Future international leaders from across world gather in Leeds as part of two-day visit

Leeds, Leeds Star

Future international leaders from around the world arrived in Leeds this week to find out more about the innovative work being undertaken by the council and partners in the city.

Hailing from countries as far and wide as South Africa, Chile, Mongolia, Lebanon, India and the USA, delegates attended a range of seminars and events which were organised as part of a visit from the Foreign Commonwealth Office’s International Leaders programme.

During their two-day stay in Leeds, visitors were given the opportunity to visit a variety of high-profile projects and listen to key city and international representatives and experts encompassing three different themes; regeneration and inward investment; children’s services and restorative practice and community engagement and impact of flooding. Activities included a walking tour of the South Bank which is one of the city’s key regeneration projects and meetings with the principal of the Leeds College of Building, Ian Billyard, director of Duke Studios, Laura Wellington and director of Creative Space Management, Paul Taylor. A comprehensive networking event on restorative practice attended by senior Leeds City Council officers and leading professors from around the world was also provided. This linked in to a wider international restorative practice conference also being held by the authority this week.

Following a visit to west Leeds to see how the council and community is continuing to meet the continued challenges of flooding together, the visit was concluded by a meeting with Leeds City Council leader Cllr Judith Blake and chief executive Tom Riordan.

Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake, said:

“We were very honoured that the Foreign Office chose to bring their International Leaders programme to Leeds to look at the ground-breaking, innovative work we’re currently doing. Despite the many challenges that exist, we are moving forward with a real sense of purpose and ambition to become a city which in developing a strong economy is also compassionate and somewhere which offers opportunity to all. The chance to outline our vision and the range of innovative work going on to future leaders from countries right across the world was an opportunity we did not want to miss.

“I hope during their stay they gained a real feel for what Leeds represents as a city and what we are striving for both economically and socially to make a real difference to people’s lives. From our perspective, it also provided a window for us to learn about the work they are undertaking in their respective countries in different sectors and areas which was extremely valuable.”