Susie Ventris-Field – Chief Executive
With a passion for involving people in internationalism, Susie leads the WCIA, and has been involved in the organisation since getting involved as a volunteer 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.
Shaela Ismail – Finance Manager
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.
Amber Demetrius – Global Learning Manager
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.
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.
Hannah Harvey- Head of Programme Development & Policy
Hannah Harvey job shares as the WCIA’s Head of Programme Development and Policy. Hannah has been working in the international and voluntary sector in Wales for the last ten years, supporting charities to manage risk, grow and keep up with best-practice initiatives. She is passionate about minimising her impact on the climate and also runs a domestic renewables’ company in Swansea with her husband.
Following her masters in social policy management and development, Hannah worked to support the development of the Wellbeing and Future Generations Act, specifically highlighting Wales’ global connection and the impact of global supply chains in public procurement.
Following an initial career as a publicist for the BBC, Hannah worked as a communications consultant for the World Bank, Sustrans and DfID and as a researcher at Gender at Work. Hannah loves spending time in nature, specifically: experiencing wild spaces with her family, sea swimming, tending bees and also growing veg as part of a community group.
Hayley Richards – Head of Programme Development & Policy
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.
Craig Owen – Heritage Advisor
A leading figure in Welsh internationalism over the last 15 years, Craig joined WCIA from WCVA (Wales Council for Voluntary Action), where as International Manager since 2007 he developed the Wales Africa Community Links programme. This supported 150 civil society organisations delivering 500 projects on learning, partnership building and community development between Wales and Sub-Saharan Africa, and sharing practice with European partners.
Craig previously worked on Oxfam International’s Tsunami Relief Programme in Indonesia, with a focus on peace building in the conflict-stricken province of Aceh. Craig wrote a ‘Blog from Banda Aceh’ followed by people throughout Wales and worldwide. As Wales Campaigns Coordinator with Oxfam Cymru, Craig led work on ‘Make Poverty History’, ‘Control Arms’ (securing an International Arms Trade Treaty) and on Fair Trade. He has travelled extensively and gainedinternational experience of peace building and community initiatives as far afield as South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, Lesotho, Indonesia, Cambodia, Angola, Israel and Palestine. Craig led public and youth outreach work with Oxfam and during 2 years as President of NUS Wales (National Union of Students), and as a students union officer at Aberystwyth University, where he studied Geography and Geology.
Over 2020-21 Craig is undertaking an MPhil on the ‘History of Welsh Internationalism‘ with Aberystwyth University’s Dept of International Politics. In his spare time, Craig has volunteered as an outdoor pursuits leader and trustee with the LGBT charity OutdoorLads; and is an ambassador with cancer charities such as Maggie’s Centres, having been in ongoing treatment and chemotherapy for Multiple Myeloma (Bone Marrow Cancer) since 2016. Craig works and studies part-time, primarily home-based.
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. It feels like a natural progression, ‘giving something back’, to be uncovering and sharing the heritage of Welsh Internationalism. 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.
Jane Harries – Peace Education Manager
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.
Michaela Rohmann – Volunteering Programme Manager
Michi joined UNA Exchange in 2014 and since then has led across a portfolio of EU-funded programmes, including Erasmus+ and predecessor youth exchange schemes. At WCIA Michaela is managing European Solidarity Corps projects and international exchanges.
Experienced in international volunteering herself, Michaela has participated in projects worldwide, including in Germany, France, South Africa, Tanzania, England and Wales.
Vicky Court – Volunteering Programme Manager
Vicky joined UNA Exchange prior to its merger with WCIA to manage its European Solidarity Corps programmes and international volunteering projects. She has also been involved in promoting WCIA within the youth work networks and coordinating the new Welsh government-funded Taith programme helping to provide many young people the opportunity for international learning exchanges.
Vicky has a background in managing projects for international NGOs and is experienced in international volunteering having taken part in a number of projects herself in South Africa, Bolivia, Brazil and Mongolia. She is passionate about enabling young people to explore different countries, cultures, communities and giving them the confidence to be a more active global citizen.
“I feel very privileged to work for an organisation like WCIA and particularly lucky to have been able to contribute to its different areas, whilst working with a truly collaborative and experienced team. It is inspiring to be involved with an organisation that motivates and empowers people to make such a positive impact on the world.”
Daniel Mapatac – Volunteer Placement Officer
Alongside his journey at Cardiff University, Daniel has had an active involvement in intercultural work, engaging in several projects surrounding non-formal education, youth work and policy in Europe, working collaboratively with young change-makers, local government and MEPs.
In 2019, he crossed the Pacific Ocean twice, as part of the 32nd Ship for World Youth programme which, united him with over 200 young people from around the globe. Daniel was a member of the Race Equality Taskforce for Cardiff Council from 2020-to 2022 and currently, he is part of the Future Generations Leadership Academy.
“I am passionate about connecting people, cultures and building communities. International experiences have had such a profound impact on my life and I am extremely excited to now be part of WCIA, and share my love for volunteering with others whilst working with such a brilliant team.”
Sam Ward – Head of Climate Cymru
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.”
Tom Weiser – Outreach Coordinator
Joining the WCIA team in May 2022 Tom will be responsible for 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.
Clare James – Climate Cymru’s Green Tour and Great Big Green Week 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 onto 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.
She 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.
Bethan Sayed – Warm this Winter Wales сoordinator
Bethan runs the Warm this Winter campaign in Wales, and is part of the Climate Cymru team. She started with Climate Cymru in September 2022, and is a former Plaid Cymru Senedd Member, serving from 2007 until 2021.
Warm this Winter is a UK wide campaign, seeking to develop solutions to tackle the cost of living crisis by campaigning for more energy efficiency measures in our homes and upscaling community renewables.
Bethan loves keeping fit and is an activist on numerous other issues such as flexible working and eating disorders. She is the current Chair of Companion Animal Welfare Group Wales.
Bethan Siân Jones – Academi Heddwch Cymru Project Development Manager
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’.
Ffion Fielding – Project Manager for the Women’s Peace Petition Project
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. She is joining Academi Heddwch from her current role is 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.
Hub Cymru Africa Team
The Hub Cymru Africa Team are also employed by and based with WCIA on behalf of the HCA Partnership Board, under contract with the Welsh Government, to deliver development support to Wales-wide international and community groups partnering with African organisations.
WCIA’s Venue Team manage Temple of Peace venue hire, room bookings and events – from meetings and conferences to weddings and film shoots.