Strengthening international links and creating more opportunities for young people to travel the world and learn about other cultures are the key aims of a new alliance.
The Durham Global Alliance (DGA) will build upon the many connections that already exist in County Durham by bringing together organisations with a shared commitment to forging international friendships.
This includes Durham County Council, Durham University and Culture Durham – the three major partners driving forward County Durham’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025.
Internationalism is an important part of the Durham 2025 campaign and this reflects the partners’ long history of working together on international activities.
From the annual Chinese New Year celebrations, to joint projects with twinned communities in Germany, Russia, Denmark, Hungary, the USA and more – the aim is to bring people together, promote respect and enhance the lives of young people.
By forming the DGA, the partners will be able to coordinate activities more effectively and ensure the best use of combined resources, as well as being able to measure progress more comprehensively.
The DGA will primarily work with young people aged four to 30 from across County Durham. Its steering group will be made up of representatives from a wide range of organisations, including further education colleges, schools, arts groups, charities, the voluntary sector and industry, along with the council and university.
Another key partner will be the British Council Internationalism Alliance, which aims to offer every child and young person, whatever their background or interests, the opportunity to learn from and connect with other people in the UK and around the world.
The DGA was officially launched at a civic welcome event for international students at Durham Town Hall. This was hosted by the Mayor of Durham, Cllr Arnie Simpson, and the Chairman of Durham County Council, Cllr Watts Stelling.
International students from Durham University were in attendance, along with Professor Claire O’Malley, the university’s Pro-Vice Chancellor Global, Julia Handelman Smith, head of internationalism at the British Council, and Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council.
A programme of activities and events with an international focus, including celebrations to mark Diwali and the Lunar New Year, was also announced, and the DGA logo was unveiled. This was designed by Nathan Eddy from New College Durham as part of a competition for art and design students.
Cllr Hopgood said: “It’s so important that children and young people have a sense of pride in where they live, but also that they understand County Durham is part of a much bigger national and international community.
“By welcoming our international friends into County Durham, providing opportunities to travel and learning about other cultures, we can help our children grow up to be global citizens and enrich their lives in new and exciting ways. The DGA will ensure we can maximise these opportunities for the benefits of all our residents, but especially our young people.
“Internationalism is also a major focus of County Durham’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025, so if you have any ideas for international projects which could form part of the bid, we would be delighted to hear from you.”