Our Convenor, Donald MacLaren (DM), was pleased to represent the SCSC at the series of celebrations for the 25th anniversary of Tartan Day in the US, from 5-15 April.
Throughout, he was ably and enthusiastically supported by our new Vice Convenor, Viscount Dunrossil (AD). Though he was already known to many of the American participants, and the organisers, this was a good opportunity to introduce Andrew in his new SCSC position and in which he was warmly welcomed by our hosts at each of the events.
The visit was worthwhile. Through public appearances and the many networking opportunities, it helped advance awareness, and the profile, of the SCSC. It enabled us to set out the core points of what the SCSC is and our priorities; and to demonstrate the relevance and engagement of chiefs today.
Both Convenor and Vice Convenor lobbied Scottish Government officials and the Convenor, directly, Angus Robertson for a re-instatement of the Scottish Clans and Historical Figures Events Fund (successor, until wound up three years ago, of the Clan Events Fund). They acknowledged the previous value of the Fund, not least to the Scottish economy given the significant ratio of revenue from ancestral tourism to the small capital sums awarded to clan and family societies. A Minister for Tourism had yet to be appointed, however, and they could give no date for when the Fund might be set up again. They took our concern and invited us to keep in contact.
A PACKED ITINERARY
– Symposium organised by John Bellassai, in his capacity as Vice President, National Capital Tartan Day Committee. The broad theme of the day’s event was Scottish Identities in America. It covered topics ranging across history, culture and trade. AD gave a stimulating talk on the impact of Scottish-Americans on world history and, in particular, how the Scots’ stand at the Alamo, leading in due course to Texan independence from Mexico, contributed to the eventual emergence of the US as a superpower. DM’s panel offering was mainly on the SCSC today and our current projects (renewed focus on the heirs; licensing, in the context of accuracy and authenticity; and the Chiefs Book).
– Ambassador’s reception. Well-attended, including by Angus Robertson, Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture and a train of Scottish Government officials
– Award presentation by the Scottish Coalition USA, including COSCA and the American Scottish Foundation (Camilla Hellman), to the two former Congressmen, McIntyre (D-NC) and Duncan (R-TN), in recognition of their steering through the 1998 Resolution establishing US Tartan Day
– Private meeting with the President of the White House Historical Association (A McLaurin), who took a lively interest in the SCSC and asked to be kept informed of developments
– American Scottish Foundation (ASF) formal dinner
– VisitScotland breakfast, with Scottish Government attendance (including Noelle Campbell, Visit Scotland and John Primrose, External Affairs)
– Gathering in Bryant Park. Cultural performances; and speeches by Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer, Cabinet Secretary, other Scottish political representatives and DM.
– Lecture by the Lord Lyon on the Lyon Court’s work and the granting of arms to Robert Burns. Small, mainly academic audience. Lyon appreciative of SCSC attendance
– Tartan Day parade on 6th Avenue. Before the march, two adjoining streets filled with about 60 clan and family societies, St Andrew’s and other associations and pipe bands.