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The Celtic League was established at the National Eisteddfod of Wales at Rhosllannerchrugog in August 1961, and was known at first as the League of Celtic Nations. It should not be confused with the Celtic Congress, although the two organisations share many common objectives and some common origins.
The League's fundamental objective is to act as an international organisation in promoting the political, cultural, social and economic freedom of Brittany, Cornwall, Ireland, Man, Scotland and Wales. To this end it campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental issues, reflecting both the similarities and the differences between the situations in each of the Celtic nations. The League is non-violent and non-sectarian, and aims to achieve its goals by fostering co-operation between Celtic peoples, developing consciousness of a special relationship and solidarity between them, making their national struggles and achievements better known abroad, campaigning for a formal association of Celtic nations to take place once two or more of them have achieved self-government, and advocating the use of the economic, social and cultural resources of each of the Celtic countries for the benefit of all its people. The League sees its role as secondary to that of national organisations, recognising the different character and circumstances of the individual Celtic nations.
Much of the League's activity revolves around its quarterly journal, Carn (originally published as Celtic News from 1962 to 1973), which contains articles in all the Celtic languages and in English, and provides information on the League's policies and decisions and on the Celtic scene in general. There are branches of the League in each of the six Celtic countries, as well as in England, Canada (Cape Breton) and the USA. The rest of the world is covered by the International branch. The League's officers are all volunteers, and its governing body is the General Council, comprising the general executive officers (General Secretary, Assistant General Secretary, Editor of Carn, Treasurer, Chairperson and Director of Information) and the branch secretaries. An Annual General Meeting is held on a rotational basis in each of the Celtic countries.
From the 1960s until the 1990s, the principal guiding force behind the Celtic League was Alan Heusaff (1921-1999), a founder of the League and also of Carn, which he edited for many years. He was the first General Secretary of the Celtic League, and held that responsibility for twenty-five years, becoming secretary of the International branch in 1986. His successors as General Secretary have included Bernard Moffatt (1986-1988 and 1991-2006), Davyth Fear (1988-1990), Séamas Ó Coileáin (1990-1991) and Rhisiart Tal-e-bot (2006- ).
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