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Student Thanksgiving Celebration at Queen’s

Staff and students at Queen’s University Belfast recently celebrated Thanksgiving with a special dinner in the Great Hall.

Staff and Students at Thanksgiving dinner
Current USA students pictured with US Consul General James Applegate (centre) and Professor Margaret Topping (right)

Staff, students and special guests from the USA and Canada came together on Thanksgiving (23 November) to mark the US public holiday. This annual celebration has become a highlight in the University’s international calendar and 2023 saw the largest gathering to date with 150 guests gathering to share food, music and reflections on the year. Many use the Thanksgiving holiday as a day to reflect on the positive things in life and spend time with family and friends. 

Guests were hosted by Queen’s University alum, Emer Maguire, and enjoyed a special musical performance by the Belfast Ukelele Jam. The US Consul General, James Applegate was the guest of honour at the Thanksgiving event. Mr Applegate gave a short speech highlighting that the Belfast Consulate was the second oldest US Consulate in operation in the world and that the ties between Northern Ireland and the United States are both historic and vibrant.  

Students in the Great Hall
The Great Hall provided a majestic setting for dinner

A highlight of the evening for many was the much-anticipated Thanksgiving pie. Local trader, ‘Pie Queen’, prepared three artisanal pies for the occasion – pumpkin, apple and pecan. 

Professor Margaret Topping, Pro Vice Chancellor for Global Engagement, at Queen’s University Belfast said:

“2023 has been a phenomenal year here at Queen’s and one in which our US relationships have been prominent. It is heartening for us to see that our ties to the USA continue to develop and grow stronger every year. This annual Thanksgiving event is really about celebrating and giving thanks for our American students, partners and friends. Each year, we look forward to this moment of coming together for reflection on all that we have individually and collectively to be thankful for.”  

Queen’s University Belfast has almost 300 students from the USA studying at the University on a range of undergraduate and graduate programmes.


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