Thank you to everyone who attended the AGM of the Anglo Chilean Society on 20 March 2023. It was great to see so many members, both in person and online. We were also delighted to be joined by the President, Ambassador Susana Herrera and by Vice President, The Baroness Hooper CMG. We reviewed the year – one where we have been getting back into gear, after the previous lockdowns. As well as the AGM, in person events have included the traditional Annual Asado, the Mining in Chile event, part of London Metals Week and a reception to launch an exhibition of art works, kindly donated to the Society by the late Mrs Pola de Kadt and Emanuel de Kadt. This very generous donation has dominated much of the recent work of the Society, both in helping to celebrate a range of Chilean artists and also in organising the saale of the works, as the donation was made to help raise funds for the Society and its charitable work.
Support by the Society during the year has included grants to the Centro Educative Gran Bretaña in Valparaíso, for equipment to help adults and children with disabilities to aid learning and development; and to Gente de la Calle, who help those who are temporarily homeless find accommodation; support to young athletes from the Club Here Taina Va’a of Constitución to assist with participation in the world canoeing championships; to Fiorella Angellini, in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew and Edinburgh, to produce a video about the arrival of the iconic Chilean Araucania tree in Europe; to help with the costs of installing a Blue Plaque commemorating the Robledo brothers, Chilean footballers, in South Yorkshire; to Fundación SUBE to promote culture and arts for community wellbeing; a donation to the Anglo Latin America Foundation to help benefit deserving children in Chile and other Latin American countries. If you know of worthy causes that would benefit from support from the Anglo-Chilean Society, please do encourage an application for funding. More information is at https://www.anglochileansociety.org/grant-application If you would like to donate to the Anglo-Chilean Society to help with future support, please see this link https://www.anglochileansociety.org/donate or please get in touch if you have ideas for fund-raising.
This year’s AGM also included a very interesting talk by David Woods, about his latest book ‘Meteor’, highlighting the extraordinary life of Benjamin Vicuña MacKenna and a particular period when he went to the United States to win friends for Chile at a time of war. Vicuña Mackenna was a larger than life character of 19th century Chile. But his influence and actions have a bearing on Chile still today. A controversial character, his approach to life was described as a mixture of Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw and Volodymyr Zelensky! The author, David Woods, vividly portrayed his skilled oration and energy. Fundamentally, as a great patriot, Vicuña Mackenna made things happen through statesmanship to build international influence, whilst helping build parts of Santiago, tackling reforms in education, the police and prisons and also seeking support to secure Chile’s future. David, very kindly donated some of the proceeds from sales of his book to help the work of the Anglo-Chilean Society.
This is your Society so please do suggest ideas for events and activities you would like to see in the future and if you can help with the organisation, even better! We hope to do more hybrid events in the future, so people can both get together but also so participation can be widened to include online for members living further afield in the UK and also to involve speakers and attendees from Chile. We would also like to promote a broader selection of topics continuing to celebrate ‘Chile Past’, some of the iconic moments and people of history that have helped shaped Chile today; but also focussing more on ‘Chile Future’ – with some of the exciting developments in business and the economy and science and the environment and amazing talent, including young people; whilst also enjoying ‘Chile Travel’ – exploring the great diversity of the country from the desert in the north to the ice in the south; and ‘Chile Taste’ – appreciating some of the wonderful art, music and culture, together with excellent food and wine.
This year marks 200 years of trade and diplomatic relations between the UK and Chile, so lots to celebrate. Next year marks 80 years of the Anglo-Chilean Society – set up with two objectives – i) to promote understanding of Chile in the UK, its people, history, language and literature, its institutions, folklore and culture, as well as its intellectual, artistic and economic life; and ii) to support charitable initiatives in Chile, including through organising lectures, film shows and social functions to raise funds. Those aims continue, so please let us know your ideas, encourage new members to join and we hope that you will continue to help support and enjoy the activities of the Anglo-Chilean Society.