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Monday, 3 September, 2001, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Morgan tells US 'promote homeland'
Rhodri Morgan, First Minister of Wales
Rhodri Morgan told Welsh Americans to promote Wales
Welsh Assembly First Minister Rhodri Morgan has called on Welsh ex-patriates in the United States to become "ambassadors for Wales."

As part of his week-long tour to California, Rhodri Morgan told a gathering of ex-pats in San Jose he wanted them to promote Wales to future generations.

San Jose skyline
San Jose is at the heart of Silicon Valley
He told 500 guests: "We want to recruit you as unpaid ambassadors for Wales."

The Welsh Americans were gathered in the heart of Silicon Valley to hear Mr Morgan at the Festival of Wales 2001, a weekend meeting staged by the Welsh American Society of Northern California.

On Friday, the first minister appeared in a live-phone in on the San Francisco Bay radio station KQED in the heart of the region.

He talked of plans to create a Welsh version of Silicon Valley back at home.

Mr Morgan has frequently spoken of his desire to model the Welsh business environment on the entrepreneurial knowledge economy of the valley.

Dynamic Wales

Speaking after the festival's banquet, he asked the ex-patriates to help develop a dynamic, prosperous Wales to where future descendents would return to live and work.

"Although the claim that Prince Madog discovered America has yet to be proven, there is no doubt that the Welsh made a major contribution to the development of modern democracy in the USA.

"The radical and democratic ideals from Wales had a major effect on the constitution of the USA and how it works.

We want to recruit you as unpaid ambassadors for Wales

Rhodri Morgan, First Minister for Wales
"It may have taken 200 years for the principle of devolution to wash back to Wales, but we have it and we have to make that system work."

Mr Morgan unveiled a new website and video which offer promotional views of Wales.

Dubbed "Wales. World Nation," the website is available in English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese.

Users around the world can subscribe for news on managing businesses in Wales."

Folk musician and political activist Dafydd Iwan joined the First Minister and guests at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose.

Mr Morgan's Californian trip will be rounded off by a mini-eisteddfod and traditional Gymanfa Ganu singing session on Monday.

Wales First Minister Rhodri Morgan
"We are trying to... help them break into the Californian market"
See also:

02 Sep 01 | Wales
Hollywood hopes for film makers
05 Dec 00 | Business
Silicon Valley curbs e-tail invasion
01 Mar 99 | Education
Welsh schools try to entice ex-pats
15 Nov 99 | Wales
Welsh, sexy and in New York
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