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Celebrating links with Patagonia

15 August 2014

Celebrating links with Patagonia
(l-r) Professor Hywel Thomas, Professor Sioned Davies, Rebeca White and Gareth Kiff (Director of Teaching, Welsh for Adults Centre)

The School of Welsh has marked its significant contribution to research and teaching in the Welsh settlement in Patagonia with two celebratory events.

Rebeca White, a primary school teacher from Patagonia, presented Cardiff University with a gift on behalf of Cymdeithas Dewi Sant (the St David's Society of Patagonia).

Rebeca is currently attending the Welsh Language Summer School run by the School's Welsh for Adults Centre and is co-ordinator of the committee responsible for organising the 150 year anniversary celebrations of the Welsh settlement in Patagonia to be held in 2015.

The gift was given in recognition of the Centre's work with the Welsh Language Project (a project that promotes Welsh language teaching in the Chubut area of Patagonia) and was presented to Professor Hywel Thomas, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Enterprise, on behalf of the University.

Governor Buzzi and Professor George Boyne sign the Memorandum of Understanding

At the second event, Governor of the Chubut province in Patagonia, Martin Buzzi, visited the University to promote the 150 year anniversary of the Welsh settlement in Patagonia. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Governor Buzzi and Professor George Boyne (Pro Vice-Chancellor, College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences) pledging continued partnership and collaboration between Cardiff University and the Chubut province.

The School's Centre for Welsh American Studies is already contributing to the anniversary celebrations with an international conference to be held in Cardiff in July 2015. Additionally, with funding from Bank Santander, two undergraduate students are currently in Patagonia gaining work experience teaching Welsh and three staff from the School will travel to Argentina in September to attend a conference at the University of Patagonia.

Head of the School of Welsh, Professor Sioned Davies, said: "We are very proud of all of the connections between the School of Welsh and the Welsh settlement in Patagonia. The settlement is one of the main research areas of our Centre for Welsh American Studies, and funding from Santander Bank, under its Santander Universities Scheme, allows us to develop links with a number of institutions in Argentina, especially with the National University of Patagonia.

"The first event celebrated our special connection between the settlement and our Welsh for Adults Centre – the Centre is one of the partners of the Welsh Language Project along with the National Assembly and the British Council.

"It is also a pleasure to welcome students from Patagonia to our annual summer course which has been running for a number of years. Many of the students are now fluent in Welsh and contribute to the linguistic regeneration in the Chubut area and beyond."