Hollywood’s hottest Welsh stars help celebrate ‘Study in Wales’


Three of LA’s leading British actors last week attended an international reception at the British Consulate General’s residence in Los Angeles to celebrate the opportunities available to partners of Welsh universities across the globe.


Organised by Kath Griffiths, Executive International Officer at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), the event welcomed LA-based Welsh actors Owain Rhys Davies and Luca Malacrino along with Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt as well as guests from the British Council, Welsh Government and Universities UK. 

British Consul General Chris O’Connor welcomed the guests including a delegation from Wales, who were in LA for the one of the largest gatherings of international educators in the world to promote Wales as a study abroad destination of choice.

The event was given that extra special West Wales flavour when it came to light that Carmarthen actor, Owain Rhys Davies is the son of one of UWTSD’s long-standing lecturers, historian Conway Davies.

“I was delighted that Owain was in attendance but even more delighted when I realised that he was son of Conway Davies, as were many of our international partners,” says UWTSD’s Kath Griffiths.

“Conway has taught Welsh history to our study abroad students for many years so many knew him. We also knew how proud he was of Owain’s career. I think Owain was a little surprised to come to an event in Los Angeles and so many of us knew his dad! It made the event even more special for the North American - Welsh connections.”

Owain as well as Cardiff-born Luca, told the invited audience how growing up in Wales had made them advocates for the nation, and how studying and working abroad themselves had given them perspectives from which students considering universities in Wales could also benefit.

Owain, who’s about to be seen in David Lynch’s new adaptation of Twin Peaks and is currently gracing billboards across the USA, underlined the benefits of studying in Wales: 

"It was an absolute pleasure being involved in such a marvellous evening and for such a great cause. To be part of making sure Wales is firmly put on the map where it belongs was significant for me as I want the world to be as in love with the land of song as I am. It’s wonderful to see universities work together with such passion and commitment, and I hope that Study in Wales continues its success in bringing institutions together to make Welsh universities famous on the world stage.”

Cardiffian, Luca, who has recently been seen in Grey’s Anatomy and Criminal Minds, said: “As a proud Welshman, I can't emphasise enough how welcoming Wales is to international students. I am always explaining to friends in the U.S. how Wales inspires you the moment you arrive and that once you go there it will create ties that will last a lifetime. We need to make sure that Wales isn't a well-kept secret, and this is why I was delighted to work with Study in Wales to help bring Wales to the forefront of higher education for international students. I was fortunate to be an international student myself whilst studying in LA, and I would love to see even more students making the same leap to study across the Atlantic.”

Two graduates from the American University, California State University, Fullerton – both of whom had spent time studying BA Acting on UWTSD’s Carmarthen campus as part of the Study in Wales programme - also took part in the event.  Magician Paul Vu entertained guests with his tricks while Hannah Schill photographed the reception.

“As part of the study in Wales presence at NAFSA – the Association of International Educators and the world's largest non-profit association dedicated to international education and exchange  - I had the absolute pleasure of arranging a reception on behalf of Wales’ universities to celebrate our collective international partnerships.   When I heard that the event was going to be held in Los Angeles, I approached the British consulate to see if the event could be held at the Consul General’s residence,” says Kath Griffiths, Executive International Officer at UWTSD.

“Chris O'Connnor was kind enough to host the event which was a star studded event attended by Welsh stars Owain Rhys Davies and Gianluca Malcrino who spoke so passionately about Wales.  They also brought along their friend, Joanne Froggatt from Downton Abbey.

“It was a great occasion and it was fantastic to have so many UWTSD partners at the event, including California state University Fullerton; California State University Long Beach and University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  We were also delighted that Kathy Denton, President of Douglas College attended.”

The annual NAFSA conference gives Study in Wales, and its university partners, access to more than 10,000 delegates from around the globe to promote Wales as a study destination of choice.

Study in Wales is a partnership of all of Wales’s universities www.studyinwales.ac.uk  and is supported by Universities Wales, British Council, Welsh Government and HEFCW.

Further Information

For further information, please contact Sian-Elin Davies by emailing sian-elin.davies@uwtsd.ac.uk / 01267 676908 / 07449 998476