The British Council and International Newcastle launched the first UK city-focused Internationalism Alliance with a digital seminar, bringing together representatives from the youth sector in Newcastle and the North East to discuss international and intercultural opportunities for children and young people.
Both the British Council and International Newcastle believe that all children and young people need diverse connections and skills, within their communities and internationally, to build a better future for themselves and for the UK. We have been working closely with the Prince’s Trust to build a national alliance that will champion international and intercultural experiences for children and young people, advocate for increased opportunities for international learning, and work together to build resources to support high-quality international experience. We also seek to develop partnerships within UK cities and Newcastle has established the first UK citywide alliance, bringing together local partners from across the formal and non-formal youth sector, as well as cultural institutions.
We believe that interconnectedness will be increasingly important for children and young people as we move through these challenging times and it is important now more than ever to bring together our expertise to empower young people and provide them with the life-changing potential of experiencing cultures and communities different from their own.
During the seminar we discussed what existing opportunities there are in the city to connect young people to the wider world, how this might change post Covid-19, and how we can better work together to enhance both these opportunities and, crucially, young people’s agency. One of the main outcomes that we all took away was the importance of breaking siloed ways of working and creating new models of collaboration; it was agreed that change happens much more effectively when we work together.
Both the National and the Newcastle Alliances will continue to bring new partners in and routinely meet to look at progress and work on priority areas. One of the main challenges that we all face is reaching less advantaged children and young people and addressing the disparity in opportunities available to them. It will take all our collective effort to ensure we play a role in this and influence policy changes.