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Peace100: WCIA Gregynog Festival Lecture will mark Centenary of post-WW1 Paris Peace Treaty

Wales’ Temple of Peace and Health was built as the nations’ memorial to the fallen of WW1 – thanks to the vision of one family of philanthopists from Powys, who made it their mission to support the people and communities of Wales in building a better world.

David Davies (1880-1944), Gwendoline Davies (1882-1951) and Margaret Davies (1884-1963) were the grandchildren of the remarkable Welsh industrialist and entrepreneur, David Davies, Llandinam (1818-1890), and used their inherited wealth with imagination to sponsor numerous cultural, educational and social projects to benefit the people of Wales.

This year’s Gregynog Festival season, in the Davies family home of Gregynog Hall, Powys, celebrates the anniversaries of two institutions founded by David Davies: the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University and the Temple of Peace and Health in Cardiff.

‘A Dining Table Divided’ by war, yet united for peace, the Davies family are a microcosm of Wales’ WW1 story – and their peacebuilding legacy lives on today. Come to their home, to this year’s Gregynog Peace Lecture to hear their moving and inspiring story.”  

For Tickets, click on links below

Gregynog Hall, Powys, home of the Davies family who founded Wales’ Temple of Peace. Credit: Wikimedia Commons











Within weeks of the 1918 Armistice, David, Gwendoline and Margaret Davies made a bold offer to the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth. They proposed to endow the world’s first Chair in International Politics. Their vision was driven by the recognition of ‘the need for considering all the peoples of the world as one’. Dr Jan Ruzicka, Director of the David Davies Memorial Institute of International Studies, explains how such a world view represented a fundamental departure from the existing practice and show the difficulties David Davies met in his quest to realize it.

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Craig Owen, Head of Wales for Peace (Welsh Centre for International Affairs), marks the centenary of the post-World War I Treaty of Versailles – signed on 28 June 1919 – with a special lecture exploring the ‘peace legacy’ of the Davies family, Wales’ unique Temple of Peace, and the extraordinary stories of ordinary people who, over the last 100 years, have shaped Wales’ role in building a better world. Can they inspire a new generation of internationalists?

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Bottom: David Davies during WW1 Military Service, as commanding officer in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (14th Battalion), before witnessing the horrors of the trenches; Gwendoline & Margaret (Daisy) Davies pre-WW1; cousin George M Ll Davies, WW1 conscientious objector.
Top: George M Ll Davies during his military service (prior to opposing WW1); Gwen & Daisy nursing at the front in Troyes, France; cousin Edward Lloyd Jones, killed in action in Gallipoli, 1915.

“A Oes Heddwch?” 100 years pursuing Peace at the National Eisteddfod

Wales Peace Flag

Written on 03-08-2018 by Craig Owen

100 years ago this week, at the Neath National Eisteddfod in August 1918, a soldier – returned from the trenches of WW1 – took to the stage to propose the creation of a ‘Welsh League of Nations Union’. David Davies of Llandinam, horrified by what he had witnessed in war, called for all at that Eisteddfod to pledge to the pursuit of peace – 3 months ahead of the Armistice that would end WW1 on 11.11.1918.
100 years later, as the crowds descend on Cardiff, Peace campaigners repeat this call from the Peace Tent at the 2018 National Eisteddfod – with a programme of events marking the week.

Jump to:
Neath Eisteddfod 100
Cardiff Peace Trail
Wales’ National Garden of Peace
Annual Peace Lecture
Peace Tent and Hiroshima Day event

Welsh Refugee Coalition Tent Programme

The Neath Eisteddfod of 1918 – a Call for Peace

“At the National Eisteddfod in Neath in August 1918, David Davies first suggested the formation of the Welsh League of Nations Union, saying that Wales had an important role to play in the campaign for world peace. As the Union was formed in 1918 it had 3,217 members, but by 1922 this had grown dramatically to over 200,000. In 1920, Davies donated £30,000 to set up an endowment fund to establish a Welsh National Council of the League of Nations Union. By 1922 it had 280 local branches, and by 1926 the number had grown to 652.”

By Elgan Philips, “When Aberystwyth hosted an International Peace Congress,” May 2016

The Welsh League of Nations Union borne out of the 1918 Neath Eisteddfod, grew to play an instrumental role in shaping national life in the 1920s and 30s, and much of the ‘psyche’ of Wales as we know it to today. Women, children, teachers, religious leaders, workers, artists, academics and philanthropists led the world in grassroots peace building initiatives.

Welsh Efforts for World Peace, 1920s

Cardiff Eisteddfod 2018: Answering the Call

Launch of City of Cardiff Peace Trail – Tuesday 7th, 2.45 / 3.30pm, Societies 3 (Senedd Building)

In 2013, a Temple75 Peace Trail was trialled around Cardiff as part of WCIA’s 75th Anniversary of the Temple of Peace. Between 2016-18, Cymdeithas y Cymod with funding from Annibynwyr (the Union of Welsh Independent Churches) have been working with journalist Jon Gower and ex-Eisteddfod President Dr. R Alun Evans to develop a new ‘City of Cardiff Peace Trail’ which will be launched at the Eisteddfod:

  • 2.45 – Launch of Taith Heddwch Caerdydd / Cardiff Peace Trail. Join Jon Gower and R Alun Evans for the launch of the Cardiff Peace Journey booklet. A trip will follow at 15:30. (NB Please allow 15 minutes for passage through security) . A Cymdeithas y Cymod Session
  • 3.30 – Cardiff Peace Tour. Join Jon Gower and R Alun Evans on a tour by the Fellowship of Reconciliation in Wales, ending at Wales’ National Garden of Peace.

National Garden of Peace: #Garden30 and #Temple80

Wales National Garden of Peace was first dedicated on 23rd November 1988, to mark the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Temple of Peace. A time capsule was buried by 8-year old Cardiff school pupil Richard Mears with 93 year old Irene Chamberlain, one of the women representing WW1 war mothers who were asked to open the Temple of Peace. To date, over 40 memorials have been dedicated to peace movements and individuals.

For the launch of the Cardiff Peace Trail, WCIA’s Wales for Peace volunteers have produced a new leaflet offering a guide to these memorials, including stories of just some of the inspiring people commemorated in this national monument in the heart of Cardiff.


In November 2018, the Welsh Centre for International Affairs will be holding a month long programme of events to mark the 80th anniversary of the Temple of Peace – to include a 30th anniversary rededication of the Peace Garden with International Youth Service volunteers and peace groups on Sunday 25th November. WCIA’s #Temple80 programme will be available from early September at and

Members of Cymdeithas y Cymod as well as Welsh Historic Garden Trust  have expressed interest in ‘adopting’ the Peace Garden after WCIA’s HLF-funded Wales for Peace project comes to a close at the end of 2018.

Annual Peace Lecture – Wednesday 8th , 16.30, Societies 2 (Senedd Building)

Lifelong peace activist Jane Harries MBE, WCIA’s Wales for Peace Learning Coordinator, will be presenting the 2018 Quakers in Wales Annual Eisteddfod Lecture: “Our third lecture will be given by Jane Harries, on aspects of the legacy of peace and peace-making in Wales, as commemoration of World War I comes to a close.” Quakers

Wales, a Peaceful Nation? A critical look at Wales’ peace heritage since WW1

(Eisteddfod event post – WCIA Event post)


View Jane Harries’ article in Freedom News, “A Oes Heddwch?”

Jane Harries MBE introduces the Quaker Annual Eisteddfod Lecture for 2018:

Post-Event Resources

To view a video recording of Jane Harries’ Quaker Peace Lecture at the National Eisteddfod, view the Youtube Playlist at

You can listen to audio translation into English (please note – low quality due to being through a translation headset) at:

WCIA hope to recruit a volunteer to add English subtitles to the video recording. If you would be interested in this opportunity, please contact

Pabell Heddwch / Peace Tent – all week (4th – 11th August)

The Peace Tent (stalls 415-6), adjacent to the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay, will be open through Eisteddfod week supported by volunteers from Cymdeithas y Cymod and CND Cymru, with a week-long programme of events.


On Monday, a gathering was held at the Eisteddfod to mark Hiroshima Day – the 73rd anniversary of the world’s first atomic bomb dropped on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, killing 297,684 people who are remembered worldwide. Jill Evans MEP spoke at this year’s Cardiff Eisteddfod Hiroshima Day event in support of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, in particular supporting CND Cymru’s call for the UK to sign up to the UN Nuclear Prohibition Treaty.

Last year, in December 2017, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – ICAN – were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their decades of work campaigning for the UN treaty. CND Cymru have been campaigning for nuclear disarmament since the 1960s.

– View CND Archive on Peoples Collection Wales 

Many Welsh schools and youth groups in recent years have participated in Paper Cranes projects inspired by Sadako Sasaki, a child victim of the nuclear bomb, as their expression of a desire for a world of nuclear disarmament.

Throughout the week, CND Cymru will be promoting and gathering signatures on the ‘Peace Train Petition’, to be taken from all over Wales to London on World Peace Day, September 21st 2018 calling for the UK Government to sign up to the UN Nuclear Prohibition Treaty.

Cymdeithas y Cymod will also be promoting and gathering signatures for the Heddwch Nain Mamgu petition, inspired by the 1920s Women’s Peace petition to America, calling for greater international cooperation towards peace through the United Nations.

peace through the United Nations.

Welsh Refugee Coalition Tent – all week (4th – 11th August)

WCIA (the Welsh Centre for International Affairs) are partners in the Welsh Refugee Coalition, whose stall (117-118) in Cardiff Bay will be supporting visitors to understand how we can all support refugees fleeing war as part of Wales’ commitment to becoming a ‘Nation of Sanctuary’.

View article Hundreds of teddies looking for a home – the Welsh Refugee Coalition at the Eisteddfod

View the Welsh Refugee Coalition’s timetable of events at the National Eisteddfod.

View WCIA’s Wales for Peace ‘Refugees and Sanctuary’ hidden histories timeline.


Wales Peace History Conference for UN World Peace Day, 21-22 Sept 2018


Marking UN World Peace Day on Friday 21st September 2018, Wales’ Temple of Peace are delighted to host the Wales Peace History Conference 2018 – a gathering over two days of leading academics, students and peace activists exploring in depth understanding of Wales’ peace heritage.

The programme, organised by poet and Professor Mererid Hopwood of University of Wales Trinity St. David, will bring together people from all corners will come together to learn more about the peace-makers of Wales and the world.

The event will include sessions on conscientious objectors, the contribution of women to peace-making in the 20th century, the testimony of poets and writers and public art.

A range of speakers will also be contributing to the event including Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales; author and broadcaster, Jon Gower, and artist and blacksmith, David Petersen.

A number of eminent academics from Universities across Wales will also host sessions during the two-day event in Cardiff.

Organising Professor Mererid Hopwood said: “It’s a privilege to be able to welcome this conference to Wales. Alongside a range of interesting lectures, conference-goers will be able to enjoy an artistic programme that includes literature, music and the visual arts.”

The conference – which is being sponsored by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol – forms part of an annual series which has in the past been held in other cities, including Manchester, Leeds and London but this is the first time for Wales to host it.

The event will also offer a preview of event plans for the 80th Anniversary of Wales’ Temple of Peace, to be marked through November 2018.

View Conference Programme:

UWTSD Press Release

Wales’ WW1 Belgian Refugees’ Story shared in Brussels


Written on 14-09-2019 by Craig Owen

In WW1, Wales took in over 4,500 Belgian Refugees fleeing the front in Flanders. 100 years later, WCIA Peace Programme Manager Craig Owen shared this story with researchers in Brussels at the ‘Belgian Refugees Symposium’ – but with a particular focus on exploring successive waves of sanctuary from WW1 to today, leading up to Wales’ current campaign to become the world’s first ‘Nation of Sanctuary’.

2 years of community projects exploring the topic of Belgian Refugees following a lecture in Aberystwyth in March 2016, which aroused a great deal of interest. Following this, Wales for Peace developed a whole theme within Welsh peace heritage around Refugees and Sanctuary.

Craig’s presentation, as part of the ‘Celtic Fringe’ perspectives, was complemented by two community contributions:

The symposium in Brussels followed on from a Belgian Refugees Symposium held in Cardiff in November 2017. The Brussels symposium brought together perspectives from across the whole UK, as well as Belgium itself; and laid the foundations for consolidation of the knowledge gathered, and for future research.

WCIA recently worked with the Global Learning Programme to develop a series of resources for schools teaching refugees and sanctuary, which should be available from Hwb in Autumn 2018.

View WCIA Presentation

Refugees and Sanctuary in Wales – PDF

Learning Resources

Refugees & Sanctuary learning resources to follow from Hwb.

View Photo Album on Flickr –




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