A NEW alliance aims to strengthen international links and increase opportunities for young people to travel the world and learn about other cultures.

The Durham Global Alliance (DGA) will bring together organisations with a shared commitment to forging international friendships including Durham County Council, Durham University and Culture Durham – the three major partners in County Durham’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025, of which internationalism is an important part.

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 four to 30-tear-olds from across County Durham and include representatives from a wide range of organisations, including further education colleges, schools, arts groups, charities, the voluntary sector and industry.

Another key partner will be the British Council Internationalism Alliance, which aims to offer every young person from all backgrounds the chance 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.

Its launch included an events programme with an international focus, including Diwali and Lunar New Year events.

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.

Durham County Council leader Amanda 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.”

Professor Claire O’Malley, Pro-Vice Chancellor Global at Durham University, said: “The university has a long history of working with Durham County Council and other partners across the city and county to provide international opportunities for young people enabling them to flourish and compete in our globalised world.

"I am very pleased to see that that the DGA is being established to allow us to work together more effectively to deliver positive outcomes for the young people in our communities.”

To find out more about the DGA, visit www.internationaldurham.com/

The Durham 2025 campaign aims to secure the prestigious title of UK City of Culture 2025 for the whole of County Durham.

Earlier this month, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced County Durham was one of eight places to make it onto the longlist.

To find out more about the campaign, leave messages of support or submit ideas, visit www.durham2025.co.uk

For the latest news, follow @Durham2025 on Facebook, @Durham_2025 on Twitter and @Durham2025_ on Instagram.