An Evening with Antrim and Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland

  • 17 Nov 2022
  • 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
  • University Building, 92 W. Vaughn Ave, Gilbert, AZ 85233



An Evening with Antrim and Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland

With Mayor Stephen Ross and Majella McAlister

Moderated by Keith Brown, Director of the ASU Melikian Center

Northern Ireland is a beautiful part of the world known for its rolling green hills and large, impressive castles. Antrim and Newtownabbey is one of the largest and most prosperous cities in Northern Ireland and home to the second busiest airport on the island, Belfast International. Antrim and Newtownabbey rebounded strongly from the great recession and now post-BREXIT looks to increase international trade and industry.

Join us for an evening with Alderman Stephen Ross, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey; Majella McAlister, Director of Economic Development and Planning for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, and Q&A moderated by Keith Brown, Director of the ASU Melikian Institute, as they discuss the benefits of reaching out to global partners, such as Gilbert, Arizona, on issues of international diplomacy, trade, and economic development despite the challenges and instabilities of Northern Ireland.


PCFR Members and Town of Gilbert Invited Guests Only

Complimentary Registration



Thursday, November 17, 2022

5:30 pm - Reception & Check-In

6:30 pm - Program



University Building

92 W. Vaughn Ave

Gilbert, AZ 85233

Thank You to Our Program Sponsors






Alderman Stephen Ross

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey

Alderman Ross has lived in the Borough all his life and has faithfully served the Threemilewater area since first being elected to Council in 2014.

Chair of the Peace IV Partnership and former Chair of Council’s Community Planning Committee, Alderman Ross plays an active role in a number of local community groups.

Before getting involved in politics, Stephen was self-employed and took a special interest in helping his local community, especially in interface areas, through the Special European Union Programmes Body (SEUPB) and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland. He worked with disadvantaged young people and ex-prisoners to help them engage and move forward and play a positive role in an inclusive society.

Since taking up his role in council he has worked closely with community-based organisations to help deliver a community plan for the Antrim and Newtownabbey Council area in partnership with a large range of statutory and stakeholder bodies.


Majella McAlister

Director of Economic Development and Planning,

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council

Majella was appointed Director of Economic Development and Planning for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council in 2018 having previously held the post of Director of Community Planning.

Majella has responsibility for leading the implementation of the Council’s Economic Development Strategy, prioritising key initiatives which will drive inclusive economic growth along with the social and physical development and regeneration of the Borough.

The Planning function is well placed in this Directorate which is also responsible for the production of the new Local Development Plan.

Majella has a wealth of experience accumulated regionally in senior economic development and community development roles in various Councils and EU Funded programmes. She was lead officer for the Council on the major capital scheme for the Valley Park Shared Space Project.



Keith Brown

Director, Melikian Center:

Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies at Arizona State University

Keith Brown is Director of the Melikian Center at Arizona State University, recently recognized by the Department of Education as a National Resource Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies.

He is an anthropologist whose work focuses on the Western Balkans. He was born in Northern Ireland, grew up in England, did his PhD in Chicago, and has since lived and worked in Maine, Wales, Washington DC, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and North Macedonia, before moving to Arizona in 2017. His most recent international experience was a 12-month fellowship at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies in Finland, from August 2021-August 2022.

Exploring Leading Foreign Policy Issues


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