Wales International (Cymru A’r Byd) was established in 1948 as a society to connect the worldwide Welsh. Through their flagship publication “Yr Enfys” – which is free to all members and available to purchase at book shops in Wales – Wales International share news, stories and events from societies and individuals around the world.
We caught up with Heulwen Davies to find out how Wales International are connecting the #WorldWideWelsh.
Helo Heulwen! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I live near Machynlleth in Mid Wales with my husband Gareth and 7 year old daughter Elsi who we raise bilingually. I was born and raised here but have been fortunate to live in other parts of Wales and America for 6 months when I was in Uni, studying media, theatre and music. I worked at the National Library of Wales for a year before starting my career in TV. I was fortunate to travel the world as a TV Producer and Director making Welsh programmes for S4C as well as English programmes for the BBC, Sky and the Discovery channel. I worked in Africa, Indonesia, Singapore, China…lots of countries, but my heart was always in Wales.
Ten years ago I moved back home and got married. Then I started my career in marketing and PR, working as a marketing manager and communications officer for various companies and charities including Arad Goch Theatre Company, Atebol Publishers, Oxfam and the BBC.
How did you first become involved with Wales International?
I have recently taken on the role of Marketing & Communications Manager. I manage the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels (@cymrarbyd), and write blogs for the website and articles for the magazine. The aim is to share stories and develop links with the #WorldWideWelsh. I also link up with businesses in Wales to share news about them with our members, and I’ll be developing some exciting events in the near future.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Wales International before – helping to develop the new website, writing content for Yr Enfys and also arranging events and new branding for our stand at the National Eisteddfod.
Every year, we have our annual meet up at the National Eisteddfod. This is the home for the #WorldWideWelsh during the week and an opportunity for us to meet our friends face to face – it’s really special to us and we’re sad that we won’t be able to do this in 2020. As my work develops, I hope we can offer our members and friends other opportunities to meet up in other areas of the world in the future.
What have been some recent highlights for you at Wales International?
My role is to help people share their story, and my favourite things about working for Wales International is discovering all the amazing things about the #WorldWideWelsh in all corners of the globe. I recently interviewed Chloe Wilson, a young actress from the South Wales Valley who’s currently living and working in New York. I loved learning about her story and her passion for Wales and sharing it on video and in our blog feature on the website.
I also interviewed Alwyn Taffy Parry in New Zealand and learnt about how and why he retired at the age of 38 and how he still holds Wales in his heart despite the fact that he’s lived in NZ for the majority of his life – stories like these excite and inspire me and there’s plenty more on the way!
Why do you think it’s important to connect Welsh people around the world?
Because together we’re stronger. Wales is in our hearts, wherever we are in the world. Connecting with our country and with each other unites us, makes us stronger and inspires us. When I travelled the world with work and more recently with my family, you realise that there’s something really special about Wales and the Welsh. We’re a small nation but with bags of passion, pride and true love for our country, our language and our heritage. Wherever I’ve been, people are interested in Wales and the language, but you realise that we’ve got so much work to do as people still think Wales is in England, and they don’t know about our language.
Connecting the #WorldWideWelsh is important because together we can unite and tell the world about our story, our amazing country and our beautiful language. #TogetherStronger is so true!
What do you think is important to Welsh people living outside of Wales?
To feel connected, supported and united, and to find other Welsh people in their area. There’s so many Welsh societies all over the world and Wales International communicates with many of these on a regular basis, as we want to help connect the #WorldWideWelsh.
What feeling do you get from working with Wales International and what is it that motivates you to be a part of the team?
I feel inspired and proud. The Welsh are doing so many amazing things in Wales and the world and it’s a privilege to be able to connect with them through my work. I wish I could spend more time talking to the #WorldWideWelsh – I try my best to do as much as I can within my day a week!
What have WI got in store for 2020?
We will be launching a new membership package soon! We have hundreds of members all over the world – some individual members and others joining as societies, and we’re keen to attract more members into our #WorldWideWelsh family. We’re also developing ideas for future events and opportunities for more Welsh people to connect face to face and online…watch this space!
What do you do in your spare time?
Since becoming a Mum in 2012, I discovered a lack of resources for new parents in Wales, particularly Welsh language resources. So in 2017 I launched www.mamcymru.wales a bilingual online magazine where parents can share experiences, tips, reviews and ideas with each other – this is all voluntary and I’ve published around 300 articles in total and was nominated for a Chwrae Teg Womenspire Award for my work. I have also published a Welsh book for new parents with the Lolfa, sharing my own experience as well as the experiences of forty mums and dads in Wales as well as a doctor and 2 midwives – this was a number one best seller! I’ve gone on to publish a second book and would like to write more…when I have time!
You can get involved
We’re building a presence for Wales worldwide by singing loudly and singing together. Start by joining communities so that you can tell your story.
Heidi 9 months, 1 week ago
A great article. I enjoyed it and it has inspired me to get out here in Switzerland and talk about Wales!
It’s true, many folk I meet in continental Europe believe that Wales is a part of England. We have a lot of work to do!
Neil Ap Jones 11 months, 3 weeks ago
Dda iawn to you “People of St David”! Yeah that was interesting as I was going to write for them and started to subscribe. I guess I shall have to link-up with them again and get writing…….!!
Dda iawn “Pamb of St David’s”