Student's invitation secured US Ambassador's visit to Bradford

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Zeynab Ahmed with US Ambassador Matthew Barzun (right) and Professor Brian Cantor, vice-chancellor of Bradford University Zeynab Ahmed with US Ambassador Matthew Barzun (right) and Professor Brian Cantor, vice-chancellor of Bradford University

A Bradford woman has revealed that she was the reason behind the US ambassador's visit to the city last week.

Matthew Barzun likened City Park to a "great big curry pot" when he officially opened the World Curry Festival on Friday.

The former internet pioneer also met members of Bradford Council and spoke to students at the University of Bradford and Belle Vue Boys' School, emphasising it was important to travel beyond his Winfield House base in London to promote the "special" relationship between the US and UK.

Now, Zeynab Ahmed - a former peace studies student at the university - has lifted the lid on why the ambassador came to Bradford in the first place.

The 26-year-old, who lives in Bradford, met the ambassador at the US Embassy in London in 2013 at an event to commemorate civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.

Miss Ahmed said: "I had the opportunity to meet with the ambassador and asked him to visit Bradford. I wanted to raise the profile of Bradford as a centre for esteemed guests."

US officials later contacted Miss Ahmed and asked her to link them up with "key stakeholders" in Bradford.

She said: "I organised a series of meetings, and I then went on to advise them on the ambassador's visit."

Mr Barzun met Miss Ahmed on his visit to Bradford, amid his other commitments.

She said: "The ambassador's visit to Bradford has helped transform our reputation to attract the very best in the region.

"I was delighted to see the ambassador accept my request to visit Bradford. It has been an honour and a privilege, and I am extremely proud.

"The people of Bradford, from diverse backgrounds, welcomed the ambassador and his team with open arms."

Miss Ahmed added: "I would like to thank all the organisations in Bradford that have helped with the visit. I would particularly like to thank the university vice-chancellor, Brian Cantor, and his team for their support.

"It has been fantastic and very exciting to work with the US delegation and to welcome the US ambassador to Bradford. It has been a huge honour and I hope I have inspired young people in the region."

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree