Llangollen International Eisteddfod: A Message of Peace Past, Present and Future

Over the week of 2nd-8th July 2018, Wales for Peace participated in the Llangollen International Eisteddfod with a ‘pop-up exhibition’ complementing the work of the Llangollen Archives Committee to capture the ‘Peace Heritage’ of this incredible festival of peace and reconciliation – borne out of the ashes of World War 2 –  now celebrating its 71st year.

WCIA’s contribution to Llangollen’s exhibition focused on exploring the heritage of the Llangollen Youth Peace and Goodwill message, working with the Archives Committee and local partners. We were honoured to be invited to present Wales’ Peace Heritage story, as the ‘Day Presidents Address’ for the 4th July 2018. WCIA would like to express our sincere gratitude to ‘Peace Associates’ Awel Irene and Sarah Baylis for leading our work with the Llangollen local partners, and to Eisteddfod Chair Terry Waite CBE, for their support for this valuable piece of ‘Hidden Histories’ rediscovery.

Exploring Llangollen’s Stories Past

Over the course of several weeks, Wales for Peace project associates Awel Irene and Sarah Baylis interviewed members of Llangollen’s Archives committee, and organisers past and present, to uncover more about the heritage of Llangollen’s own Message of Peace a`nd Goodwill, as well as the Eisteddfod itself. They produced 4 short films from their interviews, exploring the story of the message; the presenters; its impact over the decades; and the future.  

Llangollen’s message itself originated in 1949, inspired by the WLNU and Urdd Youth Message of Peace & Goodwill, broadcast annually since 1922. For many years, the Urdd and Llangollen messages reflected each other. However, in 1980 the Urdd Message took the form of a pop song – which was unable to replicated for the Llangollen context – and so an alternative Message was developed, but reflecting the same spirit. From this point on, organisers recognised the creative power of enabling young people to develop their own interpretations of the Peace Message – and so the Urdd and Llangollen young people’s peace messages diverged, although always remaining faithful to the pioneering spirit of the 1922 Peace Message. 

View 4 videos about Llangollen’s Peace and Goodwill Message (curated by Sarah Baylis and Awel Irene, edited by Llinos Griffin, Gwefus).

Llangollen’s Peace Heritage Today

The Archives Tent at the International Eisteddfod hosted an impressive exhibition drawing stories from across the decades from the start of the International Eisteddfod in 1947, to today – along with a Wales for Peace touch screen and pop-up exhibition.


View Flickr album of the Llangollen Archives Tent ‘Peace Heritage’ exhibition

Inspiring the Future

Read the text of Craig Owen’s address as Day President of the Eisteddfod for Wednesday 4th July (below)

Download Day President’s Address

One thought on “Llangollen International Eisteddfod: A Message of Peace Past, Present and Future”

  1. Pingback: “Ladies and Gentlemen, will you please welcome our friends from Germany”: The Llangollen Musical International Eisteddfod and post-war reconciliation – Wales since 1945

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