Iori Roberts from Norway has been announced as the President of Wales and the World at this year’s National Eisteddfod in Cardiff.
He will be honoured during a ceremony at the beginning of the festival’s Cymanfa Ganu (Congregational Singing), held on Sunday morning 5 August, in the Pavilion, Donald Gordon Theatre in the Wales Millennium Centre.
Originally from Amlwch, Anglesey, Iori Roberts studied Physics at Bangor University, and joined the University’s Drama Company under the watchful eye of dramatist, John Gwilym Jones.
Having graduated, he decided to see the world and in 1964, he left Wales on a ship carrying a load of bananas and travelled to Jamaica, where he worked in a school in Morant Bay for three happy years. He returned to Wales for three weeks before setting off again to Uganda, working as a teacher in a school in Gulu for three years.
He returned to Wales with his young family and spent a year teaching at Abergele’s Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan, but soon decided to see more of the world, moving back to the West Indies and spending two years teaching on the Cayman Islands. He moved back to the UK and taught in the north of England, before moving ‘for the final time’ to Norway.
With a number of Welsh people living in Oslo, Iori and two friends decided to set up the Oslo Welsh Society, a society which still exists today. He lived in Norway for almost thirty year, before ‘semi-retiring’ and returning to Uganda to volunteer with an organisation caring for orphaned children for three years.
After returning to Norway, he organised annual group trips to Watoto, Uganda, to build hoses for the orphaned children. Iori and his wife have also worked in a disadvantaged part of Uganda running courses on how to undertake physics experiments.
Iori is now back in Norway, but this year, we will be welcoming him back home to Wales as the the Wales and the World President in this year’s National Eisteddfod held in Cardiff Bay from 3-11 August.