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A group of international students holding flags at a civic reception event

In October 2022, representatives from Durham’s international student community were invited to attend a special civic welcome event, hosted by the Rt Worshipful Mayor of Durham, Cllr David Freeman and Chair of Durham County Council, Cllr Beaty Bainbridge.

The event, held at Durham Town Hall, welcomed new international students to the city and into the community of 6000+ international students from over 120 countries who travel to Durham to study. Highlights included a procession by the city’s civic leaders and a presentation of the Mayoral bodyguard, a team of 15 dating back to 1602. The Mayor of Durham is the only Mayor outside the City of London who has a mayoral bodyguard of this kind (though similar mayoral or civic processions also continue elsewhere).

The Mayoral bodyguard stands to attentionThe Mayoral Bodyguard prepares to meet Durham's new international students

The University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor (Global) Professor Claire O’Malley joined the Mayor and Chairman of the Council in extending a warm welcome to students and introduced them to the work of Durham Global Alliance, a partnership between the  University, County Council and cultural, sports and business partners, with a joint mission to provide international opportunities for young people.

Claire O'Malley standing at a lecturn addressing a room full of people at the civic welcome for International studentsProfessor Claire O'Malley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Global, welcoming new international students

Prof. Claire O’Malley says:

“I would like to extend a very warm welcome to all of our international students. We are very fortunate that you have come here, to enrich the cultural life of the University and our wider community.

"We live in a globalised, interconnected world and it is more important than ever that young people, wherever they are, have a better understanding of the world we live in and become active global citizens.

Students were also introduced to the best the city and wider region have to offer, through special presentations from Visit Durham, The Auckland Project and the University’s own Volunteering team.

An image taken from the back of the room showing an audience listening to a talk at the welcome for International studentsStudents in the impressive Durham Town Hall, listening to welcome talks

The event culminated in tea and refreshments in the lantern room, and an opportunity for photographs and networking between the students and special guests.

The Mayor and some of his bodyguard standing with some studentsThe Mayor with members of the Mayoral Bodyguard posing with new international students

Over 3000 new international students arrived in Durham this year, and they form a vital part of Durham’s vibrant and diverse student body. In March 2023, Durham University will launch the first Durham Global Week, when we will celebrate, recognise and learn from the international, multilingual, and multicultural diversity that defines us as an internationally-leading global university.

Find out more