Argentine Ambassador in the United Kingdom, Alicia Castro, and the Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, who will visit Argentina this year, jointly inaugurated in Cardiff celebrations commemorating the settlement of the Welsh in Argentina in 1865. Several activities have been planned both in Patagonia and Wales to celebrate the 150th anniversary.
Prior to the ceremony, the Argentine Ambassador and the Welsh leader held a bilateral meeting in which they looked into the commemorative activities set to take place throughout 2015, as well as establishing an agenda of joint cultural events in the UK and Argentina.
The Welsh First Minister confirmed to the Ambassador that he will travel to Chubut next July in order to attend the celebrations, and reaffirmed the importance that his government and people ascribe to the anniversary. “As a nation, we are very proud of the strong links that we share with the settlements in Patagonia”, Carwyn Jones stated.
The ceremony, which was attended by MPs from Westminster and the National Assembly for Wales, officials from the Embassy of Argentina and a large audience, included a concert given by the National Orchestra of Wales, a tasting of typical dishes from both countries, the screening of a BBC documentary filmed in Patagonia, the launch of the British Council Patagonia website and of several cultural initiatives.
“The links between Wales and Patagonia are very important for us and this is why we are working to promote awareness of this history”, stated the Director of British Council Wales, Jenny Scott.
Lord Dafydd Wigley, the Honorary Chairman of the Welsh Celebrations Co-ordinating Committee, said that he hoped the occasion would help bring the Governments of Argentina and the UK closer together and to strengthen bilateral relations.
“The establishment of Welsh settlements in Argentina, that preserved their traditions, language and cultural identity, is a fine example of the respect, friendship and opportunities that our country offers to British descendants”, Alicia Castro stated in Cardiff.
“I hope that 2015, such a special year of celebrations for Welsh people in Patagonia, will also present an opportunity for Argentina and the UK to resume dialogue”, the Argentine Ambassador added.
At the conclusion of the meeting Ambassador Castro offered Carwyn Jones a copy of the book Malvinas Matters: Notes from the Embassy of Argentina in London, edited and published by the Embassy.