Dr Ned Thomas to deliver the 2023 O’Donnell Lecture


This year's O'Donnell Lecture will be delivered by Dr Ned Thomas.


This year's O'Donnell Lecture will be delivered by Dr Ned Thomas.

The annual lecture is organised by the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies. The O’Donnell Lectures in Celtic Studies were founded in 1954 and are delivered annually at the Universities of Edinburgh, Oxford and Wales. This year the lecture will be given by Dr Ned Thomas, entitled ‘Lleiafrifoedd Ieithyddol Ewrop – braslun o hanes syniadol’.

Ned Thomas has had a varied career as writer and journalist, academic and publisher, language activist and researcher in the field of European minorities. He has taught at the University of Salamanca in Spain, as visiting professor at Moscow State University in the days of the Soviet Union, and in the English department of Aberystwyth University. For several years he was a London journalist, working for Times Newspapers, later editing the British Government's Russian-language quarterly Angliya. Returning to Wales he founded the magazine Planet which he edited for fifteen years before becoming Director of University of Wales Press. He was the founder and first director of the Mercator Institute, which has led a range of European projects on languages and literature for over thirty years. Ned Thomas received an Honorary Degree from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David last year. He is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, a Fellow of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, and was made an honorable member of the Gorsedd of the Bards at the 2018 National Eisteddfod.

Ned Thomas said, ‘The concept of a linguistic minority will take us on the one hand to the history of ideas about language, its nature and development, but also to political history, to the organization of linguistic space within nation-states and empires. It is a history of repression and conflict, but also of attempts to find models of peaceful coexistence and cooperation. When Europe acquired a political dimension, the European institutions sought to guarantee all citizens a minimum level of linguistic rights, a process made more urgent but more complicated by the EU's eastward expansion. Minorities themselves developed common structures and a voice, though a weak voice, within the European institutions. Today, globalization, technological developments, the climate crisis, migration, and the reaction to these things, have changed the context of our discussion, but not the need for answers.’

Professor Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, Director of the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, said ‘We very much look forward the O’Donnell lecture which will be delivered this year by Ned Thomas. He has made a long-standing and significant contribution over many decades to the intellectual life of Wales and internationally to the field of minoritized languages across Europe. This lecture is particularly timely for us in Wales as we reflect on our European identity and our international relationship with language communities and other nations.’

The lecture will be held live in the Council Chamber, National Library of Wales, and online via Zoom on Thursday, 18 May at 17:30.

This is a Welsh language lecture with simultaneous translation into English.

Email cawcs@wales.ac.uk to register for the live event or to receive the Zoom link.

This is a free event. Tea will be served at 17:00.

A warm welcome to all!

Note to Editor

Contact: Dr Angharad Elias (Admin Officer) a.elias@wales.ac.uk

1. The Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (CAWCS) was established by the University of Wales in 1985 as a dedicated research centre conducting team-based projects on the languages, literatures, culture and history of Wales and the other Celtic countries. It is located in Aberystwyth, adjacent to the National Library of Wales, which is an internationally-renowned copyright library with excellent research facilities.

2. CAWCS offers unique opportunities for postgraduate students to work alongside specialists in a dynamic and supportive environment. We welcome enquiries about MPhil/PhD topics in any of our research areas. For more information about research opportunities, or for an informal chat about possible topics, contact our Head of Graduate Studies, Dr Elizabeth Edwards: e.edwards@wales.ac.uk

3. CAWCS is the home of the Dictionary of the Welsh Language, which is celebrated its centenary in 2021: https://www.welsh-dictionary.ac.uk/ 

Further Information

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