Last month, our Executive Director Michele Pecoraro and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Anita Walker traveled to the United Kingdom where they had productive meetings with the US Ambassador to the UK Matthew Barzun and leaders in the Mayflower 400 commemorative events and programs taking place in the United Kingdom.
Here are some key soundbytes from the trip, from both the US visitors and our UK partners in the commemoration:
Ambassador Matthew Barzun, pictured above the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth, UK (Photo via Plymouth Herald): “They are thinking big, as they should be. This is a big deal, there are lots of reasons to be excited about it. I think they are bringing the best learnings to bear on this commemoration so the connections that are being built will continue up through 2020 and beyond.”
Michele Pecoraro and Anita Walker with the D-Day memorial in Plymouth, UK
Michele Pecoraro: “The response from these important agencies has been very positive. Their support and the support of our Federal and State governments is what is necessary to bring this commemoration to the people of the United States, and citizens of the world. Corporate sponsorship will be key going forward, but private corporations are going to expect to match a commitment of public funds for such a National and International anniversary. With less than five years to go, we are intently focused on building and strengthening that support.”
Anita Walker: “This trip to Plymouth England brought into high relief the opportunity in front of us with the fast approaching Plymouth 400. The UK has already invested to support cultural activities in connection with the event. Our UK cultural partners are eager to connect with their Massachusetts counterparts to organize joint commissions, concerts and exhibitions. Millions of people are expected to visit Massachusetts and England in and around 2020 to discover and explore the place where the Mayflower set sail for freedom and the place where it found a home in America.”
Ambassador Barzun (left) with Adrian Vinken, Chair of the Mayflower 400 Organization in the UK (Photo via Plymouth Herald)
Adrian Vinken: “The Mayflower voyage is arguably the single most influential ocean voyage the world has ever known, a voyage that led the creation of the most powerful nation on earth. This 400th anniversary is a key milestone and we are working closely together to make it a truly memorable occasion of international significance to both sides of the Atlantic.”
The British government has already adopted this commemoration nationally, and has pledged support for infrastructure, revitalization, and tourism product development in preparation for 2020, the tourism element of which has begun through the government’s £5 million South West Tourism fund. Plymouth 400, Inc. is working with Governor Baker’s office to activate the State Commission formed to advance the Commonwealth’s support of the 2020 commemoration, and has also engaged with Congressman Keating and Massachusetts Senate President Stanley Rosenberg on the Federal and State levels.
Read more here.