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Harlem Globe-swotters bank on Manchester experience

14 Aug 2007

The University of Manchester is hosting a group of teenagers from Harlem this week, allowing them to experience life at a top UK university.

The 22 American students (14 girls 8 boys) are from the Double Discovery Centre at Columbia University, which helps talented secondary school pupils from disadvantaged urban backgrounds to prepare for higher education. For many of these US visitors, aged 15-17, it will be the first time they have ever travelled beyond the boundaries of their New York City borough.

Manchester's link with Columbia was made through a staff study visit to the Council for Opportunity in Education in the summer of 2006.

The University of Manchester has a long tradition of opening up opportunities for higher learning among groups underrepresented in higher education. Manchester aims to be the UK's most accessible research intensive institution by 2015, by working with individuals who have the potential to succeed at University, but for a variety of reasons, may not have considered higher education a possibility.

Manchester has already placed two student ambassadors, James Waygood (Law) and Nargis Patel (Medicine), at Columbia for the past seven weeks, working on the residential aspect of the TRIO programmes. During the trip to Manchester, James and Nargis will serve as student ambassadors on behalf of the Double Discovery Centre students.

During their stay in Manchester, the New York students will meet staff at the Bank of New York in Manchester city centre, many of whom completed their degrees at The University of Manchester. The Bank of New York is also a sponsor of the Double Discovery Centre at Columbia.

Julian Skyrme, Head of Widening Participation at The University of Manchester, said: "We are delighted to be the host for this visit of students from Columbia University's Scholars programme. As two of the leading universities in the world, we share similar values in supporting all talented youth to progress into university, regardless of background. We are looking forward to showing them the best of what opportunities there are in Manchester - academically, culturally and in the world of work, and we hope their visit to the University and the Bank of New York will inspire them to aim high."

Olger C. Twyner, executive director of Columbia's Double Discovery Centre, said: "This wonderful cultural exchange will certainly be an enlightening experience for these young people and broaden their perspective on the size and scope of the world they live in. Part of our mission at Double Discovery is to provide opportunities for young people to be able to visualize their own capacity to become leaders in the world."

The visiting students are predominantly African-American and Latino 15- to 17-year olds, from low-income and under-resourced communities throughout New York City.

Notes to Editors:
The students will be in Manchester from August 13-21
For more information about the Double Discovery Centre visit

Further information:
To arrange interviews or photographs of the students, please contact:
Jon Keighren, Media Relations Manager, The University of Manchester, on 0161 275 8384
Victoria Benitez Public Affairs Officer Columbia University on 212-854-6732 or email