At the Nexus between Reducing Inequality and Realizing Global Citizenship: Bristol, A Global City.

Author:Rees, Marvin
Position:Global Citizenship issue

As a historic trading city, Bristol, United Kingdom, has always looked outwards and connected globally Of course, we are not alone in this. In this globalized age, all cities in the world interact with places beyond their national boundaries. But in Bristol, we are set on understanding both the local and the global, ensuring that a mentality of global citizenship brings increased equality across the whole of the city.

A port city in the South West of the United Kingdom, Bristol is home to nearly half a million people. Between them, our citizens share 180 countries of origin, speak over 90 languages and practice at least 45 religions. Our modern business sectors, particularly in media, finance, green technology, aerospace and the creative industries, are intrinsically linked to nations and economies outside of the United Kingdom. Our two universities attract thousands of international students and academic staff, and partner in research and innovation projects with institutions around the world.

I became Mayor of Bristol in 2016, the first directly elected European Mayor of African descent. I have a Jamaican father, a Welsh-English heritage mother and an American wife. My sister is married to a Swiss man and my brother's wife is of British Indian heritage. My mixedness, and that of my family, gives me a global identity that is all at once multidimensional, dynamic and secure.

It is an experience of identity that I find much easier to reconcile with the dynamism of my city than that of the one-dimensional debates of identity that happen in national political institutions. It is one of the reasons I support the move to ensure that the voices of cities feature more prominently in global leadership forums.


Bristol is a thriving city with an international reputation as a sustainable, innovative and culturally diverse place. It wins national polls for being the most liveable city in the United Kingdom, receives European awards for its green credentials, and is recognized internationally for innovation.

As Mayor, I am proud that Bristol is a City of Sanctuary, working with organizations to support refugees and asylum seekers, and that we are the first United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Learning City in England, a Fairtrade City and in 2015 were the first European Green Capital in the United Kingdom. I am proud that in 2016, 62 per cent of the citizens...

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