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A lifetime in Gaelic

Published: 9 Oct 2015 16:30

Gaelic Ambassador of the Year Award made at launch of Royal National Mὸd.

Professor Boyd Robertson has been named as the 2015 Gaelic Ambassador of the Year on the opening night of Scotland's annual celebration of Gaelic culture, the Royal National Mὸd, in Oban.

Professor Robertson, Principal of Sabhal Mὸr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic language and culture, was congratulated by Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages, Dr Alasdair Allan.

Professor Robertson is well known to Oban's Gaelic community, having once been Principal Teacher of Gaelic at Oban High School. He has since been closely involved with a host of groups involved in Gaelic education, at all levels of learning.

The award followed an announcement of an additional £50,000 in funding from the Scottish Government to Bòrd na Gàidhlig to support growth in Gaelic medium education.

Dr Allan said:

"Professor Boyd Robertson is a name that is synonymous with Gaelic education in Scotland. Given everything he has achieved, it's hard to think of anyone more deserving of the title of Gaelic Ambassador.

"Sabhal Mὸr Ostaig has gone from strength to strength since he became Principal in 2009. The college is lucky to have such a committed and experienced advocate at its helm. The Scottish Government wants to encourage more young people to follow the good example set by people like Professor Robertson who has greatly contributed to many facets of Gaelic education within Scotland.

"Our aim is to create a secure future for Gaelic in Scotland and while the last census showed an encouraging increase of young people speaking Gaelic between the ages of 3-19, this will only be achieved by an increase in the numbers of those learning, speaking and using the language. We know that Gaelic medium education has a key role to play in this and our additional funding announced today will help to promote the benefits of Gaelic medium education and early years education here in Oban, and throughout Scotland.

"Gaelic is a key part of our Education (Scotland) Bill which we are now taking forward and in which there is a strong focus on the promotion and support of Gaelic medium education. The Scottish Government is now preparing amendments to the Bill which will strengthen the Gaelic provisions and offer reassurance to those that want to see the growth and progress of Gaelic in Scotland."

John Morrison, Chief Executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said: "Professor Boyd Robertson is certainly a worthy recipient of the Gaelic Ambassador of the Year award, made with the support of the Scottish Government.

"He has championed the Gaelic language through education for many years and continues to be a fantastic role model for younger generations of people looking to learn Gaelic. Boyd continues to strive to make Gaelic an appealing and, more importantly, accessible language for those who are interested in learning it.

"His work as a member of the initial Bòrd na Gàidhlig – the first Government appointed Gaelic development agency – in particular, showed his passion for maintaining the language in modern day Scotland. It gives us great pleasure to identify him for this prestigious award at the 2015 Royal National Mòd in Oban."

Professor Boyd Robertson, Gaelic Ambassador of the Year, said: "I am honoured and humbled to be given this accolade and regard it not just as a personal award but as recognition of the work of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the innovative and iconic institution I am privileged to lead.

"It is a particular pleasure to receive the award in Oban where I spent the first 10 years of my career in education. I would like to thank An Comunn Gàidhealach for bestowing this honour on me and I look forward eagerly to events at the Mod and to renewing my acquaintance with friends in Argyll and in the rest of Gaeldom."