Manchester-China Friendship Programme students meet the Lord Mayor of Manchester

On April 17, the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Donna Ludford, hosted a fruitful discussion with our Manchester-China Friendship Programme (MCFP) students and organisers at Manchester’s Central Library. The event was an opportunity for MCFP students to share their experiences in the scheme and ask direct questions to the Lord Mayor, while enjoying an afternoon tea together.

The MCFP was launched in 2021 by Manchester China Institute (MCI) and Manchester China Forum (MCF), with support from the University of Manchester, aiming to help integrate new Chinese students into campus life, while simultaneously enriching the campus experience for local students. Now in its second edition, the scheme includes 40 UK-based “host” students and 60 newly-arrived Chinese students that engage in regular exciting events, seeking to break cultural barriers and develop mutual understanding between British and Chinese students.

Meeting the Lord Mayor was a chance to address the challenges faced by Chinese students across Manchester, and to spark a larger conversation about further positive Sino-British cultural exchanges. The Lord Mayor was highly receptive to the student’s concerns and proposals, as the MCFP looks to initiate a potential mentorship scheme between MCFP participants and school students across Greater Manchester. Seeing the programme’s achievements recognised on an administrative level is particularly important at a time when anti-Asian prejudice and discrimination has increased in the UK and around the world.

UoM Politics & Chinese student and Senior Host with the MCFP, Sol Stappard, emphasised the importance of the scheme at the event.

As I sat listening to the Lord Mayor speak, I was reminded of the true essence of the Manchester-China Friendship Program - sharing culture, coming together, and breaking down barriers. It was a privilege to sit among the friends I've made through this program over the past year, reflecting on our achievements and looking forward to our future. I feel incredibly grateful and privileged to have had the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful community that embodies the values of unity and perseverance and I look forward to continuing to work together to build stronger bonds between the UK and China.