Founded in 1998, the North Atlantic Forum is a “collegial assembly” which builds on a network established by the North Atlantic Islands Program at the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada.

The conference provides the main networking event and focal point of communication for the extensive NAF network. The conference has been hosted in various North Atlantic regions. In addition to policy advisers, practitioners, and researchers from Ireland, these highly participatory conferences have drawn international contributors. The event features a combination of inspiring presentations on new development policy initiatives, and new and ongoing research, as well as a rich array of development practices.

The multi-day conference provides a very rich and highly resourced hands-on experience for policymakers, practitioners, community organizations and activists, social enterprises and local businesses, students, researchers, and others. Conference outcomes usually include a book, other publications, a rich wave of practitioner sharing and networking, student projects, and other initiatives.

The formal partners for the 2024 Irish conference are the host community Connemara West and the academic partner, Atlantic Technological University.


The objectives of the North Atlantic Forum relate to the imperative of integrating development policy, research, and practice. We hope to move beyond the rhetoric, which too often accompanies such intent, and integrate these into the real lived world of concrete and applied contexts of rural and remote communities, including those in island settings. Through ongoing communications, conferences, publications, workshops, and other initiatives, NAF promotes an iterative or recursive process whereby development policy is directly informed by practice and research, and research itself is informed by the realities and experiential knowledge of practice. And practice in the community is enriched and facilitated by insightful and relevant research, and evidence-based and informed policy. NAF is committed to and has served to enhance this three-way symbiotic relationship.

Conference 2024 Theme:

The overarching theme of the NAF Ireland 2024 conference is Sustainable Livelihoods: Regenerating Integrated Development through Innovative Communities.

Couched with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is the 2030 Agenda, adopted by all UN Member States in 2015. It sets out some 17 comprehensive and interrelated goals encompassing all aspects of life on our planet.

The conference theme situates rural communities, individually and as networks of communities, in the very real contemporary realities and challenges of the climate crisis, rapidly changing technologies (e.g., AI), shifting conditions of globalization, uncertain geopolitical developments, post-pandemic societal adjustments, evolving issues around food security, international migration, and more.

Ireland as a contextual envelope for this international event presents an extremely rich backdrop. As a young, growing society still in the process of rapid structural transformation, economically, culturally, socially, and otherwise, it is a product of both purposeful development policy (Lemass, Whittaker), radical societal change (e.g. abortion, same-sex marriage), and a relatively new active development planning culture (e.g., National Planning Framework; Project Ireland 2040) that is attempting to address systemic change (e.g., Climate Action Plan, 2023), including that of rural society, environments, and community (e.g., Our Rural Future – Rural Development Policy 2021-2025). Ireland’s intimate and trusted working relationship with fellow EU members in all aspects of rural development, and its comfort level in globalized contexts, presents a very appropriate and potentially productive opportunity for all participants.


  1. Harnessing and Creative Adapting of Advanced Technologies for Development
  2. Respectful and Creative Cultural Development and Economic Progress
  3. Social Equity and Inclusion in Economic Development
  4. Beyond the Rhetoric: Effective Implementation of Integrated Development
  5. “Failure”: Lessons and Regeneration Opportunities
  6. Creativity in Adapting and Leveraging External Policies and Programmes
  7. The Organization and Organizing for Integrated Development: Innovation in Design and Execution
  8. Innovation in Government and Governance in Regenerating Integrated Development
  9. Designing, Managing and Measuring Sustainability in the Climate Crisis
  10. Integration and Innovation in Food Security and Sustainability
  11. Migrants: Successful Reception and Integration
  12. Building a Well-being Economy

The deadline for submitting abstracts: 31 January 2024

How to submit an abstract:

We want to share stories and learn from each other. We encourage academic papers, panels, round-tables, posters, and non-traditional presentations (e.g., storytelling, interactive sessions) from all disciplines and perspectives, from researchers, professional practitioners, community activists, policy advisers, and others. We welcome submissions that look at the dynamics of integrative development for sustainable communities on a case-by-case or regional basis. We are also keen to engage with presentations that adopt a more comparative framework or methodology in their critical analysis. Abstracts of 150 words are now invited on any of the identified conference themes, identified above. These should be accompanied by the full name and institutional affiliation of the author/s.

Click here to submit an abstract: 2024 North Atlantic Forum Abstract Submission form (