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The School of Welsh welcomes the Estonian Ambassador

22 May 2015

His Excellency Ambassador Lauri Bambus from Estonia

Cardiff University's School of Welsh played host to His Excellency Mr Lauri Bambus, Estonian Ambassador to the UK, on Friday May 22nd 2015.

Ambassador Bambus' two-day visit to Wales included meetings with the First Minister and Deputy Presiding Officer of the Assembly, as well as the Lord Mayor of Cardiff. He also attended the Vale of Glamorgan Festival which was celebrating Arvo Pärt's 80th anniversary with performances from the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir.

More than 40 people attended Ambassador Bambus' presentation, which introduced his country, its people and its culture. The Ambassador noted the many similarities between Estonia and Wales, their positions as smaller European nations, their strong and enduring cultural identities and their proud native languages.

Welcoming the Ambassador to Cardiff, Professor Diarmait Mac Giolla Chriost, a member of the Language, Policy and Planning Research Unit at the School of Welsh, said: "It is a pleasure to host Ambassador Bambus at the School of Welsh and we thank him for visiting us during his busy trip.

"Estonia has an interesting history, not least its growth and economic and political development after regaining independence in 1991 culminating in its admittance to the European Union and NATO in 2004. It has been great to hear more about the country today and of the similarities with Wales. Estonia's rich cultural heritage, which blends indigenous and external influences, includes a strong folk tradition in literature and song. This is something we know a lot about here in Wales and is a specialism within the School. Equally, we recognise the position and strength of native language in Estonian society, belonging to the finnougric language family, spoken natively by about 1.2 million people and retained over hundreds of years."

Discussing his visit to Wales, and Cardiff University, the Ambassador said: "I am truly delighted to pay my first official visit to Wales accompanied by colleagues from the Embassy at the time of the Vale Glamorgan Music Festival. Especially while the festival is dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the world-famous Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. It is a great pleasure to bring to the Welsh people the Estonian music performed by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. 

"I had concise meetings in an open atmosphere with distinguished representatives of Cardiff and Wales as well as mutually enlightening discussions at the School of Welsh. I am sincerely thankful for the warm hospitality of Welsh people and hope to have a chance to visit Wales again soon."

Ambassador Bambus took up his position in August 2014 and has a long and distinguished diplomatic career beginning in the Consular department of Estonia's Foreign Service. During this time he was posted to Poland, Belgium and St Petersburg before becoming Director General of the Consular Department (2007-10) and later Undersecretary for Legal and Consular Affairs (2010-14). Lauri Bambus is also accredited as Estonian Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman.

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