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US Ambassador to the UK hosts reception for international partners in the Plymouth 400 Commemoration

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September 14, 2016
PLYMOUTH, MA— Representatives from Plymouth 400, the organization leading the planning of events and programs honoring the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage and founding of Plymouth Colony, attended a reception held at the private residence of the American Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Matthew Barzun, to celebrate the global partnerships and mounting support for this commemoration of national and international significance. Plymouth 400, based in Massachusetts, has been working to plan and promote the 2020 Commemoration, a four-nation collaboration between the United States, the federally-recognized Wampanoag Tribes, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands; all integral to this iconic moment in American history.
The reception was attended by more than 400 representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands and included government officials, business leaders, educational professionals, and leaders in the tourism industry.
The American delegation included Ellie Donovan, Executive Director of Plimoth Plantation; Gary Maestas, Superintendent of Plymouth Public Schools, Anita Walker, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council; Lea Filson Sinclair, Governor General of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants; Michele Pecoraro, Executive Director of Plymouth 400; Selectman Anthony Provenzano, Plymouth 400 Executive Board Member; and Brenton Simons, President and Executive Director of the New England historic Genealogical Society.
“This extraordinary history of America’s earliest beginnings actually played out in three nations, a fact that we seldom acknowledge in the telling of the story of the English Pilgrims and Native Wampanoag people,” said Michele Pecoraro, Executive Director of Plymouth 400. “The story usually begins and ends with images of Native and English people sharing a harvest meal, the iconic American Thanksgiving.  In planning this 400th anniversary in 2020 there has emerged an unprecedented collaboration between four Nations.  England and the Netherlands where the Pilgrims started their journey, and the Native American Wampanoag Nations along with Plymouth Colony, the “small candle” that sparked the imagination of those who came later, inspiring the formation of United States of America. Our collective hope is that the 400th anniversary reveals the complex relationships of all cultures touched by the journey of the Mayflower Pilgrims, and their relevance today.”
Adrian Vinken OBE, Chairman of Mayflower 400 UK, the organization leading the planning and promotion of the 2020 Commemoration in the United Kingdom, said, “We are most grateful to the American Ambassador, Matthew Barzun, and his wife Brooke for their support of Mayflower 400 and for their generous hospitality in their beautiful home.  It was great to be able to bring together so many distinguished guests to demonstrate the increasing support for this important anniversary and its many exciting programs.  The Mayflower’s journey provided the golden thread which directly links Magna Carta’s principles of individual liberty of freedom under the law to the US Constitution.  It is at the very heart of the ‘Special Relationship’ between our two nations.”
Also in attendance were the recently-appointed Royal Patrons to Mayflower 400, The Earl, Charles Courtenay and his wife Allison Joy Langer-Courtenay, Countess of Devon. In his remarks the Earl outlined the vision and plans for the commemoration.
Plymouth 400 and Mayflower 400 formalized their partnership in April with the signing of the Plymouth 400 Anniversary Memorandum of Understanding; a document which states the two organizations’ shared goals of commemorating this globally significant moment in history that ultimately forged an alliance which continues to impact the world today.
About Plymouth 400, Inc.
Plymouth 400, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization formed to lead the planning and execution of programs and events commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony in 2020. The Plymouth 400 Anniversary will highlight the cultural contributions and American traditions that began with the interaction of the Wampanoag and English peoples, a story that significantly shaped the building of America.
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