aeronautical 'day out' thanks to Opportunity Europe partner Bombardier Aerospace.


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