Judith Macgregor

British High Commissioner to South Africa

Part of UK in Mexico

28th November 2012

The Scotland that we want to celebrate

The following is a guest blog by Justin McKenzie Smith, Deputy Head of Mission and Director for Trade and Investment at the British Embassy Mexico City.

“30 November is St Andrew’s Day, the patron saint of Scotland.

The longer I am here, the more I am finding out about the connections between Scotland and Mexico. It is quite something that the St Andrew’s Society of Mexico is nearly 120 years old, making it one of the oldest associations in Mexico. I am checking up on a story that I was told recently that the first person from the British Isles to visit Nueva España in the 16th century – according to the records of the Inquisition – was a Scot.

EdinburgSt Andrew´s Ball in Mexico

For me, the most interesting parallel between Scotland and Mexico today is the way that both are trying to combine rich history and cultural traditions with cutting-edge modernity. A country that is defined only by its history risks becoming a museum.

Mexico is impressing the world with the growth of its high-tech, dynamic economy. Recent Scottish innovations include the world’s first commercially available bionic hand, the first successfully cloned mammal, major research into nanotechnology and the Grand Theft Auto video games series.

Edinburgh Napier UniversityEdinburgh Napier University

For a relatively small country of only 5 million people, Scotland also has an impressive depth of academic excellence. Academics based in Scotland’s universities and higher education institutions produce one percent of all research publications in the world – ranking Scotland third in the world for the number of research publications published per head of the population.

Science, arts and culture also have a particularly important role in Scottish life.  The list of Scots excelling in their chosen field today is impressive – people such as Ewan Macgregor, Sir Chris Hoy (six-time Olympic cycling gold medallist), Annie Lennox and great bands that have visited Mexico recently like Franz Ferdinand and Snow Patrol.

One of the major successes of recent years has been the establishment in 2006 of a National Theatre of Scotland which has no theatre of its own but performs in drill halls and community halls, homes, airports, ferries and all kinds of other unconventional venues across Scotland.  Its productions – such as “Black Watch” – have played to sell-out audiences in the US, Australia, South Korea and other parts of the world – and one day, I hope, in Mexico too.

Scotish Parliament
Scotish Parliament, Photo: Courtesy of UKTI Mexico

So, as with Mexico, you have to look behind the stereotypes to see the real people – and in Scotland, that is a country proud of its history, yes, but also fascinated by the future, where creativity and imagination are among our most valuable assets, and where the doors have been opened wide to the world.

That’s the Scotland that we celebrate on St Andrew’s Day”.

1 comment on “The Scotland that we want to celebrate

  1. About 110 years ago my Paternal family emigrated to Mexico from Scotland (Peterculter) to start a paper mill at El Progresso (Fabrica de Papel) the entire family including my Father were involved
    The last contact I had with the family was in 1950’s and I must have many relations with whom I would love to make contact.
    I have oodles of family history which I would love to share including photos and the family tree, I would be very glad to hear from anyone who is interested
    Please hurry….I am 82 years old on Tuesday!!!!

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About Judith Macgregor

Judith Macgregor has been appointed British High Commissioner to South Africa. She arrived at the post on 2 October, 2013. She was British Ambassador to Mexico from October 2009 to…

Judith Macgregor has been appointed British High Commissioner to South Africa. She arrived at the post on 2 October, 2013.
She was British Ambassador to Mexico from October 2009 to June 2013.
She joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1976, after
graduating from Oxford University with a first class Honours Degree in
Modern History. She has served as First Secretary in Paris and Prague;
Deputy Director of Department for Western Europe and Head of the FCO’s
Security Department. She was also Migration Director from 2007 to 2009.
Mexico is not the first time she has served as an Ambassador. She was
British Ambassador in Bratislava from 2004 to 2007. Between 1995 and
2000, she accompanied her husband during his diplomatic posts in
Dusseldorf and Warsaw.
Judith Macgregor is President of the  Foreign & Commonwealth
Office Women’s Association. She is married to John Malcolm Macgregor,
CVO and has four children.