Dr Rowan Williams has been announced as the first Patron of leading Welsh charity Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team (EYST) Wales. EYST Wales is a Swansea-based charity supporting ethnic minority people, which in recent years has expanded across Wales.
EYST Wales CEO Rocio Cifuentes extended the invitation on behalf of the trustees, after meeting Dr Williams at her former college Magdalene College, Cambridge University, where he is currently Master. Dr Williams was delighted to accept the invitation, due to his affiliation to Swansea, his home town, and the issues of equality, minorities, refugees and human rights being particularly close to his heart.
Ms Cifuentes came to Swansea with her parents as a baby, fleeing the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. She grew up in Swansea and then went on to read Social and Political Science at Magdalene College Cambridge. She now lives in Oystermouth the parish for which Rowan is now a Baron.
Making the announcement, Ms Cifuentes said “We are delighted to introduce the Reverend Rowan Williams, Baron Williams of Oystermouth, Master of Magdalene College Cambridge, and the former Archbishop of Canterbury as our first ever Patron of EYST Wales. We are thrilled and honoured to have such a prestigious, accomplished and sincere Patron, and look forward to welcoming Rowan in person to EYST Wales in the coming year.
Speaking of his new patronage, Dr Rowan Williams said:
“I am very happy indeed to be patron of EYST Wales. It is vital that every part of our society is able to explore its own experience and find its own voice – especially at a time when racism and exclusivism of various sorts seem to be on the rise again in some quarters. Wales at its best has often been a welcoming home for people of diverse origins and culture; creative diversity is something to be proud of, and I hope that EYST Wales’ work will continue to celebrate this and to make the needs and gifts of people of all ages and backgrounds more visible in Welsh society.’
Dr Williams was educated at Dynevor Secondary Grammar School in Swansea, he came up to Christ's College in 1968. He studied for his doctorate at Christ Church and Wadham College Oxford, His career began as a lecturer at Mirfield (1975-1977). He returned to Cambridge as Tutor and Director of Studies at Westcott House. After ordination in Ely Cathedral, and serving as Honorary Assistant Priest at St George's Chesterton, he was appointed to a University lectureship in Divinity. In 1984 he was elected a Fellow and Dean of Clare College. He returned to Oxford as Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity for six years, before becoming Bishop of Monmouth, and, from 2000, Archbishop of Wales. In 2002, he became the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury.
He was awarded the Oxford higher degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1989, and an honorary DCL degree in 2005; Cambridge followed in 2006 with an honorary DD. He holds honorary doctorates from considerably more than a dozen other universities, from Durham to K U Leuven, Toronto to Bonn. In 1990 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2003 and of the Learned Society of Wales in 2010. In 2013, he was made a life peer, becoming Lord Williams of Oystermouth, in the City and County of Swansea.