Strengthening our links with the Welsh settlement in Patagonia
Banco Santander met with Cardiff University in September 2008
Cardiff University’s School of Welsh has a number of connections with the Welsh settlement in Patagonia, some of them stretching back over a number of years.
- Our Welsh for Adults Centre is one of the partners in the Welsh Assembly Government’s scheme which sends Welsh teachers to Patagonia.
- The Welsh settlement in Patagonia is an area of significant research interest for our Cardiff Centre for Welsh American Studies. It has been the subject of a number of lectures and conferences organised by the Centre. Walter Brooks – who originates from Patagonia and is a Research Officer at the Centre – is currently researching the Welsh-language newspapers which were published there.
- Professor Robert Owen Jones, who is a Professor at the School of Welsh and one of the leading authorities on the history of the Welsh language in Patagonia, has been working on a project – funded by the Leverhulme Trust – which focuses on the social history of the Welsh language in the Chubut valley and in the Andes.
And to top it all, one of the School’s secretaries, Alicia Arthur, comes from Patagonia!
But plans are afoot to strengthen our ties with Patagonia even further.
Banco Santander sponsors schemes which encourage links between universities in Europe and those in South America. Cardiff University is the first university in Wales to be selected as a partner institution in an international network called ‘Santander Universities’. A agreement of cooperation was signed in September 2008 between Cardiff University and Abbey National plc, Banco Santander’s UK subsidiary. This enables Cardiff University to establish a number of research and teaching links with South American universities who are also members of the ‘Santander Universities’ group.
This development is very exciting one for Cardiff University’s School of Welsh, as the funding from Banco Santander allows us to develop relations with a number of higher education institutions in Patagonia, and in particular with the National University of Patagonia in Trelew.
As one of the first steps in this development, a number of members of staff from the School of Welsh visited Patagonia in spring 2009 (that is, spring in Wales as it was autumn in Patagonia!). Amongst these were experts on teaching Welsh for adults, language planning, and the literature and history of the Welsh settlement in Patagonia.
The purpose of this initial visit was to lay the foundations for further cooperation, with the aim of promoting regular research and study visits to Patagonia by staff and students of the School of Welsh over the coming years; and for Patagonian staff and students in turn to research and study at Cardiff. Click here to see pictures of the trip.
Staff and students from the National University of Patagonia visited Cardiff University during February 2010. Click here to read about their visit.
We are very grateful to Banco Santander for their generous sponsorship which allows an invaluable opportunity to further strengthen relations between the School of Welsh and the Welsh settlement in Patagonia. It will help significantly to promote the relationship between Wales and Patagonia in the field of higher education and academic research, with all the educational, economic and cultural benefits which will undoubtedly derive as a result.