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Wales in France 2023-2024

Wales in France was a collaborative initiative convened by the Welsh Government to spotlight resource and focus on France.

The year sought to utilise the profile-raising opportunities of the Rugby World Cup and work with partners within and outside of government to raise Wales’ profile both in France and on the world stage, furthering economic and international relations objectives by delivering strategic activations with focal cities and priority sectors where long-term, equitable and sustainable partnerships could be catalysed.

The promotion of contemporary Welsh values on an international stage was at the heart of all activities, with young, ethnically diverse, female and LGBTIQ+ voices platformed throughout the programme as well as consistently raising awareness of the Welsh language, history and culture. From a business perspective, we maintained our commitment to deliver economic growth and net zero through green energy, decarbonisation and sustainable policies for future generations.

France is an economic powerhouse for Wales; there are 80 French companies operating in Wales, employing more than 10,0000 people. France is also the number one export destination for Welsh food and drink.

Overall, the year supported 5 trade missions to France, 4 inward delegations and seven strategic activations in the green energy and marine renewables space. This included a Welsh-French organised and First Minister-led symposium which built on a year of focused engagement with the eleven French companies and Welsh delegation present.

Many of the culture, sports and education-based projects of the year were also enablers that provided an engagement or profile-raising opportunity targeted to high-priority economic stakeholders. Early figures indicate that at least £30 million of investment into Wales has been secured, supporting more than 1,000 jobs.

Welsh culture is a huge strength in terms of promoting Wales on the world stage. Artists were vital in supporting the year’s international relations aims – we had Tredegar beat-boxer Dean Yhell delighting Ambassadors and titans of industry at the British Embassy, National Dance Company Wales doing a half time performance at a packed Stade de France and Hijinx sharing expertise in disability theatre in Lille. Welsh culture has been a vital mechanism in profile raising and establishing new networks.

The Wales in France open-call cultural fund was an innovative partnership between the British Council in France and Wales, Wales Arts International and Welsh Government which:

  • Invested in the development of Welsh artistic and cultural networks in France, this including a first-time partnership between the National Eisteddfod with Lorient Festival Interceltique.
  • Showcased our culture, heritage, and language to new audiences, supporting NoFit States performances in Lyon and Gruff Rhys’s debut of his new album in Paris.
  • Facilitated skills-sharing and outreach work, enabling Newport theatre company Dirty Protest to work with young asylum seekers in rural France.

The year drew to a close with a reciprocal loan of paintings by Renoir and Van Gogh between Wales and France, enabled by a new partnership between Amgueddfa Cymru and Musée d’Orsay.

Several projects facilitated by the Wales in France year are being further supported by the British Council UK France Spotlight, including supporting the BBC National Orchestra of Wales to further collaborate with the Orchestre National de Bretagne in Rennes.

Communicating Wales’ commitment to youth mobility and providing reciprocal intercultural experiences to young people in both Wales and France was a vital workstream for the year.

Throughout the Wales in France year, the Urdd Gobiath Cymru was able to engage more than 800 young French people in Welsh language activity across Lorient, Nantes and Lyon. The British Council has successfully developed 29 new schools’ partnerships between Wales and France, as well as confirming a new school twinning between Nantes and Cardiff. Welsh Government’s Cymraeg2050 team facilitated open-access Welsh lessons for 70 children and young people in Nantes.

The legacy for this work continues. Using Taith funding, the Urdd will support 100 Welsh children to attend Lorient Festival Interceltique this year, with a reciprocal visit of Breton children to Llangrannog.

UNESCO and OECD are headquartered in Paris, offering an opportunity to utilise the Wales in France concept as a springboard for profile raising engagement in areas of mutual interest. The year was kicked off with a First Minister-led 15-strong Welsh delegation heading up a learning and exchange networking with UNESCO secretariat and Member States to identify new relationships in the youth, arts, heritage, social values and language revitalisation spheres.

The Future Generations Office led on engagement with the OECD on well-being economies and is continuing to develop this work though a formal partnership with French think-tank ‘Villes et territoires durables’ to facilitate policy learning exchanges with Welsh and French public bodies.

An extensive programme with Brittany celebrated Wales’ historic and cultural links and included an enhanced Wales presence at Lorient Festival Interceltique, Welsh language activities and an official signing of a revised action plan for continued cooperation at the year close event in Amgueddfa Cymru. The year aimed to develop new cooperations in the green energy and innovation sphere, an area which has significant economic and social potential for Wales.

The Rugby World Cup provided opportunities to capture the profile-raising opportunities of sport to create new links with strategic focus cities in France. The resulting sports diplomacy programme prioritised relationship development, as-well as showcasing and profile-raising activity underpinning the formal engagement from three Ministerial visits.

Scoping visits and multiple engagement points through the year linked Welsh partners with French counterparts for activations at all levels of society from policy dialogues between local authorities, to music showcases and commercial partnerships.

Wales Arts International continued to innovate in the sports diplomacy space, leading an extensive cultural programme that coordinated with the Urdd activity and delivered public showcasing in fanzones of major Welsh artists, relationship building delegations of visual arts and dance and business showcasing at B2B congresses in Lyon and Paris.

Nantes is a city of art and culture with a progressive sustainability agenda and the rugby outreach here delivered 2 larger-scale showcase events, alongside an extensive programme of strategic activations and partner delivered activity in both Brittany and Nantes that included schools’ outreach with over 800 children, Welsh language events, rugby hospitality, delegations, fanzone performances and business roundtables.

A highlight was Cardiff Council, Welsh Government and Nantes Métropole together supporting Clwb Ifor Bach and French venue Stereolux to collaborate on hosting a live music showcase where Welsh hip-hop and punk played alongside bands from Brittany, Bordeaux and Nantes. The opportunity also catalysed a first-time partnership between national broadcasters in Wales and France, S4C and France3 (French national free-to-air TV broadcaster), who partnered on filming and broadcasting the gig in Welsh, Breton and French.

Illustrating the commitment to working collaboratively, Wales adopted a local venue Maison de l’Europe as a Wales House for the tournament, operating as a temporary diplomatic hub. Through the partnership, the venue hosted a month of activity including open-access Welsh lessons, an exhibition and a networking event and cultural showcase. Six months later, our contacts there are still fielding enquiries from Nantes partners for engagement with Wales.

As the second city of focus for the Rugby World Cup’s sport diplomacy activities, Lyon shared Welsh values on inclusion, diversity and sustainability which, along with a focus on food showcasing, were the touchpoints Wales used to build engagement. Welsh Government worked collaboratively with Hybu Cig Cymru, Food Innovation Wales and Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie on a Minister-hosted food and culture showcase to celebrate France being the number 1 export destination for Welsh produce.

The Urdd supported a 35-strong Welsh youth choir from Carmarthen to perform across the city with celebrated soprano Jessica Robinson and led outreach workshops in local secondary schools. The Wales Arts International cultural programme also platformed Querin, contemporary dancers who weave Welsh folk-dancing with Queer nightlife, to showcase at the famed Lyon Biennale and perform in fanzones.

As a global example of multiculturalism and diversity in the arts, Welsh engagement with Marseille included a performance by Butetown-based Welsh breakers Jukebox in the Vieux Port and a visit by the Arts Council Wales Agent for Change, opening the doors to more work together understanding opportunities to support diversity in the arts.

The Wales in France year opened and closed with Wales hosting a delegation of French business and diplomatic contacts at the Six Nations, illustrating the importance of capturing the profile-raising opportunities of sport to the wider programme. The team has commissioned an evaluation of the year to take place to inform, and evidence, future policy and further our understanding and expertise of sports diplomacy and cultural relations practice and policy at a variety of scales and ambitions.

Wales and Africa

One of the key ambitions in our International Strategy was to establish Wales as a globally responsible nation. The Welsh Government’s Wales and Africa programme aims to fulfil this ambition by developing sustainable partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa, supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. For almost 20 years, Wales has been developing and deepening community or institution-based links and partnerships with sub-Saharan Africa. Partnerships characterise the Welsh approach to international development, sharing experiences and knowledge in a spirit of mutual respect and reciprocity.

The Wales and Africa Action Plan (2020-2025) set out a number of key actions that supports Wales in delivering the ambition of being a globally responsible nation.

Several key achievements were made against these actions during 2023-2024, including working closely with Fair Trade Wales, Scottish Fair Trade Forum and the Scottish Government to develop new criteria for nations to use when working towards and maintaining their Fair Trade Nation status. An event to highlight the new criteria and celebrate 15 years of Wales’ being a Fair Trade Nation was held in the Senedd in July 2023.

The Wales and Africa team also arranged 9 successful International Learning Opportunities (ILO) placements during 2023-2024 – 1 in Uganda, 3 in Namibia and 5 in Lesotho. Welsh professionals from different sectors and at different stages in their careers were able to share their expertise and help organisations in Africa to effect positive changes. Participants felt the benefits too, returning home with new skills and fresh perspectives that make them more effective in their everyday roles.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals include a strong commitment to gender equality - a recognition that women are entitled to the same rights and opportunities as men, and to lives free from violence and discrimination. The Wales and Africa Action Plan commits to taking action on gender and equality in Uganda and Lesotho.

In the Mbale and Masaka districts of Uganda, women often find themselves marginalised in political, economic and social life. In a year-long pilot project, Size of Wales aimed to strengthen the role of women and girls in tackling climate change and managing natural resources sustainably – helping them to become agents of change. With funding from a Wales and Africa Gender Empowerment Grant, Size of Wales co-designed the project with three partner organisations: Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise, Masaka District Landcare Chapter Leadership, and the International Tree Foundation. Their work included a range of initiatives to make a positive impact on the lives of women, their households and their communities.

One of the most effective activities was the training of 44 gender champions – 25 women and 19 men. They were able to improve their communication, teamwork, coordination and networking skills. In addition, 40 women were trained in leadership and decision making, and were able to pass their training on to a further 664 women. The project has produced sustainable and climate-resilient livelihood opportunities, helping women to generate income by setting up kitchen gardens, growing cashew nuts and keeping bees. The participants were provided with seed funding, training and essential equipment. In providing easier access to clean water, the project also helped to improve quality of life for women in rural Uganda – some of whom had previously needed to walk for up to four hours to collect water. These absences from the home had been identified as a frequent pretext for domestic violence. Nineteen local savings and loans associations received training support, tackling topics including financial literacy, management, record keeping and loans recovery.

The project challenged and changed attitudes to gender in Ugandan rural communities. Women are now able to buy land in their own names – a practice not previously permitted. Participants have reported increased confidence in making decisions, both at family and community level. A number of women are now planning to stand in local elections. Within Wales, these stories have been widely shared to raise awareness of the impact that climate change has on women, and their role in tackling the crisis. Presentations were held during Wales Youth COP27 events, the Hub Cymru Africa summer summit, events to mark International Women’s Day, and visits to schools and community groups. Size of Wales has engaged with more than 700 young people and other members of the public, including many from the African diaspora living in Wales.

A number of Welsh organisations received funding through the Wales and Africa programme to work in close collaboration with their African partners, to deliver life-changing projects: providing better livelihoods for women, promoting gender integration to fight the effects of climate change, and helping girls complete their education. For example, working with partner organisations in Uganda, Size of Wales designed a project that empowered rural women to tackle climate change and sustainability issues in their communities. This project also helped worked towards the tree planting commitment set out in our Action Plan, to support the distribution of over 3 million trees every year in Uganda, working towards Size of Wales’ target of 50 million trees by 2030.

In March, the Wales and Africa programme supported Hub Cymru Africa to hold an extremely successful and vibrant celebratory event in the Senedd. This event recognised the hard work, dedication and achievements of the international development and solidarity community in Wales, who work tirelessly towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Wales’ Relationship with Birmingham, Alabama

Wales has a relationship with the city of Birmingham, Alabama, which spans decades. The relationship was born out of the response by the people of Wales to the tragic events that took place on 15 September 1963, when the 16th Street Baptist Church was bombed in an act of white supremacist terrorism committed by the Ku Klux Klan. The explosion at the church killed four girls attending Sunday School and injured a further 22 people. The church itself suffered significant damage, a gaping hole was blown into its side, all of the windows were shattered and the face of Jesus in the church’s main stained-glass window was destroyed.

The bombing was a significant moment in US history, altering forever the course of the civil rights movement and became, according to many, a catalyst for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The bombing was reported internationally. As a gesture of solidarity with the African American community in Birmingham, the people of Wales raised funds for the creation of a stained-glass window for the church, designed by Welsh artist John Petts. The Wales Window depicts the crucifixion of a black Christ, the right hand pushing away hatred and injustice, the left offering forgiveness. The window was dedicated in 1965 and is still a central part of the 16th Street Baptist Church community.

Building from the historic link between Wales and the 16th Street Baptist Church, there has been ongoing activity between organisations in Wales and Birmingham, with a focus on education and culture. The Welsh Government’s Atlanta office has worked to develop relationships and facilitate connections since 2018. Stakeholders have expressed interest in growing the relationship with Wales, given this natural connection, and contacts on both sides of the Atlantic have been welcoming and enthusiastic.

Former Education Minister Kirsty Williams visited in 2019. The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) developed an annual study abroad programme at Aberystwyth University, signing an MOU in 2020 and in 2022, a choir from Urdd Gobaith Cymru, Wales’ largest national youth organisation, visited the city before a reciprocal visit to Wales by the UAB Gospel Choir in summer 2023.

2023 saw the 60th anniversary of the bombing and a series of events took place in Wales and Alabama to mark this occasion. One of the cultural partnerships that has grown over the years is between the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the Urdd. In June 2023, UAB’s Gospel Choir performed across Wales including at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Llandovery and live on S4C. In Cardiff, the UAB Gospel Choir held a performance event at the Senedd hosted by the First Minister and in the presence of John Petts – the Wales Window designer’s - 2 sons.

In September, the Minister for Economy travelled to Alabama to sign an International Friendship Pact between Wales and Birmingham and commemorate the 60th anniversary of the bombing. In addition, he undertook a wider programme, meeting with businesses and economic institutions from the region, prominent US, State and City officials and leaders from Alabama’s civil rights movement. The minister spoke alongside US Supreme Court Justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson, at the invitation of the 16th Street Baptist Church as it commemorated the 60th anniversary of the bombing.

The minister’s contribution to the ceremony also gave Wales the opportunity to pay tribute to the enduring legacy of the campaign for racial justice that Birmingham has championed, which has inspired people of colour across the world, including here in Wales. He was able to meet with friends and families of the victims and deliver a message of solidarity and friendship on behalf of the people of Wales. In a moving moment of the visit, the minister was welcomed at the home of Lisa McNair and Kimberly Brock McNair, whose 11-year-old sister Denise was among those killed in the bombing, and presented them with a gift from Wales. He also heard about their father’s efforts to document the Civil Rights Movement and life as an African American during the 1960s through photography.

Over the last 6 decades, Wales and Birmingham have forged a long-standing and meaningful relationship based on friendship. The minister’s visit was an opportunity to formalise this friendship through the signing of an International Friendship Pact, between Wales and the city of Birmingham, with Mayor Randall Woodfin signing the agreement on behalf of Birmingham. It is hoped that, in coming years, the Pact will build on these connections by fostering greater collaboration, enhancing cultural exchanges, supporting opportunities for stronger economic growth, and creating mutual benefits for both regions across the key areas of Arts and Culture, Life Sciences and Healthcare, and Education.

To symbolise this friendship, the Minister took part in a tree dedication ceremony in Kelly Ingram Park, alongside Mayor Woodfin. They dedicated 4 trees symbolising the memory of the 4 girls who were murdered - Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Morris Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair. A commemorative plaque was unveiled to mark the 60 years of friendship between Wales and Birmingham. The plaque contains text in Welsh and English – “Mewn undod mae nerth – Strength in unity” – this important Welsh phrase was central to the minister’s remarks at the ceremony, the Friendship Pact itself and was reflected throughout the entire visit.

The minister took part in a panel session with leading activists from the Birmingham civil rights movement at the historic Sloss Furnaces. This was an opportunity to discuss lived experiences and the actions that we are taking in Wales and Alabama to combat racism. Conversations around the publication of the Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan demonstrated Wales’ commitment to equality. The session was also attended by young people from the Urdd, who were in Birmingham to learn about civil rights and promote the 2023 Peace and Goodwill message about anti-racism.

Finally, there was an opportunity to bring together partners who had supported the visit and developed the Friendship Pact. Birmingham Sister Cities hosted a traditional Southern cookout reception for key stakeholders across business, education, and culture in the Birmingham and Wales partnership. The event was an opportunity to spend time with young volunteers from the Urdd alongside civil rights activists and the partners responsible for delivering our collaborative activities.

This was a visit of solemnity and commemoration, but also one that looked ahead to a better tomorrow. In addition to prompting future exchanges, a roundtable with the business ecosystem in Birmingham identified promising opportunities to take forward links with Wales in fields ranging from oncology and automation in manufacturing. The International Friendship Pact reaffirmed joint commitment at both the political and community level to drive the relationship forward.

Just a few days after this visit, the US Ambassador to the UK, H.E. Jane D. Hartley, came to Wales. Ambassador Hartley discussed the Birmingham Commemoration and expressed interest in supporting efforts to strengthen the bonds between both communities to help sustain a positive legacy for people in Wales and the USA, cementing this friendship at all levels.

Compound Semiconductors - the Wales Offer

Wales is home to the first compound semiconductor cluster in the world. The cluster is home to highly innovative companies, skilled workers, and university-led advanced research & development (R&D).

The cluster has been identified by the Welsh and UK governments as an area for high potential growth. In south Wales, the cluster is dominated by US investors that provide the region with high quality, well-paid jobs. Given this, and the high potential for growth that has been identified, there has been a focus on promoting what Wales has to offer in this sector, primarily within the USA, but also globally at events in markets such as South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Germany.

This focus on the compound semiconductor sector has already promised to deliver more than $300m in new investment into Wales from the USA alone – supporting more than 600 jobs this year and over the next couple of years. Further investments to grow the sector are also in the pipeline. Many of the American investments are as a result of relationship building between the CEOs of major companies in the USA and Welsh Government officials in Wales and overseas.

There have also been a number of outward facing activities during the year to promote the sector on a global scale.


In March 2023, the Minister for Economy visited KLA in California to discuss plans to invest $100 million and create 200 jobs at its Newport facility. Commercial confidentiality, and the timing of the meeting, meant that this was not included in the 2022-2023 annual report. KLA’s investment includes a new research, development and manufacturing facility.

The new state-of-the-art innovation centre will provide over 25,000 square feet of cleanrooms for R&D and more than 35,000 square feet of bespoke manufacturing assembly halls, whilst also including offices, cleanrooms, storage and support facilities to accommodate up to 750 employees.

Commitment from Ministers, supplementing the day-to-day relationship developed between our US and Wales-based teams and the company resulted in a substantial investment into Wales from a global leader in the sector. KLA’s CEO has spoken highly of the sector in Wales saying that the investment can take advantage of the “region's attractive talent pool and benefit from an appealing quality of life with access to many international sporting events, historic parks and outdoor activities”.

Working with our partners, CS Connected, the US team attended the CS ManTech conference in California in May 2023. This conference allows us an opportunity to reflect the innovation within Wales’ compound semiconductor supply chain.

In July 2023, a delegation from the Welsh Government attended the Semicon West conference in California. During this conference, discussions were had with existing investors, new investors and the US Department of Commerce. Based on the UK Government’s endorsement of Wales’ compound semiconductor capability, we worked with the Department for Business and Trade in San Francisco – taking part in some of the visits and meetings arranged by DBT, alongside our own programme. As a direct result of attendance at this event, one US investor could announce an investment in Wales in 2025 creating 50 jobs. This is a unique private-public sector partnership involving the company, the CS Catapult and local universities, bringing high value jobs to our graduates.

In October, the US team visited Arizona with the British Consulate General in Los Angeles to learn about the semiconductor sector in Arizona and to raise the profile of the sector in Wales. The Welsh Government sponsored a reception on collaboration opportunities between both sides of the Atlantic.

Working with Space Forge US (a Welsh company which has expanded into the USA) and the UK Government, in January 2024 we supported an event which explored space manufacturing – including semiconductor manufacturing. The event was attended by industry, NASA and federal government leaders.

SEMI is a California-based organisation that promotes the semiconductor sector. SEMI UK was launched in January 2024 in Cardiff Castle with KLA and the Minister for Economy. It has been created to promote the UK's semiconductor sector and is made up of senior decision makers from across UK and international companies.

In February 2024, the US team attended Photonics West conference in California with CS Connected. This provided another opportunity to promote the cluster on the West Coast and specifically to users of semiconductors.

The year ended where it was announced that California-based Vishay had purchased Newport Wafer Fab. This will see a $200 million investment being made to the Fab and 400 jobs safeguarded. Vishay announced it is ready to work with local universities on R&D opportunities. Given the success of the cluster, we will continue to promote the cluster at appropriate events in the USA and further our discussions with pre-identified investors.

Globally, it has been identified that there is a skills shortage within this sector. Universities in the cluster have a number of training opportunities as well as advanced R&D capabilities.

Throughout the year, officials from the Welsh Government in Wales and overseas have worked closely with CSConnected and relevant universities on the needs of businesses. Working together, we have been able to work directly with businesses on bespoke training packages which, in turn, creates jobs in Wales.

The CHIPS Act in the USA provides an opportunity for Welsh universities to be funded to undertake R&D with American partners. We have been undertaking scoping work with universities in the USA (primarily in Arizona) on potential areas of collaboration between Welsh and US universities. Working with CS Connected we are arranging a future mission for Welsh universities to visit Arizona to further develop potential research collaborations.

We are also working with Study in Wales and Global Wales on potential exchange and R&D opportunities in the field of advanced manufacturing and materials and semiconductor production. This would involve funding from the US Federal Government with discussions on this progressing.

The focus of the work on compound semiconductors has, primarily, been in the USA. However, a significant amount of work has been undertaken in other markets to showcase Wales’ capability in this sector. A selection of activities is below:


  • Australia - Visit from the Australian High Commissioner to Wales Tech Week to explore collaboration opportunities with the Australian compound semiconductor cluster.
  • Japan - Swansea University is currently in dialogue with Japanese companies on collaboration programmes. Japanese investors have visited Wales to explore links for power electronics and high-power photonics as a result of work undertaken by the Welsh Government’s Tokyo office. JETRO (the Japan External Trade Organisation) visited London and met with Welsh Government officials. In December, we attended Semicon Japan where we had a stand presence at the show and hosted a reception at the UK Embassy with a focus on Power Electronics, which was attended by more than 100 guests.
  • Taiwan - In September, we attended Semicon Taiwan, supporting a UK trade mission of 18 companies and CSConnected, to promote Wales’ offer.
  • Malaysia - the Sarawak government (region of Malaysia) visited Wales three times, along with semiconductor cluster members, to discuss collaboration opportunities resulting in the signing of an MOU with CSA Catapult.
  • South Korea - In February, we attended Semicon Korea to showcase Wales’ offer.


  • Spain - Wales has signed an MOU with Catalonia which includes a focus on compound semiconductors. Catalonia is seeking to develop its own cluster. Wales Tech Week was attended by representatives from the Basque Country who had with a programme of meetings with Wales’ compound semiconductor cluster.
  • Belgium - Wales signed the European Silicon Regions Alliance (ESRA) in Brussels in September, which was attended by Derek Vaugan who signed on behalf of the Welsh Ministers. Wales was the only UK region to be invited to sign the partnership with 26 other regions across Europe. This has resulted in the first meeting of the Sherpa Working Group which took place in Munich to explore collaboration opportunities through Horizon and IPCE.
  • Norway – working with CSConnected, officials took part in Oslo Tech Week in September, presenting the Wales offer and collaboration opportunities to companies as well as attending workshops on AI and Energy.
  • Germany - MOUs have been signed with Baden-Württemberg and Saxony with semiconductors included as potential areas for collaboration. In addition, a Declaration of Intent has been signed with the Bavarian government in November. The signings were attended by the Minister for Economy, who then visited Semicon Europa where he met with companies including KLA. Semicon Europa also resulted in a meeting with an investor who is keen to explore opportunities in Wales as it plans to open another centre in the UK to complement an existing UK facility.

Bringing the World to Wales

Our increasing international profile is being reflected in the number of diplomatic and international visits to Wales – more than 100 last year. We use these opportunities to showcase our strengths and share our aim to be a globally responsible nation.

As well as an increasing number of visits, we have been able to attract and support impactful events which offer important opportunities for engagement, whilst also demonstrating our commitment to be an outward-looking nation. These offer moments for Wales to share our learning and to learn from others.

Maintaining connections with Europe

Welcoming international and diplomatic visitors from Europe has been a key part of our activity over the last year. Many of which have made important statements about who we are, our shared beliefs and values and a commitment to continue to collaborate.

In May 2023, we facilitated the CPMR Atlantic Arc Commission General Assembly which was held in Cardiff – bringing together ministers and senior officials from a range of EU regions, plus Québec, to discuss strengthened inter-regional cooperation in the Atlantic area. This was the first time the General Assembly had been held in the UK after Brexit and offered an important opportunity to demonstrate that we can continue to cooperate on shared interests following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. Wales was able to take a central role in the Assembly which was attended by ministers and the Welsh Government’s Representative on Europe.

Wales – an innovating and listening nation

We have supported a number of visits to Wales that have discussed a range of innovative approaches here, including our groundbreaking Well-being of Future Generations Act and other activity such as our Anti-Racist and LGBTQ+ Action Plans.

In November 2023, we supported the ‘Leadership for Future Generations’ summit at Swansea University with Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was accompanied by former US President Bill Clinton. The First Minister also participated in the summit speaking as part of the panel. The event offered an opportunity to talk to an audience, which included young people and international attendees online, about a number of issues that show our commitment to global responsibility such as peace, community resilience, climate change and changing technologies.

Using our international partnerships to showcase our strengths

We signed a number of new international agreements this year including Flanders, Baden-Württemberg, Silesia and Birmingham, AL in addition to taking forward our existing agreements. We have taken the opportunity to welcome delegations from our partner regions to Wales sharing our innovations and thinking.

In October 2023, we welcomed a delegation from our priority regions to Wales Tech Week in Newport.

The event creates opportunities to connect people and businesses in Tech.

By focussing on digital, cyber and artificial intelligence, we invited representatives from Silesia, Catalonia, the Basque Country, Flanders, Baden-Württemberg and Québec to attend the event and an international reception hosted by the Health Minister.

We also developed a bespoke programme beyond the event that included site visits to key industries in South Wales.