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Hay-on-Wye was selected by Timbuktu (in Mali) to be its UK twin town as a result of a nationwide competition. In October 2007 the Mayor of Timbuktu visited Hay, and a 'declaration of friendship' (see image below) was signed at the official launch ceremony.

Hay and Timbuktu have a shared love of the written word. Timbuktu is an ancient site of Islamic scholarship, and is famous for its huge collection of medieval manuscripts.

Two Towns One World is a 2-year project funded by the Welsh Government and the European Union, and managed by Hay Town Council. The project aims to raise awareness and understanding among people in Hay-on-Wye/ Powys of global development issues and the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for poverty reduction.

Specifically, the project is engaging with local schools, supporting teachers to develop educational resources which draw on the link between Hay and Timbuktu to promote global learning. The project is also engaging with the broader community; the Community Link & Learn Fund provides resources to groups to develop and manage projects which promote learning between Hay and Timbuktu on a wide range of thematic areas, from health and farming, to sports and culture.
Contact: Anne Hillyer, project coordinator,
Email or phone 029 2125 1025, Mobile 07969 309001.

Project governance: The Two Towns One World steering group meets monthly, and includes representatives from:

Hay Town Council

Hay2Timbuktu (H2T)

Hay Medics 4 Timbuktu (Facebook)

Jump4Timbuktu

Living Earth Foundation

Wales Africa Community Links

Welsh Government’s Wales4Africa team

Other Links:

‘From Wales to Timbuktu’, BBC Wales documentary featuring the visit of 4 students from Gwernyfed High School to Timbuktu in 2009
Episode 1
Episode 2

‘The Lost Libraries of Timbuktu’, a documentary by Tim Tyson Short

Festival in the Desert

Timbuktu Manuscripts Project

IMAGES (Click to enlarge)

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