Dr Mena Fombo, Founder and Director of Black Girl Convention and Silas Adekunle, Co-Founder and CEO of Reach Robotics, were voted in by the city’s International Strategy Board and met with Mayor Marvin Rees last week to discuss their new roles promoting Bristol as a global city in 2020.
The duo will aim to strengthen existing connections and develop new opportunities to partner with cities across the globe that face similar challenges to Bristol.
Silas Adekunle is a technology entrepreneur known for creating the world's first intelligent gaming robot. He earned a first class degree BSc (Hons) in Robotics and an honorary Doctorate from the University of the West of England. He was named as Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe in both the Technology and Entrepreneurship categories in 2018 and Forbes 30 Under 30 Africa in 2019 and is currently building a company that enables robotics across Africa and another developing AI Engines for Service Robots.
Dr Mena Fombo has both a BA (Hons) and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the West of England as well as a BSc from the University of Bath. She is also TEDx alumni and business consultant across all areas relating to young people, the cultural/tech sector, inclusion and intersectional diversity.
Using up to date information and materials about city activities and the priorities for international collaboration, the new ambassadors will promote Bristol around the world and raise awareness of the diverse and vibrant aspects of the city. This unpaid role will be carried out by the ambassadors giving their own time as part of their existing international links through work and travel.
The International Strategy board is composed of representatives from the public, private and voluntary sectors from across Bristol, including the University of Bristol, the University of the West of England, Business West and also Destination Bristol.
The International Strategy aims for:
- A stronger Bristol economy that acts as an international gateway to the UK.
- International communities and global citizens to link Bristol to the world, creating a culturally vibrant, cohesive and welcoming city
- Bristol to lead on shared global values and development goals, such as inclusivity, sustainability and resilience.
- More devolved power to local and regional government, giving a stronger voice to cities to ensure international and national policy meets the needs of citizens.
Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees, who also sits on the board, said: “Mena and Silas were chosen for their outstanding achievements. They are both brilliant speakers and have great global connections, so are perfect to promote our international goals.
“It’s also great to see two young, black ambassadors representing Bristol - as we are a city that is proud of our diversity and our goal is to work together to make Bristol a fairer, healthier and safer city where everyone is included.’’