November 20, 2014
The 26th Annual Congress of the International Society of Nurses in Genetics was held this year from November 7th- 9th at Scottsdale, Arizona. With a packed 3-day programme of keynote, plenary and parallel sessions and 150 delegates from ten countries, it was important that the opening remarks from ISONG President, Professor Maggie Kirk, set the right tone.
She decided to use a more unusual ice-breaker – to get the delegates to talk to each other in Welsh! Using simple words and phrases, she encouraged the audience to address someone they didn’t know by welcoming them (croeso), telling then their name and where they were from (dw i’n Maggie, o Gymru) and asking shwmai?, to which the reply was ‘iawn’.
Professor Kirk said: “I told the delegates that I was 5000 miles from home and needed to be humoured. I had a really buzz from hearing so many people speaking Welsh and told them it had really appeased my hiraeth (homesickness). They clearly enjoyed the experience too. Quite a number of people told me afterwards that they hadn’t realised there was a Welsh language. However, it also fitted into the theme of my remarks about ‘doing something different’. I don’t think any of them had expected to be speaking Welsh at a conference on genetics and nursing!”
Tagged: Maggie Kirk