Darogan’s aim is to address the critical fact that a significant number of Wales’ most promising students are leaving Wales to seek employment.


Darogan was established by Oxford students to create an online network which aims to address the issue of the “Brain Drain” in our country.

21-year-old undergraduate Theo Davies-Lewis, and DPhil student Owain James, 25, form the leadership executive of Darogan. Their aim is to create a network of students to come back to Wales and contribute to our politics, economy and culture.

Both are fluent Welsh speakers, with Theo growing up in Llanelli and Owain in Cardiff. Both are united by a common belief that Wales deserves to be a successful and exciting place to work for all, especially young graduates of the best universities in the UK.

Honorary President: Dame Hilary Boulding

Honorary President: Dame Hilary Boulding

Darogan also has the support of Dame Hilary Boulding, who formerly worked for BBC Wales and served as Principal of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. She is President of Trinity College, University of Oxford, and supports our work in her position as Honorary President of Darogan.

The name ‘Darogan’ itself reflects the ethos of the new initiative. It refers to the ‘Mab Darogan’ (The Son of Destiny) in ancient Welsh mythology. The old Welsh bards prophesied that this messianic figure would return one day, after a long period of slumber, perhaps, or a journey to a foreign land, in order to redeem the nation. But now, in the twenty-first century, we need more than just one figure to return to Wales: we need thousands. If we do not ensure we bring our brightest back to Wales, there is little hope for the development of our economy and industry.

Co-Chairs of the Darogan movement, Cardiffian Owain (left), and Llanelli-born Theo (right)

Co-Chairs of the Darogan movement, Cardiffian Owain (left), and Llanelli-born Theo (right)

The Problem

The critical fact is that a significant number of Wales’ most promising students are leaving Wales to seek employment. According to a recent statistic from the BBC, 23,807 graduates came to Wales between 2013 and 2016, but 44,335 left the country. Consequently, this means that Wales lost 20,528 graduates in three years. This fact is all the more alarming if we consider the Welsh Government’s generous investment in our youth.

As well as financing education up to higher education, the Welsh Government has also been contributing to Welsh students’ maintenance and costly university fees. Because of the fact that a significant number of students leave Wales for higher education, this means, of course, that the Welsh Government’s money has been sent on a large scale to universities outside of Wales. As many of these students do not return to Wales after graduating, much of this substantial investment is not realised in Wales. What is sown in Wales is reaped elsewhere.

Darogan is a student movement to attract our students back to Wales. The Welsh “Brain Drain” is a real issue, and we believe our network can be one of the solutions.
— Theo Davies-Lewis and Owain James, co-Chairs of Darogan

Our work

For too long the problem of the “Brain Drain” has only concerned economists and politicians, but now there is a student movement attempting to alleviate the problems.

The problems highlighted above are extremely serious, and we are trying to create an online network to aim to address it.

And it is today we need people to come back to renew the nation. For decades Wales has been slumbering, awaiting to reach its full potential. This can only be achieved by its young people contributing to their home country.

So, in our rallying cry for change, we have written to all Welsh groups/societies in the Russell Group universities, including;

  • University of Birmingham

  • University of Bristol

  • University of Cambridge

  • Cardiff University

  • Durham University

  • University of Edinburgh

  • University of Exeter

  • University of Glasgow

  • Imperial College London

  • King's College London

  • University of Leeds

  • University of Liverpool

  • LSE (London School of Economics & Political Science)

  • University of Manchester

  • Newcastle University

  • University of Nottingham

  • University of Oxford

  • Queen Mary University of London

  • Queen's University Belfast

  • University of Sheffield

  • University of Southampton

  • UCL (University College London)

  • University of Warwick

  • University of York 

We are also in contact with leading politicians, to ask for their support and to affiliate with us. Our aim is then to attract organisations to partner with us and create a dynamic hub that can be sustained as the go-to place for the best students looking to come back to Wales.

Our work hopes to fill a void and do positive work for students of Wales. To find out more, and see what you can do, visit our other pages on the website or get in touch.

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