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Manchester leads the UK for global engagement – new report launched by British Foreign Policy Group

1st March 2019

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A new report, Manchester: A Soft Power Entrepreneur, produced by the British Foreign Policy Group and launched today at HOME Manchester by Sir Richard Leese, Leader Manchester City Council claims Manchester is particularly well placed to succeed internationally thanks to its global outlook and innovative approach to nurturing and harnessing its global reputation in areas such as sport, tourism, education, music, science and innovation and culture.

Report author David Adam, a specialist in the international relations and soft power of cities, said “Manchester is disproportionately important to the UK’s place in the world precisely because it has always done things its own way -  blazing a trail for others to follow. In the context of Brexit and much else, Manchester now has to lead the way again by innovating in how it engages with international issues and attracts the investment, skills and relationships that are so vital to its success and that of the wider region’.

The new report claims that Manchester sits at critical point in defining its future trajectory as a ‘globally fluent city’. The report has been published by the non-partisan British Foreign Policy Group, with support and input from Manchester City Council, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Northern Powerhouse Partnership, amongst others. It recommends that for its international success to continue, Manchester must renegotiate its place within a changing region, wider UK and world. In the face of this considerable change, the city also must find ways to innovate whilst retaining the benefits of the success it has enjoyed thanks to long term consistent leadership in the face of wider uncertainty.

Tom Cargill, Executive Director of BFPG says, “Other cities across the UK would benefit from examining Manchester’s success, and Manchester might consider more proactively positioning itself as a national leader and champion for a globally engaged UK if it is to maintain and extend its success of recent years.”

The report benefits from a foreword from Sir Howard Bernstein, former chief executive of Manchester City Council, credited by many for the city’s resurgence, particularly through his long term partnership with current Council Leader Sir Richard Leese. Sir Howard says “There are complex regional and global political dynamics at play, not least Britain’s uncertain relationship with Europe. One of our strengths as a city is our ability to adapt and reinvent...so now is a good time for our city to reflect on where next....I hope this report will play a small role in provoking some of the discussions we need to continue writing the next chapter of Manchester.”

To read the full report please click here.

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