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With the generous support of the Savoy Educational Trust, eight student ambassadors from the Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management will arrive in Transylvania (Romania) on 3 May, to embark on a transformative learning and development experience focused on the regenerative power of the hospitality sector to empower communities, revive urban and rural places, and repair ecologic systems.

The students showcasing their talents on the international stage are Adam Graham, Andrea Gorman, John Bull, Laura Graham, Lisa Quinn, Lewis Rogers, Caoimhe Hamilton and Florence Jones.

During the Summit, the students will participate in discussions with over thirty leading thinkers and practitioners who are driving positive change in international hospitality and tourism, including Bill Reed, co-founder of the Boston-based consultancy Regenesis; Anna Pollock, renowned hospitality and tourism strategist; Marta Domenech, Director General of Tourism for Catalonia; Skye Gyngell, Executive Chef and visionary behind Heckfield Place and Spring; and, from closer to home, Michele Shirlow, Chief Executive of Food NI.

Together, they will consider the need for hospitality businesses to go beyond established approaches to sustainability and to operate in harmony with the living systems off which they are a part.

The Summit marks the start of a new annual volunteering project, run in partnership with the Ratiu Family Charitable Foundation, exclusively for Hospitality and Culinary Arts Management students from Ulster University.

Dr Laura Wells, Lecturer in Hospitality Management (Marketing), explains:

Our new annual volunteering programme serves numerous different functions. It will give students invaluable international experience, focus their minds on the value of ‘active citizenship’ and place them in a challenging professional context, where the application of their skills has real-life consequences. The location of the volunteering programme, Casa Ratiu, now run as a successful social enterprise, is unique and significant in the recent political and cultural history of Romania, which we hope will provide further inspiration to our talented team of students.

Students will also take on key roles in planning, executing and hosting the summit to deliver a memorable experience for delegates.  They will work alongside renowned figures such as TV chef Romy Gill MBE and Oxford Cultural Collective Patron Paul Bloomfield to ensure the success of the Summit. This distinctive learning experience will help develop leadership attributes that are valued in the world of hospitality.

Through interaction with delegates, students will have the opportunity to build their own professional networks.

Laura Graham, 2nd Year International Hospitality Management Student, adds:

“Participating in the Regenerative Hospitality Summit is an immense privilege. As a student volunteer, I'm grateful for the chance to work alongside those who are shaping the future of our sector.”