Former world leaders welcomed to Wales to address global issues

Around 20 former world leaders will visit Wales next month (2-5 June 2015) for a meeting to discuss a range of global issues, less than a year after the NATO Summit was held at the same venue.

Celtic Manor Resort in Newport will host the 32nd Annual Plenary meeting of the InterAction Council, an independent international organisation established in 1983 to mobilise the experience, energy and international contacts of a group of statesmen who have held the highest office in their own countries.

The meeting in Newport will see dignitaries including former Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chrétien, former Chancellor of Austria Franz Vranitzky and former Prime Minister of Ireland Bertie Ahern tackle issues facing the world today such as the economy, the Middle East, global health emergencies like Ebola and the situation in Russia and Ukraine.

InterAction Council Co-Chair Jean Chrétien said: “In the InterAction Council’s 32-year history we have met in cities around the world, and yet this will be our first time meeting in the United Kingdom. One of our Founding members, James Callaghan, represented Cardiff during his time in office, and now his daughter, Margaret Jay, will give the keynote speech to our group in Wales. We look forward to our time in Wales, where we will examine some of the important issues facing Europe and the world.”

Celtic Manor Resort Chief Executive Ian Edwards said: "We look forward to welcoming the InterAction Council to the Celtic Manor Resort for its annual plenary meeting. Following last year's successful staging of the NATO Summit, we are delighted to act as the host venue for another prestigious gathering of world leaders. This is another high-profile international event for Celtic Manor and for Wales."

The Council will be greeted by a performance from the Risca Male Choir, an award-winning group from the town 12 miles from where the former heads of state from countries including Nigeria, Malaysia, New Zealand, Jordan, Brazil, Argentina and Greece will meet.

Marc Tilley, 22, an Aberystwyth University graduate from Cardiff and Najma Hash, 20, a Swansea University student from Cardiff, will co-host the opening ceremony on Wednesday morning, as part of a “Future Forum: Inspiring the Leaders of Tomorrow” session organised by youth organisation Full Circle with support from Rogerstone Community Council and Cardiff Council. 

The Forum will give 100 young people from schools across south-east Wales the opportunity to question the leaders, before taking part in Mock Councils debating the issues of the main meeting. The students will be encouraged to create their own solutions to pressing world issues, before considering how they could solve problems in their own communities.

Nikki Giant, Managing Director of Full Circle Education Solutions said: “Cardiff Council and Full Circle are delighted to offer young people a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet inspirational leaders and renowned experts, and to debate global issues. By engaging young people in decision-making and providing opportunities to develop their leadership potential, we are creating the next generation of inspired, active and skilled leaders.”

The opening ceremony will also see Bassaleg School choir perform before a keynote speech on the “Present State of the World” from Former Leader of the House of Lords, Rt. Hon. the Baroness Margaret Jay of Paddington.

Delegates will have an opportunity to visit the Roman Fortress, Roman Baths Museum and National Roman Legion Museum in nearby Caerleon, as well as to dine at Cardiff Castle in a dinner hosted by the Welsh Government.

Council members will develop proposals for action from the key areas of discussion and communicate these proposals directly to government leaders, other national decision-makers, heads of international organisations and influential individuals around the world. 

In its 32-year history, the InterAction Council has been at the forefront of many prominent issues, most notably the 1997 drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities, a document that counterbalances the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the 2010 Hiroshima Declaration, a powerful plea for the abolishment of nuclear weapons; and the 2012 report, The Global Water Crisis: Addressing an Urgent Security Issue.

About InterAction Council

Established in 1983, the InterAction Council of Former Heads of State and Government is an international organization whose objective is to address long-term, global issues facing humankind. Co-Chaired by the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister of Canada, 1993-2003) and Dr. Franz Vranitzky (Chancellor of Austria, 1986-1997), the Council’s membership is comprised of around forty former heads of state who volunteer their time to develop proposals for action and submit them directly to national and international decision-makers.


If you’d like to attend the event, have interview requests or would like further information, please contact Daniel Tyte ([email protected]) or Ashley Bebbington ([email protected]) at Working Word on +44 29 2045 5182.