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Tartan Day 2002 is just around the corner. Ivan
Received this today, Fri., Jan. 11, 2002 forwarding in case you missed
this information. Ivan D. Lancaster Trafaglar USA
BLAIR AND BUSH TO SHARE WALLACE AWARD
Just read this in the Scotsman and have copied it here as I thought it would
be of general interest :-)
PRESIDENT George Bush and the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, are expected to
attend this year's Tartan Day celebrations in Washington, turning the event
into the biggest and most important celebration of Scottish culture ever
witnessed in the US.
Mr Bush and Mr Blair have been nominated to become the joint winners of this
year's prestigious Wallace award, The Scotsman has learned.
The body behind the award, the American Scottish Foundation, is planning a
major awards' ceremony on Capitol Hill, Washington, on 9 April as the
highlight of this year's Tartan Day celebrations. Organisers are optimistic
they can attract both Mr Bush and Mr Blair to the event and succeed in
turning the Tartan Day celebrations into a focus of world attention.
Named after William Wallace, the award is the only major honour given out by
the international Scottish community. It was instituted three years ago to
commemorate the achievements of Scottish Americans, but the organisers have
widened its remit in an attempt to honour the work done by Mr Blair and Mr
Bush, both of whom have strong Scottish connections.
Organisers are still waiting for final confirmation from the White House and
Downing Street before an official announcement. However, White House staff
have made it clear they are trying to fit the ceremony into the president's
schedule while Mr Blair's officials hope to sort out the final details.
The US Senate voted four years ago to introduce a National Tartan Day across
the US in recognition of "the monumental achievements and invaluable
contributions" made by Scottish Americans.
The event, timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Declaration of
Arbroath, has evolved from a day into a whole week and is used by
businesses, politicians and civic leaders to promote Scotland and its
culture and industry to the US.
The Wallace Award has grown in stature as Tartan Day has expanded. Last
year, the award was won by Sir Sean Connery, following the former Senate
majority leader, Trent Lott.
Alan Bain, president of the American Scottish Foundation, said: "We thought
we could broaden it to include those with a real connection to the United
States and an impact on the United States, not necessarily Americans, who
have contributed to the Scottish-American relationship.
"This year we have approached two individuals: George Bush, with distinct
Scottish antecedents and experience - as a young man he spent time in
Scotland - and Tony Blair, who was born and educated in Scotland.
"These are two world leaders who are most active at this time, both with
Scottish relationships. This seems to be a good time to recognize them
jointly. We have been working very hard to raise the profile of Tartan Day
and we are beginning to make good progress."
Scotland was one of two foreign countries Mr Bush visited before he became
president last year and his father was given financial backing by James
Gammell, the Edinburgh financier when he was establishing himself in the oil
business. Mr Bush Jnr knew Mr Gammell's son, Bill, and came to Scotland to
visit him. Bill Gammell, a former Scottish rugby international and now head
of Cairn Energy, also knew Mr Blair at Fettes College.
Hamish Macdonell Scottish Political Editor
Wednesday, 9th January 2002
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