Skip main navigation

Ask an Expert: Alix Hughes

In this interview we meet Alix Hughes, who coordinates twinning projects for the city of Bristol, to see why he thinks such projects are so important.

In the previous activity we asked you to consider if and how twinning helps to work towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

Here, we meet Alix Hughes, who coordinates the twinning projects for the city of Bristol. Mark Allison asks Alix to tell us more about the city’s activities with the towns and cities it twins with, and why he thinks such projects are important in terms of global citizenship.

One of the first cities Bristol twinned with was Hanover in Germany after the Second World War. It started when Bristol provided shoes for children in Hanover whose homes and possessions had been razed to the ground by bombing. The city of Hanover felt they had nothing in return to offer except their music, and so a tradition of Hanoverian choirs coming to play in Bristol churches and theatres was born. This cultural alliance was, at the time, a bold and controversial statement, as it was the first post-war twinning between a British and German city.

In this interview, Alix discusses more recent examples of twinning, including with Tbilisi in Georgia, Puerto Morazán in Nicaragua, Beira in Mozambique and Guangzhou in China.

In the previous activity, you made a list of the SDGs you thought twinning and organisations like Sister Cities are helping to achieve. When you watch this video, listen out for all the examples that Alix gives that relate to some of the SDGs. Then, answer the following questions in the comments.

  • Which of the Sustainable Development Goals do you think initiatives like twinning or organisations like Sister Cities are helping to achieve?

  • Do you think the list you made in the previous activity covered them all, or do you think you need to think again about your idea of twinning based on this interview?

  • If you are in another part of the country, or a different part of the world, why not find out where your town is twinned with, and what activities or initiatives they are doing?

This article is from the free online

Unleash Your Potential: Global Citizenship

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now