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Glyndŵr University and Lesotho Government transcend sport with deal

 08 May 2013

Lesotho
Glyndŵr University and the Government of Lesotho signed a unique partnership that transcends sport.

The Wrexham campus played host to members of the African nation’s Olympic team last summer, as they prepared for the London Games.

The warm welcome and support Team Lesotho received while living and training at Glyndŵr University led to a visit from the country’s Minister of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation, Chief Thesele Maseribane, on Friday.

Mr Maseribane signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pro Vice Chancellor for Operations, Professor Allan Howells.

He and his party were also given a tour of the buildings and presented Prof Howells, Director of Campus Management and Commercial Services, Lynda Powell, and Sport Development Manager Kirsty Percival with traditional Basothan tribal blankets.

The five-year agreement will see Glyndŵr University and the University of Lesotho work together and share best practice in different fields, including climate change, sport and equality.

Team Lesotho could return to Wrexham next year, when they compete in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

There will also be an opportunity for Glyndŵr students to train at the High Altitude Training Centre at Mohale.

Describing the MoU and what it will mean for his country, Mr Maseribane said: “We have come to Wales all the way from Lesotho to show our appreciation for what the University did for our team during the Olympic Games.

“We also wanted to sign the Memorandum of Understanding between the Lesotho Government and Glyndŵr University, an agreement that will have an impact on our communities.

“The agreement is for five years and won’t just be for sport, it is cultural and educational and is everything that can take our country forward. Lesotho is a least developed country and there has been a relationship with Wales since 1986 - this will strengthen it further.”

Mr Maseribane added that he was “very impressed” with Glyndŵr University, particularly Techniquest and the human performance laboratory.

Kirsty said the union would provide both parties with strong foundations on which to build after the success of 2012.

“London 2012 left a very exciting legacy opportunity to develop sport, culture and communities,” said Kirsty.

“Our relationship with Lesotho is part of that legacy and as we look forward to Glasgow 2014 and the on-going development programmes, such as Youth Sport, engagement projects and academic links, are relationship will only get stronger."

Mr Maseribane will return to Africa on Thursday, having also journeyed to Anglesey, Newport and Cardiff, where they will meet First Minister Carwyn Jones.

During Team Lesotho’s stay in North Wales last year, the athletes – three marathon runners, a 200m sprinter and a swimmer – stayed at Wrexham Village and trained on campus, at Queensway, Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse and Waterworld.

At the time, Glyndŵr’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Scott, said: “It has been fantastic having the Lesotho team around the University and Wrexham. This part of Wales in particular has a very special relationship with Lesotho and their stay here has hopefully strengthened that.”

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For more than 25 years, Dolen Cymru has been dedicated to creating life changing links between Wales and Lesotho in fields of education, health, governance and civil society.

Identified by the UN as a least developed country and with more than a quarter of its population suffering from HIV/AIDS, with an average life expectancy of less than 40 years, Lesotho is in need of support, training and educational development.

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