Cardiff: Connected to the World

Opening of the Honorary Consulate of Mexico

I was kindly invited to the opening of the Honorary Consulate of Mexico in Cardiff. Honorary Consulates aim to strengthen the promotion of a country, in this instance Mexico, and help develop strategic links in important areas such as education, trade and commerce.

It was a good opportunity to meet the Ambassador of Mexico to the UK, Diego Gómez Pickering, and the Honorary Consul for Wales, Glynn Pegler, and discuss the links between our two countries.

Glynn Pegler is notable for being one of Wales’ youngest and most successful entrepreneurs. He founded the Culture Group of companies when he was barely 15, and now is among the UK’s youngest Honorary Consuls.

He was selected for the appointment because of his strong track record in overseas trade and development, particularly his work in establishing social impact projects and campaigns with young people, not only in Wales but globally.

Cutting the Ribbon Ceremony at the official Opening of the Honorary Consulate of Mexico

Cutting the Ribbon Ceremony at the official Opening of the Honorary Consulate of Mexico

As you may be aware, there will be a trial launch of flights from Cardiff to Cancun on Mexico’s east coast next summer. Cardiff Airport has a long runway, which means that it can offer long-haul flights which connect Cardiff to the rest of the world. The opening of the Honorary Consulate in Cardiff is good news for the city – it is the 14th based in the city – and one which emphasises our growing international profile.

Celebrating 60 years of ‘twinning’ with Stuttgart

Continuing with an international outlook, Cardiff recently welcomed a delegation from the German city of Stuttgart, to mark the 60th anniversary of our twinning arrangement.

You might be aware that in Cardiff we have a road called Stuttgarter Strasse which runs past our civic centre and the Stuttgart gardens in Bute Park, were designed by apprentices from Stuttgart to celebrate our 50th anniversary. This relationship is really important to both our cities as it allows us to learn from one another. For example, Cardiff and the wider South Wales valleys can learn a lot from Stuttgart’s city region approach, which is a recognised world-leader, as well as undertake cultural, school and business exchanges. On our 60th anniversary, both cities have taken this co-operation further by signing a Memorandum of Understanding to; co-operate in the financial services and creative industries sectors and in EU funding applications and networks.

The visitors, led by Stuttgart’s Deputy Mayor, Dr Martin Schairer enjoyed Cardiff’s history and culture and had an opportunity to hear more about our city’s great history and exciting future during visits to places such as Cardiff Castle, Mansion House, Ely Hub, and the Millennium Stadium.

Under Cardiff Castle’s Keep with the Stuttgart Delegation

Under Cardiff Castle’s Keep with the Stuttgart Delegation

More activities to mark the 60th Anniversary are planned including ‘The Tale of Two Cities’ exhibition that is taking place as part of the Diffusion festival in Cardiff in October. It is set to be an exciting display, put together by Ffotogallery and Stuttgart’s Fotosummer which I’m sure, will be well worth a visit!

If you’ve got an idea which could build on our cities long standing links with Stuttgart – why not get in touch with the Cardiff/Stuttgart Association by visiting their website!

The International Food & Drink Festival

The visit of the Stuttgart delegation was timely, with the city bustling with excitement from a successful first Ashes test (expected to bring in up to £24m economic benefit) and with Cardiff’s highly anticipated International Food & Drink Festival taking place. One of the festival’s most popular stalls is from Stuttgart – so it was nice for our visitors to see so many people enjoying their food and drink.

Stuttgart Stand

It was the 16th International Food and Drink Festival and once again it was a great success with excellent food and entertainment on offer.

This year’s event also included the biggest outdoor street food piazza in Wales. I’ve blogged a couple of times about the success of the street food scene in the city, and so it’s interesting to see the latest video from the Cardiff Unscripted project!

Events like this, one of the headline events of the Cardiff Festival, really help bring people into our city. They also enhance Cardiff’s reputation as a liveable city as well as providing a welcome boost to local businesses and the city’s economy.