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As Black Lives Matter protests spread around the world this summer, Bristol emerged as a focal point for the movement in the United Kingdom, with activists removing the city's statue of a slave trader. The collision of the local with the global is nothing new to Bristol’s Marvin Rees, the first elected mayor of Black African heritage in Europe and a strong champion of cities’ role on the global stage.
During his term, Mayor Rees developed a One City Plan for Bristol, which incorporated the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into plans for a fair, healthy, and sustainable city by 2050. Bristol is not alone; cities are playing an increasing role in policy debates about climate change, migration and other issues.
In this edition of The World Today, Mayor Rees will discuss how and why city leaders must be included in the international negotiations that directly impact cities, in conversation with the University of Pennsylvania's Eugenie Birch. He will also touch on Bristol’s approach to supporting migrants in becoming active members of the local community, outline how migrants’ links to other urban centers around the world can support the city’s international connectivity and outlook as part of #BristolGlobalCity, and draw on his experiences with global networks like the Mayors’ Migration Council and C40.
Sign up for this virtual event, and details of how to take part will be in your order confirmation email.
Marvin Rees was elected Mayor in May 2016 and Bristol became first major European city to have an elected mayor of Black African heritage. His working life began at Tearfund, before working with Sojourners in Washington, D.C. and President Clinton’s advisor, Dr. Tony Campolo. On returning to the U.K. he was a broadcast journalist at BBC Bristol, worked at the Black Development Agency supporting the BME-led voluntary sector, and worked on delivering race equality in mental health with NHS Bristol’s Public Health team. He holds two Master’s Degrees in Political Theory and Government and in Global Economic Development. During his first term in office he has delivered over 8,000 homes, announced the development of a mass transit system, provided quality work experience for over 3,500 children, developed the One City Plan, successfully bid to bring Channel 4 to Bristol, and is leading the city’s response to both the climate and ecological emergencies.
Eugenie Birch is the Lawrence C. Nussdorf Chair of Urban Research and Education and is a faculty lead for the Global Shifts: Migration, Urbanization, and Demography research theme at Perry World House. She teaches courses in planning history and global urbanization, serves as chair of the Graduate Group in City and Regional Planning, and is founding co-director of the Penn Institute for Urban Research. She was the chair of U.N.-HABITAT's World Urban Campaign (WUC, 2014-2016) and is currently the president of the General Assembly of Partners, the engagement platform that facilitated multiparty stakeholder contributions to Habitat III.