Gareth Llewelyn Howell, President Emeritus of the St. David’s Welsh-American Society of Washington, D.C., and Board Member of the Welsh North American Association (WNAA), died in early January at age 75.
Contributions to Interest in Wales
Gareth L. Howell was a leader in helping to revitalize the Washington DC Welsh. Under his leadership, and with the help of key members, the society grew in size, appointed several younger board members, became active on social media and encouraged members to initiate innovative new projects, such as the highly successful monthly Welsh language conversation gatherings.
Gareth was honored by the Washington DC Welsh at their annual St. David’s Day Banquet in 2017. He was presented with the second-ever Medal of Honor by President Katherine de Francis for his service to the Society.
During this time there was a resurgence of interest in things Welsh: two Smithsonian Institution Folklife Festivals focused on or featured Wales; there was a special showing and discussion involving the highly successful (Aberystwyth-centered) television series, “Hinterland.” As President, Gareth helped to organize and promote these and other Wales-centered activities.
In addition to serving with the WNAA and the Washington DC Welsh, Gareth contributed broadly to Welsh institutions throughout North America. He helped develop an Aberystwyth University alumni presence in Washington and New York. He supported the work of the Welsh Government representatives here and the Welsh Caucus in the U.S. Congress. He was the North American Secretary of the Welsh Legal History Society and contributed scholarly research on Dr. Richard Price, colonial-era Welsh philosopher and advisor to the Founding Fathers.
Gareth L. Howell’s Career in International Relations
In his career, Gareth Howell was recognized for devising innovative and practical solutions to problems in countries in transition or recovering from major crisis situations. In 1996, during the immediate post war period in Bosnia-Herzegovina, He led a World Bank/European Union task force to raise $130 million to re-employ ex-combatants.
Gareth supported economic and social developments in El Salvador, Georgia, Morocco, and Namibia by assisting governments to maximize the impact of major grants of the U.S. State Department’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Before his work with the MCC, he helped to improve the quality of higher education and technical education in Nepal and Pakistan through the efficient use of World Bank loans.
Earlier, Gareth assisted the governments of Mexico and Columbia in design and promotion of their development strategies. For the World Bank in 1993, he helped to devise policies to combat the economic and social impact of losing 30 million jobs in Chinese state farms, described in his key co-authored World Bank report published as “China, New Skills for Economic Development.”
Gareth’s contributions, in varied global settings, drew on his experience as Director Program Development with United Nations/ILO Management Center in Turin, Italy, and as Ford Motor Company executive in Europe. Besides his extensive work with these international development and financial organizations, he was also a magistrate in Wales. He drafted early proposals for Welsh constitutional development, eventually enacted in 1999. His many contributions led to his being honored as a Fellow of the University of Aberystwyth, Wales on July 20th, 2017 where he was also the commencement speaker at the Law School graduation.
Gareth Howell, Welsh Family Origins and Education
Gareth was born in Rhiwbina, near Cardiff, Wales, to William Llewelyn (Lyn) Howell and Myfanwy Howell on October 14, 1942. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Amy A. Titus, and two sons, Llewelyn and Rhys.
Gareth’s father was the Secretary of the Wales Tourist Board as well as a lay minister for the Presbyterian Church in Wales. His paternal grandfather, Llewelyn David Howell, was a coalmining businessman, in Aberdulais. His grandfather, on his mother’s side, David William Jones, was a schoolmaster in Pont Loffyn.
Gareth was educated at Cowbridge Grammar School in Wales and at Mill Hill School, near London. He graduated with an Honours Degree in Law from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and subsequently became a member of Gray’s Inn, London.
After working in labor relations at the Ford Motor Company, he was hired as a consultant to the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the World Bank Group (WBG). These assignments took him to live in Colombia, Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia and Europe. In 1999, he relocated to New York City when he was made acting head of the ILO office to United Nations Headquarters and worked with the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.
Gareth began life reaching out to the world as his father had done. Later in life, after his career in international development, Gareth became passionate about the Welsh heritage that had shaped his life. He conducted research about the Welsh-speaking servants and courtiers of the first Queen Elizabeth.
His scholarly treatise on the influence of Dr. Richard Price on America’s Founding Fathers’ was published recently in the Welsh Legal History Society Journal. Gareth had hoped to lead a seminar on this topic at this year’s North American Festival of Wales.
Dr. Price was a Welsh moral philosopher, supporter of the French and American Revolutions, friend of Benjamin Franklin, and advisor to Washington and Jefferson. Dr. Price was the product of a powerful Welsh cultural and educational background. He influenced the U.S. Constitution, excoriating slavery and advocating debt redemption. The movements he backed foreshadowed future pioneering social reforms.
Gareth was a man of many diverse interests. His extensive personal library of Welsh language books was donated to the Madog Center for Welsh Studies in Ohio. In recent years, he was invited to join the Cosmos Club of Washington, DC, based on his contributions to international affairs. Soon, however, he led a group of club members to join him in researching the question of who actually wrote the plays of Shakespeare -- resulting in a now well-established and vibrant group of dissenting scholars, the Shakespeare Authorship group. (In passing, it is noteworthy that the Cosmos Club was founded by John Wesley Powell, the famous explorer (Lake Powell in Arizona and Utah) and U.S. Civil War officer, of Welsh heritage)
Gareth L. Howell was a member of the Supreme Court Historical Society and the Falls Church Presbyterian Church in Virginia. He was fluent in several languages, including Welsh, French, Spanish and German. During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, he was a frequent commentator, in the Welsh language, for BBC Wales.
Contributions in Gareth’s memory can be made to the St. David's Welsh-American Society of Washington DC (210 13th St., SE, Washington DC 20003), the Welsh North American Association (PO Box 1054, Trumansburg, NY 14886), or to the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University, Washington, DC
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In 2018, the festival returns to Washington D.C!
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Meets first Saturday of every month. 10:30am-Noon.
Teaism at Penn Quarter, 400 8th St, NW., Washington DC. Nearest Metro station Archives-Navy Memorial (about a block away). Directions
Welsh speakers of all levels of ability are warmly welcome, as is anyone who wants just to sit and listen. Buy your food and drink upstairs, and then find us downstairs - whoever gets there first will grab two tables.
July 20, 2017 --
"Dirprwy Ganghellor, mae'n blesser gen i gyflwyno Gareth Howell i chi yn Gymrawd."
Professor John Williams of Aberystwyth Law School, Aberystwyth University: "Pro Chancellor it is my absolute pleasure to present Gareth Howell to you as a Fellow of Aberystwyth University." Gareth went on to give the commencement speech... READ MORE. . .
Pro-Chancellor Mrs Elizabeth France with Gareth Howell.