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The Inspire Wales Awards are an initiative of the Institute of Welsh Affairs in association with the Western Mail.

To celebrate the achievements of the men and women throughout Wales who make a significant contribution to society, the Institute of Welsh Affairs has teamed up with the Western Mail for the Inspire Wales Awards. The awards reward those in the fields of business, education, science, arts and media, the environment and sport, as well as seeking champions in citizenship and young achievers. Entries are encouraged from the public, private and voluntary sectors. In this profile, we reveal the finalists in the Global Wales category.

Ena Niedergang

Ms Niedergang has been pivotal in linking and promoting Wales with China in a variety of capacities for more than 25 years. Her latest project, ULearnChinese, a new approach to teaching Chinese language, history and culture, has been praised throughout the world. Such is the interest garnered in the project that it recently featured in a world conference in Beijing and discussions are underway to deliver it throughout Europe and the rest of the English speaking world. ULearnChinese, a fully interactive education package which includes advanced speech recognition facilities, has taken the teaching of Chinese to a new level. And China, through the Office of Chinese Language International, has welcomed the programme for having the potential to stimulate the learning of its language and culture in an international context. As well as through ULearnChinese Ms Niedergang also promotes cultural and educational links between Wales and China via the Wales-China Friendship Society.

Angela Gorman
As chair of charity Hope for Grace Kodindo Ms Gorman promotes Wales as an outward looking nation dedicated to improving the attitude of global citizenship. Ms Gorman was one of the founding members of the charity which was set-up following a BBC Panorama episode called Dead Mums Don’t Cry. The episode shadowed obstetrician, Dr Grace Kodindo at work in The Hôpital Général de Référence in N’Djamena in Chad. The risk of childbirth-related death at the hospital was one in 11 compared to the UK risk of one in 8,200 and through Hope for Grace Kodindo Ms Gorman hoped to reduce these numbers. Deaths from eclampsia soon fell from 14% to 2.3% and newborn deaths fell from 23% to 7.3%. Having heard of it success the United Nations Population Fund contacted the charity and asked for it to extend its support to Liberia and Sierra Leone. Now, as a result of all the charity’s hard work in supplying medication, around 13,000 women are estimated to have lived as a result.

Elin Haf Davies
Having rowed 5,691 miles across the Atlantic and Indian oceans Ms Davies has literally taken the Welsh flag across the world. In February 2008 she landed in Antigua to become the first Welsh woman to row across the Atlantic. As a result of which, apart from writing her name in the record books, she also raised the staggering total of more than £190,000 for charity. And just 14 months later Ms Davies was back in a boat to take on the Indian Ocean from which she has so far raised £20,000. The global impact of her efforts has seen women and children in Wales throughout the world benefit from the research projects her fundraising has paid for. Yet she is by no means finished for she is currently in discussion with the World Health Organisation to lead a global project called 360 Swim Cycle Sail which will raise awareness and money for charity.

Copy written by Sam Malone, Media Wales. Photos courtesy of Media Wales.

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