Author: Susie

Fierce final in Schools Debating Championship


The exciting range of debates at the Wales Schools Debating Championships included feminism, genetically modified babies, the role of social deprivation in causing crime, banning child performers and charging people for treatment for health issues caused by lifestyle choices. Talented students from five schools competed for the individual speaker and the team Championships.

The team competition was won by Dagmawi Yosief and Restam Ehmo Agha from Howells Schools with Sophia Wallo and Gethin Jones from Coleg Menai as runners up. Both teams came through very tough semi- finals in the morning when teams form Cardiff Sixth Form College and Ysgol Dyffyn Aman put up very strong performances.

Arianne Banks, who won the individual speaker competition said, “I have really enjoyed speaking in the Council Chamber at the Temple of Peace. Debating has given me life skills which will be valuable in the future.”

All the participants enjoy the competitive element to this style of debating, although member of the winning team Dag said, “It is stressful and I often think after a competition, that’s my last, and then I come back for more.”

WCIA , with long standing funding support from the Hodge Foundation, has run the competition for many years. The aim is to make these opportunities available to as many schools as possible. Next year’s debating training and competition dates will be available soon.

The Strong Bond of friendship between Wales and Italy will survive Brexit

By WCIA Volunteer Morgane Dirion

Highlighting the “long friendship” and “strong bond” between Wales and Italy, Deputy Presiding Officer Ann Jones introduced Raffaele Trombetta, Italian ambassador to the UK. the event, on 11th February 2019 at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay, was hosted by the Wales Governance Centre, Cardiff University.

Initially, addressing Brexit and Italy, Trombetta said “it is time and it is important that people know more” about Italy, such as the thousands of innovative start-ups flourishing there or its competitive machinery industry.

After explaining what a “significant contribution to Welsh life” the Italian community had brought, he moved to the main point of his speech. He explained that the negotiation phase of Brexit, so far, had had no effect on the bilateral trade between the two countries. He said it was important to respect the decision made in June 2016 but that, however, he was and would always be a “committed member” of a united Europe and that anything that potentially has a negative effect on trade would be of concern. He clearly said that the worst scenario we could be faced with today was a no-deal Brexit.

Trombetta also answered dozens of questions from his audience – a mix of concerned UK and Italian citizens and Politics students. Questions included: his perception of Wales; the meaning of a no-deal Brexit for Italy; concerns about dual citizenship or the benefits of the European Union for disadvantaged people.

He made sure to emphasize once again the importance of Italian projects in Wales and the need to find new ways to keep building the relationship between the two countries.
Trombetta said that he wished there was no talk about a post-Brexit Europe but as it was something that, in today’s political climate, cannot be avoided, he stressed the importance of the Union as an architect of peace. The next European elections will be decisive, he admitted. These elections will not be some kind of test of national governments but a true chance to focus on the structure of Europe, to allow a constructive debate about the very nature of the Union and to try to take a position on deeper integration or a looser union.

You are welcome!

By WCIA Volunteer, Teresa Morandini

“You are all welcome,” said Eluned Morgan, Minister for International Relations and Welsh Language, at the Holocaust Memorial event, “Torn from Home” at the Temple of Peace Cardiff on 28 January 2019.
The event, organised by the Josef Herman Foundation and the Welsh Centre for International Affairs, reflected on the loss of a safe place due to persecution and genocide, and the need for a place of refuge.

Eluned Morgan added: “People generally want to stay at home. If they have fled from somewhere it will be a for a good reason.” To feel welcome everyone needs to be helped to integrate.
Celebrating the artist, Josef Herman is important because of both the welcome he found and the contribution he made in sharing Welsh life with the world though his art: “Only someone from the outside could help us to understand who we are”.

Josef Herman was born in 1911 into a Jewish family in Warsaw, where he attended the School of Art. However, after 1938, Josef was forced to abandon Poland to escape anti-Semitism. In 1942 Herman was working in Glasgow when he learned through the Red Cross that his entire family had perished in the Warsaw Ghetto. In 1944, while he was travelling in Wales, Herman’s art was influenced by a visit to Ystradgynlais, a South Wales mining town, which turned into an 11-year stay. In a short time, he turned to a familiar face in the community who gave him the affectionate nickname of “Joe Bach”. He found “home far from home”.

Since Herman’s time, Ystradgynlais has been a place of sanctuary. It was one of the first places to accept Syrian refugees. The evening saw the screening of three short films supported by the Josef Herman Foundation , to link the past and the present. The animations were made though a collaboration between local schools in Ystradgynlais, Syrian a refugee family, the actor, Michael Sheen, The Welfare, Ystradgynlais, Ffilm Cymru and the Cardiff based animation company Winding Snake. The audience also heard personal stories from refugees, who are now living in Wales.

Joseff, an asylum seeker and now Welsh speaker from Côte d’Ivoire, said: “Learning Welsh has been helpful to feel part of the community, to meet other people and, most importantly, to feel welcomed”. His entire speech was in Welsh, which earned him a huge round of applause. Joseff, who is in his 40s, encouraged other refugees look at Wales as a new home, a new start free from violence and persecution. Gareth Morgan, spoke enthusiastically about how a local Cardiff football team in Tongwynlais has found, not only success on the field, but also new, life-enhancing friendships since inviting a group of asylum seekers to join their team. Other asylum seekers and refugees also shared their stories of difficulties with the asylum system, of discrimination at times, but also of welcome as they settled in Wales. Finally, cellist, Rosie Biss, played a moving Bach solo as the audience reflected on the stories told and how Wales is working towards becoming a Nation of Sanctuary.

Members of the audience agreed that the short films presented should be played to the wider public, to encourage the knowledge about the asylum seekers’ situation and Josef Herman’s story.
Ffion, journalism student at the Cardiff University, said the event was very inspiring. “I learnt new perspectives and personal stories. Now I am wondering about what I can do in the future”.

#Temple80 – A month celebrating Wales’ Peacemakers and movements

Through November 2018, the Welsh Centre for International Affairs organised an ambitious programme of events to mark the 80th Anniversary of the opening of Wales’ Temple of Peace on Nov 23rd 1938, as well as #WW100 – the centenary of the Armistice of 11th Nov 1918, and beginning of the post-WW1 “Peace Process” that shaped global relations over the century since.

WCIA delivered over 43 events with a wide range of partners, each exploring an area of Wales’ ‘Peace Heritage’, and the work of Temple organisations past, present and future – as well as showcasing through the Wales for Peace Exhibition the work of volunteers and communities who have contributed to the Wales for Peace programme between 2014-18. This blog aims to draw together links and resources from all these activities, as they become available.

Voices of 1938 – Clippings Projection

Voices of Temple80 – Film

Temple80 November Programme of Events (scroll down for recordings / outputs)

View full programme of events – English; Welsh; Eventbrite

View Temple80 Exhibition Guide – English; Welsh

Listen to ‘Assemble’, composed for Temple80 / WW100 by Iffy Iwobi and Jon Berry

Temple80 Anniversary Evening

Centrepiece of Temple80 was the Gala evening on 23rd November, attended by about 230 people and including:

Self-Guided Tours of the Temple of Peace, and Temple80 / Wales for Peace exhibition.

‘A New Mecca’ Performance in partnership with Dr. Emma West, Uni of Birmingham and British Academy; Being Human Festival; Gentle Radical Arts Collective; and 50 volunteers and participants from diverse community groups. View ‘A New Mecca for today’ Being Human Festival blog by Dr Emma West.

– Communal Rededication of the Hall of Nations (back to its original 1938 title, as discovered from the archives)

– Food, Drink and Fireworks

– Launch of ‘Voices of Temple80’ Documentary Film by Tracy Pallant / Amy Peckham / Valley & Vale Community Arts

– WCIA VIPs Reception and alumni reunion, with Cutting of a ‘Rainbow Cake’

Peace Garden 30th Anniversary

On Saturday 24th, this was followed by a #PeaceGarden30 Rededication and Family Fun Day, in which WCIA brought together UNA Exchange international volunteers and alumni and Garden of Peace Founder Robert Davies, with children from Roath Park Primary School

Together they unveiled 2 new colourful mosaics (created by international volunteers) on a new archway entrance in the Peace Garden; buried a Time Capsule in the Garden, to be opened in 50 years time; and unveiled a plaque on one of WCIA’s meeting rooms in honour of Robert Davies, and all international youth volunteers inspired by him from 1973 to today.

#Temple80 ‘Wales for Peace’ Exhibition

The Exhibition accompanying Temple80 sought to draw together the story of the Temple, with Wales’ peace heritage of the last 100 years – including hidden histories gathered by community groups and volunteers 2014-18 – along with responses from young people, schools and artists.

View Temple80 Exhibition Guide – English; Welsh

Artists in Residence showcased a range of responses for visitors to delve deeper into the Temple’s stories:

  • Jon Berry, Temple80 Artist in Residence composed a series of musical installations responding to the Temple spaces & heritage; and also collaborated with musician Iffy Iwobi to produce and perform ‘Assemble’, a 8 minute musical tribute for the BME Remembrance Service.
  • Ness Owen, collection of 5 poems responding to heritage materials in exhibition;
  • Will Salter, ‘Guiding Hand’ alternative tour of the Temple encouraging deeper spatial appreciation;
  • Hazel Elstone, crafted multicoloured wreath of red, white, black and purple Remembrance poppies
  • Lee Karen Stow, with her ‘Women War & Peace’ photography display;
  • Tracy Pallant & Amy Peckham, with their community films including Temple80 Rap by BME artist Jon Chase.

Recordings / Outputs from Temple80 Events

Event Photo(s) Video(s) Audio(s)
Exhibition – throughout November Flickr Album;

Building the Exhibition

Self-Guided Tour with Craig Owen
Exhibition Launch and ‘Temple of Memories’ Round Table Flickr Album FACEBOOK LIVE BROADCAST – ‘Temple of Memories’
BAME Remembrance Service, 2nd Nov Flickr Album ASSEMBLE – by Iffy Iwobi & Jon Berry
International Development, 5th Nov
Schools Conference, 6TH Nov Flickr Album
War, Peace & the Environment, 6th Nov Article
Temple Tours Exhibition Walkthrough
Turning the Pages – every day through Nov Soldiers Stories FACEBOOK LIVE BROADCAST – Turning of the Pages Thoughts from the Crypt
Story of the Book of Remembrance, 9th Nov Flickr Album FACEBOOK LIVE BROADCAST – Story of the Book 1 and 2 Story of the Book of Remembrance
Armistice Day Services, 11th Nov Flickr Album
Campaigning for Change, 13th Nov FACEBOOK LIVE BROADCAST – CAMPAIGNING FOR CHANGE Campaigning for Change
Legacy of WW100, 21st Nov Flickr Album Legacy of WW100 Audio



Women War & Peace x 6
Peace Garden Rededication & Family Fun Day, 24th Nov Flickr Album Peace Garden Rededication + Robert Davies

Media Coverage

A New Mecca for Today? Being Human Festival Blog by Dr. Emma West, British Academy

‘We Will Remember Them’ – BBC Documentary by Huw Edwards (Temple of Peace features in about 5 minutes of content, with Dr Emma West and Dr Alison Fell)

How Wales’ most Tragic Mother spread Peace and Hope – Western Mail / Wales Online

Cardiff’s Temple of Peace opens its doors to celebrate 80th birthday – University of Birmingham article

War Mothers as Peace Builders – University of Birmingham

Remembrance Weekend at Temple of Peace – The Cardiffian

Temple of Peace turns 80 – The Cardiffian

Social Media Archives

Twitter Feed & Media:

Youtube Videos Channel:

Soundcloud Event Recordings:

Flickr Photo Albums:

People’s Collection Wales archive collections:

Facebook Community Page: