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Arturo Lewis Roberts is a product of the Welsh Colony of Patagonia (Argentina). The son of Welsh Argentinean parents, he grew up in an environment where love for Welsh tradition and loyalty towards adopted country blended harmoniously and fostered pride in the local accomplishments of the Welsh people, an ever present reminder that he belonged to a valiant race that had conquered an inhospitable land. Family, chapel, Eisteddfod and language were important formative forces.
After completing elementary education in the local schools, he left home to pursue secondary education in the city of Trelew, whose name perpetuates the memory of Lewis Jones, the great grandfather who was the local leader of the colony in its early years. Shortly after completing his medical studies in the University of Buenos Aires, he decided to seek fortune in the great Republic of the North, and he worked his way on board ship to arrive in New York more than fifty years ago.
In doing so he was obeying an ancestral attraction towards that country: another great grandfather, Michael D. Jones, was for a short time minister in Cincinnati and was inspired by his American experience to found the Welsh Colony. This relationship between the US and Patagonia took a tragic turn when Michael D. Jones' son Llwyd ap Iwan, grandfather to Dr. Roberts, lost his life at the hands of two American outlaws.
After a few months in New York, Dr. Roberts moved to Detroit, Michigan to become associated with the pharmaceutical industry. He soon returned to Argentina to claim Olga Williams as his bride, with whom he raised three children - - Mair, Arthur and Rhys - - in a home characterized by a trilingual environment.
In Detroit, he became associated with the Welsh and Argentine communities and eventually became President of the Detroit Argentine Association, whose quarterly bulletin became a model for NINNAU, the humble newsletter that was to become the North American Welsh Newspaper® and whose growth has paralleled the renaissance of Welsh life on the continent and now incorporates Y Drych--the oldest Welsh newspaper in the Americas.
Nearly thirty-five years ago, Dr. Roberts moved with his family to New Jersey, where he continued association with the pharmaceutical industry, in which capacity he traveled extensively. He culminated his career as Medical Vice-President of Ayerst International. More recently, he became an independent consultant.
Dr. Roberts has remained very active in the Welsh community in North America. He is an honorary member of several Welsh American societies. He was a Director of the St. David's Society of the State of New York; with a number of like-minded people he founded the National Welsh-American Foundation and later occupied the presidency and chair of the Foundation and now the Chair of its Advisory Council, and was one of the initiators of the Welsh language residential courses that have become established in North America.
Among his greatest satisfactions were his induction to the Gorsedd under the bardic name of Arthur Iwerydd and his later promotion to the white robe, as well as his election to the position of Vice-President of the Honourable Society of the Cymmrodorion of London and of Undeb y Cymry ar Wasgar (Cymru a'r Byd); this latter society designated him Leader of the Overseas Welsh for the National Eisteddfod held in Bala in 1997.
He is recipient of the David W. Price Award of the Welsh Society of Central New Jersey and was honored by the Wilkes-Barre National Gymanfa Ganu Committee in 1983. He was honored by Green Mountain College of Poultney, VT, with the 1996 George Jones Award for Preservation of Welsh Heritage, and in 1997 he received an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Wales Bangor. In 2004 he received the Robert Morris Award of the Welsh Society of Philadelphia. In 2005 he received the NWAF Heritage Medallion at the WNGGA Banquet in Orlando, Florida, and in 2009 the NWAF inducted him into the Order of Ivorites.
During 1997 he was President of the Argentine-American Medical Society; he is President of the Welsh-American Genealogical Society, which he founded, and is Founder of the Welsh North American Chamber of Commerce. More recently he established the World-Wide Welsh Award - Anrhydedd Cymry'r Cyfanfyd, which is bestowed annually on persons who have contributed exceptionally to the Welsh nation.
Dr. Roberts notes that "Thanks to the work of many volunteers, WAGS has been extremely successful as an organization and has amply fulfilled the goal of channeling the genealogical interest that was latent in the Welsh community on this side of the Atlantic."
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