Robert Owen’s 14 May 2021 250th Anniversary event

Seventy participants celebrated Owen’s birthday with a programme from Newtown to Japan and back again, making this a memorable celebration. Activity included:

Welcome by Cllr. David Selby, Mayor of Newtown, joining us, with floral tribute from the Co-operative Group

Greetings: Akira Kurimoto, former Secretary General, Robert Owen Association (Japan) Organising committee, ICA Global Congress, Seoul, December 2021

  • What would Robert Owen be doing today?’ School children interview the First Minister of Wales
  • ‘What Owenite ideals descended to the modern Co-operative Movement?’

Cilla Ross, Researcher/Activist,

Sara Vicari, (, Rome),

Gillian Lonergan, former National Co-operative Archive Librarian

Facilitator: Rebecca Harvey, Executive Editor, Co-op Press

  • ‘How do we keep Owen’s ideals burning brightly?’

Sara Vicari, (Rome),

Michael Brown, Director for Open Newtown,

Dan McCullum, Awel Aman Tawe,

Rory Ridley-Duff, Chair, UK Society for Co-operative Studies,

Ceri Cunningham & Selwyn Williams , Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog

We are very pleased to acknowledge financial support received from several UK Co-operative Societies and other Co-op Member Education organisations. Thanks are due to all those who have contributed to making Owen’s Birthday celebrations possible. Special thanks  are due to Rebecca Harvey, at the Co-op Press, who at our suggestion interviewed the Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford MS; and recorded Ysgol Dafydd Llwyd pupils interviewing our First Minister in March 2021. A short publication is being prepared to capture presentations and participant views with an edited video of event highlights.

About David Smith

David has been a life long co-operative activist. Recent experience includes: Co-operative Foundation Trustee (2014-2016); Co-operative Group Main Board, its Specialist Board & National Values & Principles Committee (2014); Co-operative Group Ethics and Social Responsibility Committee (2015-2016); Co-operative Group Senate (2014-2015); Welsh Regional Board (2009-2014). Public service includes: Government Food Adviser (2000-2006); UK Healthcare Regulator (2003-2008) David directed the first EC funded Wales Anti-Poverty Programme; and pioneered Community Law Centres, Home Care and Repair, Community Housing Associations; local Co-op Development Agencies, multi purpose Social Care Co-operatives, Welsh Food Alliance & Wales Progressive Co-operators. Currently, Deacon at Canton Uniting Church, Cardiff; Board Member, Newport Credit Union; Robert Owen Memorial Museum Trustee. David has a MA (European Human Resource Management) Keele; PGCE (FE) Cardiff; Special Diploma in Social Sciences (Ruskin College) and Professional Food & Management qualifications.
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