Our Staff

Chief Executivecurrently recruiting

Susie Ventris-Field has recently moved on from WCIA to Head OASIS from April 2023. We hope to appoint a new CEO over Spring 2023, with Hayley Richards as Acting CEO over the interim.

With a passion for involving people in internationalism, Susie has led WCIA since 2018, having been involved in the organisation since first volunteering in 2013. Her career in the third sector has included work in gender equality, education and inclusion in Wales, England, South Korea and Eritrea.

“I’m constantly inspired by the people in Wales who give their time, energy and experience to creating a fairer and more peaceful world. At the WCIA, we want to build on these fantastic examples and get more people involved so Wales can continue to punch above its weight as a globally responsible nation.”

Hayley Richards – Head of Programme Development & Policy / Acting Chief Executive

Hayley has been an activist for environmental and social justice since her school days: either organising fundraisings for famine in the 1980s or co-ordinating letter campaigns in support of political prisoners around the world. At Cardiff University, Hayley studied Zoology, Applied Hydrobiology, and then a Ph.D. in Entomology (the study of insects!). 

She became a Project Manager at Insect Investigations and has also worked for several years as Project Manager and then Deputy CEO at the Wales Community Recycling Network. She has spent over 10 years as a Researcher and then Policy & Advocacy Officer with Oxfam Cymru, initially working on domestic poverty but then focussing on global issues such as climate change, migration, and Wales’ role in international development.

Hayley worked closely with the Welsh Refugee Coalition on the Wales Nation of Sanctuary campaign and with the Sustainable Development Alliance to positively influence the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act. Most recently, Hayley has been involved with bringing ‘doughnut economics’ to Wales as part of influencing the well-being economy. 

“I am extremely excited and proud to have recently joined the amazing WCIA team. Given the significant global challenges we all face, it is so important to make the world a smaller place, better connect people from different countries and develop our learning and understanding of global issues. I am looking forward to working as part of such a dynamic, inclusive, and forward-thinking team.” 

Shaela Ismail – Head of Finance

Shaela joined WCIA in 2015 and helped to establish a fully functioning finance department. Qualified AAT Accountant with experience of private sector and charity finance. She oversees all aspects of the finance department and prepare the management reports, payroll, annual report, banking and investments, contracts and related HR aspects. She also works closely with project leads to manage the financial administration of externally funded grants and projects, and with the venue team to manage venue finances.

Born and raised in Cardiff, a mum of two, of Bangladeshi descent. An advocate for cultural integration, a desire to raise awareness and encourage discussion of global and political issues within ethnic and disadvantaged communities in Wales. She loves to travel and explore different cultures, religions and cuisines!

The WCIA is unique in that it offers the people of Wales the first step into exploring and navigating global issues. Through campaigns, workshops and debates, we give a voice to the Welsh on an international spectrum.

Shaela is supported by WCIA’s Finance Team, Sara and Agathe.

Global Learning Team

Amber Demetrius – Head of Global Learning

Amber Demetrius

Global Learning Homepage

Amber is responsible for ensuring that the WCIA’s educational programmes are running smoothly. Her role includes designing and running projects to improve Global learning, evaluating their impact and developing learning partnerships across Wales. She is also developing our existing projects in schools.

Watch the video on ‘Getting to know: Amber’ here 

Amber has a background in Education and previously taught across the Primary sector for fifteen years. She has also worked with Theatre in Education and Global Learning Groups to provide innovative approaches for students in primary and secondary settings, helping individuals who are disengaged with learning to rebuild their confidence within it. Amber is a zealous reader and a lover of crime dramas and cats.

What I’ve learned from working with young people is that so much comes down to your attitude. If you believe you can make a change happen then you always really can. A lot of our work is about people not being afraid to stand and fight for the things that matter most to them. You can do it through simple acts of kindness but also by writing to politicians and influencing decision makers in your community. The world needs more people who are willing to fight for the right things and I think if more people did, we’d have a much better world to live in.

Jane Harries – Peace Education Manager

Peace Schools Homepage

Jane Harries

Jane has been a lifelong peace and human rights activist, most recently coordinating Cymdeithas y Cymod – the Fellowship of Reconciliation – through whom she has also worked with Urdd Gobaith Cymru supporting young people in developing the International Peace & Goodwill message. Jane is a languages expert and fluent Welsh speaker; she taught and was Head of Dept for Modern Languages at Cymer school in RCT, prior to 5 years as Wales Education Advisor for the NSPCC, and 7 years in Welsh government as lead for children’s rights and young people’s participation. Jane spends several weeks each year in Palestine & Israel co-facilitating Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops, building on her involvement as a Human Rights Monitor with EAPPI, about which she is writing this blog.

Jane’s role continues to deliver the ambitious Learning Strategy established through the Wales for Peace project over 2015-19 – developing bilingual teaching and curriculum resources; delivering conferences, networking and events for schools, youth & community groups; organising the annual Young Peacemakers Awards, and establishing a world-leading ‘Peace Schools’ scheme for Wales.

Sioned Cox – Global Learning Project Officer

Sioned has joined WCIA in 2023, and supports Amber and Jane with delivery of a wide range of learning projects and events, alongside support work with Academi Heddwch.

Craig Owen – Heritage Advisor

Peace Heritage Homepage

A leading figure in Welsh internationalism over the last 15 years, Craig joined WCIA to manage the Heritage Lottery Funded ‘Wales for Peace’ programme from 2015 to 2020. He stayed on following this (on a part-time basis) to consolidate the legacy of that work, and to provide ongoing support to volunteers and researchers interested in exploring Wales’ Peace Heritage further.

Alongside his Heritage Advisor role, Craig is undertaking an MPhil on the ‘History of Welsh Internationalism‘ with Aberystwyth University’s Dept of International Politics. Having been in ongoing treatment and chemotherapy for Multiple Myeloma (Bone Marrow Cancer) since 2016, Craig is an ambassador with cancer charities such as Maggie’s Centres and Myeloma UK.

Prior to joining WCIA, Craig was International Programme Manager with Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) over 2007-14, where he developed the Wales Africa Community Links programme. Before that he was very much in the ‘aid sector’ as Wales Campaigns Coordinator with Oxfam Cymru, leading work on ‘Make Poverty History’, ‘Control Arms’ (securing an International Arms Trade Treaty) and Fair Trade. In 2006 was seconded to Oxfam International’s Tsunami Relief Programme in Indonesia, peace building in the disaster and conflict-stricken province of Aceh, during which he wrote a ‘Blog from Banda’ which gained considerable profile. He has also worked in Wales education / youth sector with NUS Wales and Aberystwyth University Guild of Students.

“I’ve loved working with Wales’ International sector over the last couple of decades, supporting charities and community groups to connect with the wider world. Having the opportunity to research and share the heritage of Welsh Internationalism is very different . There are so many really inspiring stories, with the real power to inspire future generations to build a better world. On a very personal level, WCIA has been incredibly flexible and supportive throughout my (ongoing) Cancer treatment; I’m proud to  contribute to an organisation that lives its values so positively.

Global Action / Volunteering Team

Tom Weiser – Volunteering Project Manager  

Joining the WCIA team in May 2022, Tom has been Outreach Coordinator working on increasing engagement and uptake of the Global Action and Global Learning programs throughout Wales across formal and non-formal education settings.   Having studied History BA at University College London and completing an MA in Global Citizenship, Identities and Human Rights at Nottingham University. Tom has a strong interest in global questions surrounding identity, representation and mobility. 

After working for several years in international adventure travel, working in; Russia and the CIS, Peru, Morocco, Romania and Czechia, Tom is highly aware of the benefits and growth that exposure to and interaction with various cultures, traditions and beliefs can bring and is passionate about ensuring others have the opportunity to engage with and understand their place within a global context.  

Michaela Rohmann – Taith Champions Coordinator 

Taith Homepage

Michi joined UNA Exchange in 2014, then WCIA’s International Youth Service exchange partner body (and like WCIA, founded in 1973 at the Temple of Peace). Since then she has worked in a number of roles across a portfolio of EU-funded programmes, including Erasmus+ and predecessor youth exchange schemes. At WCIA Michaela has been managing European Solidarity Corps projects, Taith funded pojects and international exchanges.

Experienced in international volunteering herself, Michaela has participated in projects worldwide, including in Germany, France, South Africa, Tanzania, England and Wales.

From 2024, Michi has taken on the role of Taith Champions Coordinator, supporting Youth Organisations across Wales to engage with Taith, Wales’ international learning exchange programme, creating life-changing opportunities to learn, study and volunteer all over the world

Chris Colbourn – Volunteering & Admin Assistant

Chris has joined WCIA from Autumn 2023.

Climate Cymru Team

Climate Cymru homepage

Sam Ward – Head of Climate Cymru

Sam staff

Sam’s early career was orientated around the outdoors, nature and people. During this time, Sam set up and managed companies that specialised in coaching, getting people out into nature and onto many of the World’s most beautiful rivers. Sam ended up coaching the British national team to over 30 medals at international competitions and competing himself at the international level for a number of years in his chosen discipline of whitewater kayaking.

Alongside these companies and his own training, Sam has always been involved in a series of social enterprises, environmental initiatives, charities, community events and environmental advocacy campaigns and has used his award-winning companies as a force for good in the communities in which they operate. As climate and nature emergency became more central in Sam’s work, he worked as a sustainability consultant, and program manager for environmental and conservation projects, and cofounded Biodiversity Alliance, a charity in Uganda working on community led solutions to the biodiversity crisis. Now based back home in Wales, Sam has sold his companies, and he now spends all his working hours running Climate Cymru!

“The Climate Cymru campaign is centred around meaningful and fair action to address the climate emergency and will gather voices from all areas and demographics of Welsh society. As partners or people sign up, they tell Climate Cymru what is important to them and the responses received will shape the campaign’s communication and advocacy at COP26 and to county councils, Welsh and Uk governments. Ultimately, the people of Wales own the message.”

The Climate Cymru team has expanded in 2023 to include:

  • David Kilner – Campaigns Coordinator
  • Sullie Burgess – Communications Coordinator (job share)
  • Kaja Brown – Communications Coordinator (job share)
  • Hannah Tottle – Climate Cymru Assistant
  • Vanessa Fada – Volunteer Coordinator
  • Ize Adava – BAME Group Coordinator

Clare James – Great Big Green Week / Network Coordinator

Clare is an enthusiastic organiser who loves working with volunteers, including Climate Cymru’s Ambassador network and has over 20 years’ experience in the charitable and voluntary sector, having formerly worked for social services and subsequently spent 14 years working in the social housing and homelessness sector, working for organisations including Llamau, Shelter Cymru and Community Housing Cymru. She moved on to Techniquest in 2016, where she led the communities and fundraising team and the funding campaign which secured finances for a new extension and exhibition, diversifying Techniquest’s audience through participative and coproductive methodologies in the process.  

Clare has coordinated several grassroots climate action networks across Wales, including Green New Deal, Extinction Rebellion Cymru and the Climate Justice Coalition and is a big advocate for deliberative democracy at every level of government. During COP26, she organised the Cardiff COP26 Global Day of Action, mobilising volunteers and groups across Wales to highlight the limitations of the COP process, to campaign for the most extensive and radical solutions to climate change and to ensure that issues of climate justice are not forgotten by the official organisers. Clare is a school speaker for Humanists UK, a keen traveller and cyclist and an embracer of change.

Her favourite quote is “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” (although there is no substantive evidence that Albert Einstein ever said these words!). 

Academi Heddwch Team

Bethan Siân Jones – Academi Heddwch Cymru Project Development Manager

Academi Heddwch Homepage

Bethan is from just outside Pentyrch, near Cardiff. She attended Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Plasmawr and Aberystwyth University. She graduated with a BA in History, an MA in Welsh History and a PhD in Welsh History. Her PhD thesis, entitled, ‘A Oes Heddwch: A Study of the Peace Movement in Wales during the 1980s’, documented and explored the movement primarily through the use of oral history. She has since lectured in the departments of History and Welsh History and International Politics at Aberystwyth.

“I am delighted and excited to be joining the Academi Heddwch. Peace research, history and heritage is of great interest to me and is something that I am passionate about. I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity and am looking forward to the challenge.”

Professor Colin McInnes, Academi Heddwch Cymru Research Lead

Colin McInnes joins us from his role as Pro Vice-Chancellor at Aberystwyth University where he holds a personal professorial chair in the Department of International Politics. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts. From 2007-2018 he held the UNESCO Chair in HIV/AIDS and Security, and in 2017 he received the Special Achievement Award at the inaugural Wales Social Research Awards, for his ‘outstanding personal achievement in research’.

Rebecca Wilson – Academi Heddwch

Rebecca joined WCIA in 2022, and over 2022-24 supported Jane Harries with delivery of Peace Education work. In Spring 2024 she has transferred to Academi Heddwch.

Ffion Fielding – Women’s Peace Petition Centenary Project Manager

Ffion Fielding has worked in the museums and heritage sector in Wales for over 20 years, starting her career as a learning officer in St Fagans National Museum of History. She has a PGCE qualification in post-compulsory education, and her work there focused on adult and community learning, working in partnership with a wide range of organisations. In 2014 she moved to a role as coordinator for ‘Wales Remembers 1914-18’ projects across Amgueddfa Cymru and in national partnerships, and in 2015 joined WCIA for three years as community and exhibitions coordinator with the ‘Wales for Peace’ project. There she worked with museums, libraries, and archives across Wales to co-produce exhibitions and collect Wales’s rich peace heritage with volunteers. It is also where she first became interested in the story of the Peace Petition.

Ffion joined Academi Heddwch from her most recent role as exhibitions project manager with Amgueddfa Cymru, managing both large- and small-scale exhibitions and displays, including national touring exhibitions and the strategy for national events, working with partners across Wales. Recently she was seconded for a period to provide consultation and advisory support to senior management on the new 10 year strategy for Amgueddfa Cymru – consulting with staff, communities and other stakeholders. She is the members representative for members of the Museums Association in Wales, the UK wide advisory organisation for museums.

The HLF-funded Women’s Peace Petition Team are based Wales-wide:

  • Jen Evans, Outreach Coordinator
  • Sian Howys, Outreach Coordinator
  • Lowri Jenkins, Outreach Coordinator
  • Lowri Kirkham, Outreach Coordinator

Venue Team

Temple of Peace Venue Hire Homepage

WCIA’s Venue Team manage Temple of Peace venue hire, room bookings and events – from meetings and conferences to weddings and film shoots.

  • Tessa Salt – Venue & Bookings Officer
  • Ian Carbis – Duty Manager
  • Tamsin Robinson – General Assistant