I WAS lucky enough to attend the Royal Wedding last week and see first-hand how it brought together people in celebration across the UK, Commonwealth and the world.
The international appeal of this event bears testament to the historical strength of the UK when it comes to building bridges all over the globe.
As a civil engineer, I know the value of bridges. And I am especially proud of the bridges of commerce, trade, and culture that I am attempting to develop and strengthen as Lord Mayor.
At this week’s Easter Banquet at Mansion House we will be honouring members of the diplomatic community that link the City and the world.
London has been an international gateway since the time of the Romans. And to this day, we remain a multicultural capital with global ties.
More than any other city, London is positioned to be at the heart of global commercial and cultural diplomacy.
Already the pieces are being put into place as we prepare to welcome the world for the Olympics. The government is delivering much needed investment in infrastructure, including Crossrail and other projects, to enhance the flow of goods and people.
Foreign direct investment in the UK was valued at over £1 trillion in 2010. And the investment and business that comes here arrives and thrives at perhaps the safest and most prosperous destination in the world.
These two way flows are beneficial to all involved and so it is important to remember that in this global village we are neighbours, as well as nations.
I will visit more than twenty countries during my year in office and host delegations from many more here in London. One message that remains the same for all is our desire to become the partner of choice when it comes to commerce and culture.
And the arts can play a very special role. The City of London Corporation sponsored concerts for the first time in Vietnam and China during my recent visits, involving international and local musicians and organised by the Concordia Foundation. And we want to repeat its success on other visits – in Kenya and elsewhere.
And philanthropy can also achieve this outcome. My own Lord Mayor’s Appeal principally supports two charities: Coram, London’s foremost children’s charity and RedR, a wonderful charity responding to international emergencies and disasters.
The City has a long tradition of reaching out, changing the world with compassion and commitment. Building the bridges that will shape our future requires united effort. The City stands ready to pull its weight.
Michael Bear is Lord Mayor of the City of London