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Profile picture of Professor Karen OBrien Vice Chancellor of Durham University

Our Vice-Chancellor Professor Karen O'Brien looks into how Durham makes an impact both locally and globally.

Durham is a global university, with over 120 countries represented among our staff and students and research collaborations and partnerships stretching right across the globe.

It’s also key to our purpose that the benefits of this global reach are felt locally – here in our city, county and region.

Local events representing our global community

Recently we held our first Global Week, celebrating the contribution that staff and students from right across the world make to our University and the Durham community.

There were more than 40 events to enjoy, with many open to local residents. Among them was World Fest, a student-led event with cultural celebrations from over 70 countries and cultures.

We also held our inaugural Global Goals Summit, working with Durham Sixth Form Centre students and others to explore the importance of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

At our International Study Centre in Stockton, there were performances of music, dance, art and cinema. In Durham Market Place, we joined local partners in marking Commonwealth Day. I was delighted to join the Mayor and Council Chairman and see primary school children from our city carrying flags for the Commonwealth nations. The week climaxed with an awards ceremony, celebrating individual contributions to cultural diversity.

Thank you to everyone who took part. But the cultural opportunities don’t end with Global Week. There are dozens of events every week – something for every taste.

Find out what's on

We’ve recently launched a new website bringing together all our Visitor Attractions: Durham Castle, the Botanic Garden, the Oriental Museum, the Museum of Archaeology, our historic libraries, the World Heritage Site Visitor Centre and our art collection.

It’s a great place to discover what’s on offer, especially with the school Easter holidays approaching. Check it out at

On a similar theme, have you heard of the MammalWeb project? It’s seen us work with the British Ecological Society to introduce nature to 72 schools across the region and connect 5,000 young people with their environment. You can find out more at

And one final opportunity I wanted to mention: applications are now open for the next TechUPWomen Click Start programme, a free award-winning course to help women and non-binary people access a career in the tech industry. Find out more at

Local research, global impact

We are a global and globally leading university. This week 19 of our subjects were ranked among the top 100 anywhere in the world. And that makes a positive difference right here in Durham.

Find out more