Scotland’s Victor Spence is the founder of the World Peace Tartan Initiative, a non-profit foundation that invests in educational projects that both build a culture of peace and nonviolence and address child poverty. Recently he took some time to answer our Seven Celtic Questions.
What are your own Celtic roots?
I was born and bred in Edinburgh, Scotland. Over the past few years, a number of relatives on my mother’s side have investigated the family tree and found a strong Scottish background mixed with Irish. This heritage came by way of a great, great grandmother in the early 1800s. My father was born and brought up in the north of England and his mother and grandparents came from the West Indies.
Why are those roots important to you?
My Scottish and Irish roots, along with my upbringing in Edinburgh – the “Athens of the North” – have shaped my life. Along with the Celtic diversity of those genetic roots, there exists the deep influence of the land, the water, language, literature and music. These natural and cultural influences have made me who I am today.
What does it mean to you today to be of Celtic heritage?
Along with an internationalist Scottish outlook, I am part of an ever-changing and growing global family with evolving values. This has contributed to a strong sense of purpose, and drives me to step out and help build a better world.
How are you involved with the Celtic community?
I have recently, and with great surprise, found myself working with tartan. The World Peace Tartan, which I created, is a unique and contemporary use of a cultural icon. This new enterprise is connecting me to the Celtic world and beyond in exciting, inspiring and fresh ways.
Why is it important to keep Celtic culture alive?
Every day now, I am privy to new perspectives on the arts, in politics, in our values, heritage and in our contemporary culture. There are new ideas, attitudes, confidence, and an awakening of people, all stemming from a developing global Celtic perspective. The Celtic cultural backdrop is significant. It has something so rich and vibrant about it, and at the same time, although it’s hard to explain, even a hint of mystery. Something so rich should be grown and shared.
Is enough being done to preserve and promote Celtic culture?
Yes and no. Certainly, the concept of a global Celtic culture is exciting and filled with possibilities. Taking advantage of new technologies to connect us still needs a little time and coordination. Ideally, what we must do is collaboratively encourage and create the right opportunities for our young Celts to grow in an environment of positive living values. Then our culture will not only be attractive and welcoming, it will flourish.
What can we be doing better?
Again, I feel strongly that with all our wonderful Celtic attributes that we can work together to build a global culture of peace. We are natural, humble and generous leaders and building a sustainable and just culture of peace is a priority for our shared world. We can, and we must, take the lead in these matters. A simple approach is to think beyond ourselves, invest time and positive energy, share our great Celtic gifts, be wise, and be more compassionate. Ultimately, we must be the change we wish to see in the world. There are no better candidates for this than the Celts.