US Ambassador visits Leicester school

Matthew Barzun, the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, visited Leicester High School for Girls

The independent girls’ school was the only school he visited as part of his first tour of Leicester, which included a visit to De Montfort University, the Richard III Exhibition and BBC Radio Leicester.

The school was approached by the US Embassy about a month before he visited, but for security reasons staff and girls were only told he was meeting them on the day of his arrival. So there was much excitement and surprise only hours before the US Ambassador came to the school.

He was welcomed by Mr Alan Whelpdale, the headmaster, and then spent an hour with all of the Sixth Form, talking about his country and its foreign policy, and asking the girls about their likes, dislikes and perceptions of the USA.

Rachel Bretherton, head girl, said: “This was definitely the highlight of this school year. Listening to Ambassador Barzun speak was so fascinating and the whole of the Sixth Form was incredibly excited to meet him.”

Ambassador Barzun, who is one of the youngest Ambassadors to the UK, is determined to visit many parts of the country and also meet and talk to different groups of people throughout the UK. This ‘Cultural Community Outreach’ is a priority for Ambassador Barzun who has visited 10 schools since he became Ambassador in August 2013.

He said: “I have visited four girls’ schools and I find them particularly inspiring and insightful. These girls will be voting in the next election, and it is important that we listen to them and hear what they have to say.”

Alan Whelpdale said: “I think it is very impressive that the Ambassador is finding the time to learn about our country and its people. He was genuinely interested in what the girls think, and it is commendable that he is engaging with young people in this way. We are honoured that he chose our school, and delighted that the girls had the opportunity to meet such a significant and interesting person. I think for many this will be a school memory that they will remember forever.”

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