Siwan Dafydd from Llandeilo is new President of Urdd Gobaith Cymru

Siwan Fflur Dafydd from Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire will be President of youth organisation Urdd Gobaith Cymru for 2016/17. She will also Chair the Bwrdd Syr IfanC Board, the Urdd national youth forum, for the year.

A former pupil of Ysgol Gymraeg Teilo Sant and Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Myrddin, Siwan is now in her second year studying history at Birmingham University, and is an active member of the Birmingham Welsh Society where she hopes to help establish a new Urdd Aelwyd group.

Reacting to her appointment, Siwan said, “It is a privilege to be chosen as president of an organisation that gives so many fantastic opportunities to young people. One of the best things about the Urdd is the fact that it acknowledges that we as young people have a voice, and they pay attention to that voice, because at the end of the day, without the young people the Urdd would not exist.

The Urdd has been a huge part of my life, and I have visited every Urdd Eisteddfod since I was born, competing from the age of 6 until last year. I can say with hand on heart that being part of the Urdd has given me confidence and truly priceless experiences, enabling me to make friends in all parts of Wales. Taking part in the primary show Pren Braf, during the Carmarthenshire Urdd Eisteddfod 2007 was an experience I will treasure forever.

Being as effective a President as Dan will be a difficult task, but I very much look forward to the challenge. One thing I would like to see happen is that the Urdd takes a prominent role in talking about youth mental health issues in Wales. This is a very important issue and one I feel strongly about. I believe that the Urdd is perfectly placed to raise awareness, and make a difference, ensuring that our young members know that it is ok to talk about issues that worry them.

There are many challenges facing the young people of Wales today – some as a consequence of leaving Europe. I believe it is crucial that we as young people stand strongly against any prejudice or judgement based on race or gender, and we insist that everybody is treated equally and with respect. In my opinion the Urdd is an important organisation which can unite and bring young people together without discrimination.”

Siwan succeeds Dan Rowbotham from Tregaron in the Presidency and Chairmanship.

During his year as President, Dan accomplished many things including graduating from University, winning the Merêd Prize from the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, reaching the final three in the Young Leader of the Year award and starting on his first full time job.

As Dan said, “It has been a fantastically busy year, one I have really enjoyed, that I will treasure forever and one for which I am extremely thankful to the Urdd. The opportunities have been endless, and they are still coming. Even though I will not be president any more, I will still be part of the organisation, and the organisation part of me. I will continue on the Bwrdd Syr IfanC Board, where exciting times lie ahead creating the Peace and Goodwill Message 2017, as well as organising the first trip to the Urdd House in Hungary.”

Sioned Hughes, Chief Executive of Urdd Gobaith Cymru added, “A warm welcome to Siwan in her new role with the Urdd. The Presidency and Chairmanship of Bwrdd Syr IfanC roles go together, and ensures that the voice of young people is placed at the heart of the organisation. I am very confident that Siwan is ready for the challenge the year ahead will offer her, and I look forward to working with her over the months to come.

 I would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you very much to Dan personally and on behalf of the Urdd for all his hard work during his time as President and Chair. I have enjoyed working with him very much, and look forward to continuing to work with him especially as part of Bwrdd Syr IfanC and through his voluntary work with the organisation, and we wish him the best of luck in his new job as President of the University of Wales Trinity St David Student Union. Best of luck for the future Dan.”