Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Monday, 16 June 2008 12:31 UK

Homecoming 2009 events unveiled

Cross of St Andrew
The festival will celebrate Scotland's contribution to the world

The programme of events for a 10-month festival of all things Scottish has been unveiled.

Homecoming Scotland 2009, which will coincide with the 250th anniversary of poet Robert Burns, will feature more than 100 events across the country.

It is hoped the festival will attract thousands of ex-pats from across the world when it launches next year.

First Minister Alex Salmond said it would be a chance to showcase Scotland's contribution to the world.

The festival kicks off on Burns night, 25 January, and runs until St Andrew's Day on 30 November.

The programme of events has been organised around five main themes - Robert Burns, whisky, golf, great Scottish minds and innovations and Scotland's culture and heritage.

Among the events will be a show at the Clyde Auditorium to celebrate the songs of Burns and a whole whisky month in May, with distillers across the country opening up their doors.

There will also be the biggest clan gathering for 200 years in Edinburgh in July, and a flotilla of boats will travel the length of the Caledonian Canal, from Fort William to Inverness.

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Alex Salmond launches the programme

The Edinburgh International Science Festival will be showcasing the contributions made to innovation by Scots, and an exhibition of contemporary art inspired by Burns will be hosted at Glasgow's Mitchell Library.

Launching the programme at Edinburgh Castle, Mr Salmond said: "With so many exciting events taking place across the country, 2009 will be a fantastic year to invite people around the world, with either an ancestral link or affinity for Scotland, to come home.

"Already we are seeing success, with Forbes Magazine announcing plans to return to Scotland for the first time in nearly 100 years to host their annual European CEO Forum. This will be an influential business conference and an opportunity to show global business leaders that Scotland is a dynamic nation, with an exciting future.

"I want to urge everyone in Scotland to play their part in what will be the biggest ever celebration of Scotland's achievements and culture and our ties of family and friendship around the world."


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