Oxford and León in Nicaragua celebrate 30 years of twinning

Published: Friday, 19th February 2016

Oxford and León in Nicaragua will celebrate 30 years of twinning with a series of events throughout 2016.

The Oxford León Association and Trust, which has been raising funds for development projects in León since the twinning links were formalised in 1986, will host the events.

The registered charity has raised money for projects such as providing clean drinking water, equipment for primary schools and support for victims of domestic violence.

The 30th anniversary events include:

Revue of 30 years – a reunion of past delegations

The reunion will take place tomorrow (Saturday 20 February) from 7.30pm to 10.30pm in the Museum of Oxford’s Old Museum.

It will include Latin American music, tapas, a cash bar, presentation of the most recent delegation, quiz, raffle, display paintings and gigantona – a giant puppet that is currently on display in the Museum of Oxford.

Guests are asked to bring photos, mementos or records they have of trips to León.

The guest of honour will be Sra Guisell Morales-Echaverry, the Nicaraguan Ambassador to the UK.

Café León

The coffee morning and cake sale will take place on Sunday 13 March between 10am and 12pm in South Oxford Community Centre.

It will feature Fairtrade coffee grown by women in Nicaragua, and home-made cakes and greeting cards.

Song de Raiz

School children who have taken part in twinning exchanges between Oxford and León will perform folk music from the UK, Nicaragua and Brazil alongside professional musicians from the countries involved.

The event will take place on Saturday 16 April at 10.45am in the Oxford Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre on St Ebbe’s Street, as part of Folk Weekend Oxford.

La Misa Campesina

The Nicaraguan folk mass will take place at Blackfriars Chapel in St Giles’ on Sunday 17 April from 11.30am.

The piece, based on Nicaraguan folk music, was written during the revolution in Nicaragua and is still celebrated throughout the country. It has been performed annually in Oxford since 1988.

The Oxford León Association and Trust has no paid staff, meaning all funds raised for the charity go directly to projects in and around León.

Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America.

The association and trust is currently searching for more volunteers to help with its development work – and come up with new ideas to build links between Oxford and León.

Any ideas are welcome, so if you want to take your swimming team to compete in León, have a Skype chat with a classroom on a different continent, or invite a León citizen to join your activities in Oxford you can.

Councillor John Tanner, who visited Leon in 1990 and has taken part in many of the link events, said: “It is fantastic to be celebrating 30 years of twinning the university cities of Oxford and León in Nicaragua. León is our only twin with a city in a developing country.

“I take my hat off to the hundreds of people in León and Oxford who have cemented this friendship link, and encourage everyone who hasn’t yet to get involved.”

For more information about the Oxford León Association and Trust’s work, and information about how to volunteer, please visit the Oxford Leon Association website or email internationallinks@oxford.gov.uk.