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Last Updated: Monday, 17 September 2007, 18:32 GMT 19:32 UK
Students seal 'friendship' pact
William Kellibrew and Elizabeth Hill
William Kellibrew and Elizabeth Hill are studying in Sunderland
A special link between Sunderland and the capital of the United States has been cemented with the arrival of the first scholarship students to Wearside.

Sunderland and Washington forged special cultural, business and tourist links last year in a unique "Agreement of Friendship".

It was signed by Sunderland's council leader and the Mayor of Washington.

Now Sunderland University has welcomed its first scholarship students as part of the friendship agreement.

Washington DC is named after the first president of the United States, a descendent of the Washington family, which took its name from Wessyngton, now Washington Village, in County Durham.

'Happy memories'

William Kellibrew, from the University of the District of Columbia and Elizabeth Hill from George Washington University are the first American students to take up Washington Scholarship places at the university.

William, 33, is studying business administration and management, while 20-year-old Elizabeth is studying biological sciences.

Sunderland University vice chancellor Professor Peter Fidler said: "William and Elizabeth will be great ambassadors for the friendship agreement and I am sure they will go back to Washington with many happy memories of their time with us."

William said: "It's amazing being in a city that has such a lot of history. In the US if a city has buildings that were built in 1910 they are considered historical."

Elizabeth added: "I'm really looking forward to visiting Washington Old Hall as I'm studying at George Washington University, so it's great to have that connection with Sunderland."

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