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NewsAndy Burnham champions leading role of city-regions on global stage at Manchester...

Andy Burnham champions leading role of city-regions on global stage at Manchester Consular Association’s 140th Anniversary Gala Dinner

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has spoken on the importance of “real practical relationships” and how non-capital cities “can play a key role and step forward to lead on international relations” at the Manchester Consular Association’s (MCA) 140th Annual Gala Dinner at Manchester Art Gallery.

Hosted by current MCA president Jo Ahmed, partner at Deloitte and the Honorary Consul of Japan, Burnham spoke to an audience that included the labour leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Bev Craig, Ambassador Hayashi of Japan as a guest of honour and several other dignitaries.

Andy Burnham said: “Greater Manchester has always been a place that did things differently. This was a city that refused to handle slave-picked cotton, that was international in its outlook back then and continues to be now.

“Going forward, cities – not just countries or capitals – can step up and play a leading role in international relations. The focus for us is on the people-to-people links, and in the real practical relationships that I hope we can continue to strengthen into 2023.

“The fact that Manchester has the longest-standing Consular Association reflects the strength of our city-region, and the Manchester Consular Association can be a force for good across Greater Manchester.”

Adding to Burnham’s thoughts, Councillor Bev Craig said: “Manchester is a global world class city – diverse and confident, speaking over 200 languages from all works of life and we wear it as a badge of honour”

Founded in 1882, the Manchester Consular Association is thought to be the oldest consular association in the world. Its membership includes officers and executives of institutions or bodies that promote trade, commercial, cultural, educational or scientific matters. It facilitates a community for consuls where they can gain knowledge, information and learning, and connect into the extensive network that each consul has.

Jo Ahmed was recently elected the MCA’s 3rd consecutive female president, but only the 4th in the association’s history.

Speaking at the dinner, Jo Ahmed said: “We are all too aware that we are in difficult economic times and I hope that the Manchester Consular Association can continue to work together and be a force for good in supporting communities across the region, as we are doing here this evening in raising funds for the Greater Manchester Mayor’s charity supporting homelessness initiatives across the city.

“Throughout the coming year I hope we can share stories of the great work of the Manchester Consular Association and the work across the communities of Greater Manchester to help promote that spirit of cooperation and understanding of Manchester’s multicultural heritage.”

Special guest Ambassador Hayashi of Japan said: “This is my fourth visit to Greater Manchester in the last year and it is so wonderful to see the strong collaborations being developed between Manchester and Japan. I am delighted that we have confirmed that Jo will continue to be Honorary Consul for a further five years.

“I really wish this wonderful city and community a wonderful and prosperous future”

News Desk
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