Tuesday, 24 January 2017

London: World City

As I crossed London Bridge this morning the fog hung thick over the river Thames. I could hardly make out the familiar form of Tower Bridge no matter how much I tried to focus. There was a certain subdued magical charm that the Thames always takes on under these conditions. I wondered how the river craft would manage under this wintry veil, and if the aircraft destined for London City Airport would have the radar capacity to find the runway.

I was on my way to ECBM to teach a subject called ‘London: World City’, and on this foggy day in London town I felt I needed a political radar. What with the apparent ‘hard Brexit’ plans of British Prime Minister May, and the election of the unknown quantity which is Trump, I was not sure that I knew where the world was heading.

I arrived at ECBM, and prepared myself for a group of young bankers who were arriving from Frankfurt. Outside the fog was clearing as I collected up my papers and walked to room 2.2. These young people were happy to be in London, in great spirits, and looking forward to spending 3 weeks immersed in London culture for their Professional Development Programme. Energy and enthusiasm ran high as we critically analysed the challenges of being a world city.

I emerged from that classroom in a very positive mood. Seeing these young people with their lives ahead of them, positive about their futures and enjoying life so much, reminded me that I do not have to focus too much on the negative headlines of the day, as there were more positive and equally important elements of life around me. Yes… there are times when we humans need to be reminded of things we had already learned, and today it was my turn.

This is my lesson re-learned… How fortunate I am to be in this world of progress and personal growth. How fortunate I am to be a part of young lives filled with enthusiasm and potential. How fortunate I am to be a part of mature lives hungry for new skill sets and qualifications.

If you are ever in a fog, find your way to Great Eastern Street, for we have our own brand of sunshine, and it burns brightly.

Graham Harman-Baker

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