Local school students write letters to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

Mon, 22 Feb 2021 11:10:00 GMT

This spring, the University's American Studies programme is asking UK school students in years 9-13 to write letters to the new US presidential administration as part of a competition.

The citizens of Manchester have form in writing consequential and historic letters to presidents of the United States. Taking inspiration from the letter that Manchester's cotton-workers sent to President Lincoln a century-and-a-half ago, pressing him to ensure ‘a complete uprooting of slavery’, this competition aims to identify young voices of tomorrow able to express global issues requiring redress today.

The competition will be judged by Professor Gary Younge (Sociology), Professor Angie Wilson (Politics) and Dr Andrew Fearnley (American Studies), and will close on April 30 - the eve of the administration's first ‘one hundred days’. The two best letters in each age category will be published on the university’s website and will receive book voucher prizes.

"Recent events illustrate how vital it is that we strive to understand the United States not as a caricature but a complex, powerful, and dynamic nation with potential and pathologies, like any other,” said Gary Younge. “It's never too early to learn that our lives are interconnected or to teach that, now more than ever, we need to think globally."

“If the past year told us anything, it is that young people in the UK, indeed around the world, are attentive to, and engaged with global politics,” said Andrew Fearnley. “The movements for racial justice that formed in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis, for example, have been global ones, and have resonated deeply in our society,”

“In a year when nations will come together at the UN Climate Change Conference, we need to listen carefully to what young people have to say about issues that cut across any one nation, and which require cooperation from many.”

For more information, visit the competition website.