01/11/2007

Patagonia Twinning Backed

Alun Williams has strongly backed Aberystwyth’s proposed town twinning with Esquel in Patagonia. Speaking at a meeting in Aberystwyth on Thursday (1st Nov) he said,


“Although distance and cost could be a problem, these obstacles are worth overcoming to link with the only recognized Welsh-speaking community in the world outside Wales . It’s absolutely natural that Aberystwyth should do this.


“Cardigan is already twinned with the Patagonian town of Trevelin . Esquel and Trevelin are just 14 miles apart so Aberystwyth now has the opportunity to complete a very solid link between Ceredigion and this area of Patagonia and shared travel arrangements can easily be made.


“It’s mistakenly thought by some people that town twinnings are an opportunity for councillors to enjoy free holidays. In fact, trips are normally self-funded and the main beneficiaries are often schoolchildren and young people as the hundreds of people who have visited our other twin towns of St Brieuc and Kronberg over the years can testify. Town twinnings give an opportunity for them to enjoy new cultural and linguistic experiences with plenty of support. This will be our first twinning with a Spanish-speaking country so will give opportunities not available at the moment.


“Links between Aberystwyth and Patagonia already exist. Cymdeithas Cymru-Ariannin (the Wales–Argentina Society) is based in Penrhyncoch. For years they’ve been sponsoring exchanges of teachers, students and religious ministers between Wales and Patagonia . The Welsh Books Council has established links. The National Library also has an extensive collection of publications about Patagonia . Dozens of Welsh speakers from Aberystwyth have already visited the area to promote Welsh in Patagonia . One of our Town Councillors, Jaci Taylor, is there doing just that right now.


“I applaud the initiative shown by Esquel in asking to twin with us and I’d like Aberystwyth to warmly accept.”


The idea of the twinning was first raised when the mayor of Esquel wrote to Aberystwyth Town Council. The meeting agreed unanimously to pursue the link and a further meeting will be held to form a committee.

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