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BritainUSA Home > All about Britain

Scotland Week 2008
British Embassy, Washington D.C., 3/31/2008

It's Scotland Week, an opportunity for Americans to celebrate all things Scottish. Kicking off on March 30 and leading up to Tartan Day 2008 (April 6), Scotland Week will feature a variety of activities around the US celebrating Scotland’s academic reputation, business expertise and cultural success on the world stage. 

The Scottish government's First Minister Alex Salmond said:

“Tartan Day is a fantastic opportunity for people throughout the US and Canada to celebrate their affinity with Scotland and the Scottish government is delighted to continue to be part of the celebrations.

"We want to build on the success of Tartan Day with an expanded program for Scotland Week 2008. Events are taking place in seven cities across North America which will highlight Scotland as a dynamic market with great investment potential, showcase Scotland’s outstanding academic reputation and global cultural success.

"Scotland Week is not just about one week of events - it’s about the relationships and interest that will grow throughout the year fostering real prosperity for Scotland.” 

The History of Tartan Day
In 1987, the legislature of Nova Scotia – followed by other Canadian provinces – proclaimed that Tartan Day should coincide with the anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath - also called Scotland’s Declaration of Independence — which was issued on April 6, 2020 at the Arbroath Abbey in Scotland.  In 1998, the United States Senate issued a Tartan Day resolution commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath and the contribution of Scots-Americans. 

Ahead of his trip to American for this year's expanded Scotland Week program in the US, the first minister was given a rare opportunity to view the original Declaration of Arbroath document at a secure National Archives of Scotland facility in Edinburgh.

He said, "There are many scholars who have argued that Jefferson's 18th century Declaration of Independence was in part inspired by this historic document - Scotland's Declaration of Arbroath, signed on April 6, 1320. It is true that Scots wrote of the importance of life and liberty all those centuries ago, and in this year of the 10th anniversary of the Senate's Tartan Day Resolution, I can think of no better place to visit than the Virginia home of Jefferson himself. Jefferson's ability to articulate the principles of liberty, the sovereignty of the individual, the equality of men and restraint of executive power helped define a new era.

"In 1776 it may have been a revolutionary idea to say that people had a right to determine how they were governed. Over 200 years later, we are absolutely certain that it is the people who still have the right to chart the course for their country - and that is exactly the choice we are discussing in Scotland's National Conversation.

"Getting the opportunity to view the Declaration of Arbroath - one of the most, if not the most, famous documents in Scotland's history - will ensure I travel to America with the strongest possible sense of the positive ties that bind our two countries."

“The history and common values that we share with North America are strong. I look forward to addressing Harvard University’s Center for European Studies and the University of Virginia to embrace these shared values, but also to demonstrate the real potential that exists for our two countries to work together on exciting, innovative projects in commerce, academia and culture Scotland Week Events."

The Tenth Annual Tartan Day Parade
The first minister will represent the Scottish government at the tenth annual Tartan Day Parade on 6th Avenue in New York City, which is always a great focal point of the celebrations.

This year's Tartan Day Parade Grand Marshall will be Lawrence Tynes, the starting kicker for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL) and the first Scottish-born player in the NFL. Mr. Tynes, born in Greenock, Scotland, moved to the United States with his family as a 10-year old in 1989. His soccer kicking skills were discovered and leveraged to football as he went on to play for Troy State University. On April 5,  Mr. Tynes will swap the Giants uniform for his kilt as he kicks off the Parade, leading more than 2,000 bagpipers, clans and Scottish enthusiasts up Sixth Avenue through Rockefeller Center.

Lawrence Tynes--the first Scottish player in US professional football--is the Grand Marshall of this year's Tartan Day Parade.

VisitScotland, which promotes travel to Scotland. will also organize a number of activities promoting tourism and profiling Scotland as a must-see, must-visit destination. Homecoming Scotland will be at the heart of all of VisitScotland’s Scotland Week marketing and PR. There will also be a range of exciting events taking place such as live performances by the Red Hot Chilli Pipers to cookery demos with Scottish Chef of the Year 2007 Tom Kitchin.  

As part of Scotland Week, Scottish Development International are holding a series of business-facing events in Boston, Chicago, Houston, New York, Seattle and Toronto targeted at key business influencers and Globalscots. SDI, the Scottish government’s inward investment agency, was instrumental in bringing over £95 million pounds ($189,000) worth of investment to Scotland from North American based companies in 2006-2007. 

2009 will be an important year for Scotland. Homecoming Scotland 2009 - a Scottish government initiative managed by EventScotland in partnership with VisitScotland - will run from Burns night (January 25) to St. Andrew’s Day (November 30) next year.  Homecoming Scotland 2009 aims to motivate people of Scottish descent, as well as those who simply love Scotland, to come home and join an inspirational celebration of Scotland’s culture, heritage and the many great contributions Scotland has given the world.  2009 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s national poet and cultural icon, Robert Burns. The anniversary has provided a catalyst for the Homecoming Scotland project themes, which include Burns, whisky, golf, ancestry, The Enlightenment and Innovation.

The First Minister's Scotland Week Activities
The frst minister will be leading Scotland Week activities in Boston, Virginia, Washington and New York with ministers active in a total of seven cities across the US and Canada. Key elements of his planned program include:

BOSTON - March 31, 2020
- Opening of new Scottish Development International Office
- Speech at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies in collaboration with Harvard Business School on ‘Creating the Celtic Lion Economy’

VIRGINIA - April 1, 2020
- Speech on ‘Scotland and America; lessons from the land of Jefferson’ at the University of Virginia.

WASHINGTON, DC - April 2, 2020
- Meeting President of Inter-American Development Bank
- Speech at National Geographic Society on ‘Renewable Energy; innovations that can save our planet.’
- Jointly hosting Tartan Day Reception with Scottish Parliament and the National Tartan Day Committee on Capitol Hill
- Hosting Tartan Day Congressional Dinner with Friends of Scotland Congressional Caucus, Library of Congress

April 3, 2020
- Presenting gift from Scotland to PGA Tournament Verizon Classic

NEW YORK - April 3, 2020
- Hosting SDI/VisitScotland - Business First Reception

April 4, 2020
- Roundtable discussion on life sciences
- Business meetings with key financial services companies

April 5, 2020
- Representing Scottish government in Tartan Day Parade

Also traveling to North America for Scotland Week is the Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture Linda Fabiani who will attend a range of events promoting Scottish culture in New York, Washington and Toronto. Ms. Fabiani will be joined by Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament Alex Fergusson to start the 5th annual Scotland Run in Central Park, one of the biggest runs on the calendar for New York road runners, and give out prizes. She will engage with the cultural sector and attend a performance of Scottish Youth Theatre’s “When a Star Falls” in New York. While in Toronto, Ms. Fabiani will visit the Scottish Studies Program at Guelph University to hear about their work and the historical and cultural links between Scotland and Canada. 

The Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism Jim Mather will travel to the states of Washington, California and Texas to host business events promoting Scottish enterprise and innovation. Mr. Mather will meet with the vice president of Microsoft in Seattle. He will engage with business leaders around the US through private meetings and targeted Scottish Development International business events. In Houston and Austin, Mr. Mather will focus on the oil and gas industry developing links and promoting Aberdeen as a world leader in this sector.  

The Scottish government is looking beyond Scotland Week and working with the organizers of Dressed to Kilt and Scotland's colleges and design schools to enable young Scottish designers to take part. This will see talented students compete for sponsorship to travel to New York to showcase their work during New York fashion week in October. 

For comment on the Scotland Week announcement from Sir Sean Connery, Alan Wilson OBE, Jack Perry, Phillip Riddle and Vicky Featherstone, visit the Scottish government's website.

Notes to editors :

  1. 1 GBP = 1.99 USD as of March 31, 2008.
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