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Lansio ymgyrch i anfon 50,000 o leisiau o Gymru i’r COP26

Mae ymgyrch wedi cael ei lansio i anfon 50,000 o leisiau ar draws Cymru i Gynhadledd Newid Hinsawdd y CU (COP26) eleni yn Glasgow.

Caerdydd, 8 Mawrth 2021 – Mae Climate Cymru, clymblaid o ddinasyddion, cymdeithas sifil a busnes ar draws Cymru yn lansio ymgyrch i ddod â 50,000 o leisiau ynghyd o bobl Cymru i fynd i Glasgow ym mis Tachwedd.

Bydd cefnogwyr ar draws y wlad yn cael eu grymuso i ychwanegu eu llais at wefan Climate Cymru, i fynnu gweithredu cryf ac ystyrlon gan arweinwyr newid hinsawdd.  Ar ôl ychwanegu eu llais, bydd cefnogwyr wedyn yn gallu creu eu neges bersonol eu hunain, fydd yn mynd i gyfarfod COP26 eleni yn Glasgow, ac i’w rhannu ymysg eu rhwydweithiau eu hunain.

Mae’r argyfwng hinsawdd a natur yn bygwth cymunedau Cymru, eu ffyrdd o fyw, a’r byd naturiol.  Mae’n digwydd nawr, ac mae llawer eisoes yn ei weld yn eu bywydau bob dydd.  Mae llifogydd difrifol, oedd ar un adeg yn ddigwyddiad prin, bellach yn ddigwyddiad blynyddol mewn llawer o gymunedau yng Nghymru.  Bydd newid hinsawdd ond yn gwaethygu hyn.

Mae arweinwyr y byd yn cyfarfod yn Glasgow ym mis Tachwedd ac mae Climate Cymru yn galw arnynt i wneud ymrwymiadau cryf ac ystyrlon i ddiogelu’r pethau sydd yn annwyl i ni ac i greu dyfodol gwell i bawb.

Mae Climate Cymru yn casglu lleisiau ar draws Cymru, lleisiau sydd yn poeni’n fawr am Gymru, ei phobl, ei hamgylchedd naturiol, ond hefyd, yn hollbwysig, am y byd y tu hwnt i’w ffiniau.  Mae’r ymgyrch yn galw ar bobl o bob cefndir i ddatblygu mudiad amrywiol ar draws ffiniau gwleidyddol, diwylliannol, crefyddol, demograffig a sectoraidd.

Gan ddefnyddio llesiau Cymru, nod yr ymgyrch yw rhoi’r pwyslais ar lywodraethau ac arweinwyr gwleidyddol i ddangos arweinyddiaeth ac i sicrhau bod ymdrechion unigolion a busnesau’n cael eu cefnogi gan bolisïau effeithiol. 

Wrth gynnal COP26, mae’n arbennig o bwysig i Lywodraeth y DU ddangos arweinyddiaeth ryngwladol i bwyso am ymrwymiadau cryf ac ystyrlon gan y gymuned ryngwladol i frwydro yn erbyn newid hinsawdd.

Ymunwch â’r ymgyrch.  Ychwanegwch eich llais yn climate.cymru.

Dywedodd Poppy Stowell-Evans, aelod o Lysgenhadon Hinsawdd Ieuenctid Cymru a Llysgennad Climate Cymru:

“Fel sefydliad o bobl ifanc sy’n ymgyrchu dros y newid yn yr hinsawdd, rydym yn cydnabod y bydd y newid yn yr hinsawdd yn effeithio ar bob agwedd ar ein bywydau yn rhyngwladol ac yng Nghymru. Mae’n rhaid, felly, ei gymryd o ddifrif fel mater byd-eang.

Mae gweithredu ar y newid yn yr hinsawdd yn hanfodol i ddiogelu’r blaned a dyfodol cenedlaethau’r dyfodol. Mae gweithredu ar y newid yn yr hinsawdd yn gam cadarnhaol ymlaen i’n gwlad a’r byd a dyma pam y mae mor bwysig eich bod yn defnyddio eich llais!

Dim ond cyfnod byr o amser sydd gennym i weithredu, dylai Llywodraethau fod yn ymrwymo i ddiogelu dyfodol y blaned ac yn gweithredu cyn ei bod yn rhy hwyr.”

Dywedodd Susie Ventris-Field, Prif Swyddog Gweithredol Canolfan Materion Rhyngwladol Cymru a Phrif Swyddog Gweithredol Climate Cymru:

“Mae Climate Cymru yn bartneriaeth o unigolion, busnesau a chymdeithas sifil sydd o’r farn ei fod yn hanfodol bod lleisiau amrywiol o Gymru’n cael eu clywed yn COP26. Mae pawb sydd yn gysylltiedig yn cyflwyno safbwyntiau gwahanol ond rydym yn unedig yn ein galwad i weithredu ar y newid yn yr hinsawdd.

Roedd Cytundeb Paris yn 2015 yn gam mawr ymlaen yn y frwydr i fynd i’r afael â’r newid yn yr hinsawdd.  Mae angen i’n harweinwyr ddatblygu’r sylfeini hyn a gwneud ymrwymiad cryf ac ystyrlon i ddiogelu’r pethau sydd yn annwyl i ni.”

Dywedodd Sophie Howe, Comisiynydd Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol Cymru a Phartner Climate Cymru:

“COP26 yw ein hunig gyfle mewn cenhedlaeth i ymrwymo, paratoi a gweithredu.  Mae gan Gymru stori unigryw i’w rhannu trwy ei Deddf Lles Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol unigryw.  Mae COP26 yn rhoi llwyfan i ni rannu ein gweledigaeth. 

“Mae cenedlaethau’r dyfodol yng Nghymru ac ar draws y byd yn gofyn i ni gymryd yr adeg hon o ddifrif.  Mae’r mudiad dros newid yn cynyddu!  Wrth i ni geisio ailgodi’n gryfach – dewch i ni ganolbwyntio ar adferiad gwyrdd.”




The 1935 Peace Ballot in Wales

By Rob Laker, History Masters Researcher, Swansea University (student placement with WCIA’s ‘Peace Heritage’ programme).

Download Printable PDF Booklet

The 1935 Peace Ballot was a UK wide poll of Britain’s electorate designed to measure the public’s opinions regarding the key debates in international relations at the time. Despite lacking government sponsorship, the Ballot received extraordinary attention across the United Kingdom – nowhere was engagement higher, however, than in Wales, which quickly came to be recognised as a leading light in the cause of internationalism.

1,025,040 people in Wales voted in the Peace Ballot of 1935… 62.3% of eligible registered voters”

Between the wars, a new form of outward-looking patriotism had become an important part of Welsh national identity, as ordinary people worked actively to create a Wales which existed at the centre of the international community. Local branches of the Welsh League of Nations Union were active in every corner of Wales, running cultural events such as ‘Daffodil Days’ – the since forgotten annual custom of selling daffodils in aid of the League – and coordinating networks of local activists. This pride in their nation’s role in the quest for international harmony manifested itself in Welsh responses to the Peace Ballot, producing an overwhelming endorsement for the cause of internationalism.

The UK Ballot

By the end of 1933 it seemed that the international order was unravelling: the World Disarmament Conference had failed to produce results, Germany had withdrawn from the League of Nations, and the organisation had proved itself unable to resolve the Manchuria Crisis.

Internationalists in Britain, however, were anxious that the government remain committed to the League, and so the League of Nations Union set about organising the Peace Ballot in order to demonstrate the British people’s unwavering commitment to internationalism. Between the end of 1934 and the middle of 1935, half a million volunteers canvassed door to door, collecting ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses on five key questions:

1)    Should Great Britain remain a member of the League of Nations?

2)    Are you in favour of all-round reduction of armaments by international agreement?

3)    Are you in favour of an all-round abolition of national military and naval aircraft by international agreement?

4)    Should the manufacture and sale of armaments for private profit be prohibited by international agreement?

5)     Do you consider that, if a nation insists on attacking another, the other nations should combine to compel it to stop –

       a) by economic and non-military measures?

       b) if necessary, military measures?

Credit – Northern Friends’ Peace Board, c/o Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) 

Despite being independently conducted, the Ballot – which received 11.6 million responses nationwide – has been described as Britain’s first referendum, and was highly effective in stimulating engagement with the key issues dominating international politics. The poll did not disappoint its organisers, for the result was an emphatic endorsement of internationalist policies from the British public.

  • An astonishing ninety-seven percent of voters felt that Britain should remain in the League
  • while ninety-four percent believed that it should outlaw the arms trade
Read more

WLNU Postbox in the Temple of Peace today.

The Welsh Case

In Wales, the organisation of the Ballot fell solely on the shoulders of the Welsh League of Nations Union (WLNU), a challenge which it took up with great enthusiasm. Vast reserves of internationalist sentiment, which permeated every corner of Welsh society, were an important part of interwar society. To believe in Wales was, in this period of salient hope, to actively pursue the cause of peace, thereby locating the Welsh as a ‘force for good’ at the crux of global anxieties.

Google Map of Communities who organised Daffodil Days between 1925-39, collated by Rob Laker for his feature article on Daffodil Days of the WLNU . Zoom, or click on pins, to find individual communities. Further info on local activism can be gleaned from Welsh League of Nations Union reports (digitised by WCIA on People’s Collection Wales).

Lord David Davies of Llandinam  (painted by Sam Morse Brown:  National Museum of Wales collections)  

As a result, Lord David Davies (who co-founded the Welsh League of Nations Union with Rev Gwilym Davies) was determined that Wales should produce a spectacular result in the Ballot which he viewed as the very ‘essence of democracy’.

Drawing upon a committed network of volunteers across Wales, supplemented by an army of canvassers (paid at the personal expense of Lord Davies), WLNU representatives went door to door in nearly every Welsh town and village collecting responses.

The responses proved to be an affirmation of Wales’ internationalist credentials, as over one million adults voted in the Ballot – which at the time, represented 62.3 percent of the Welsh electorate (24 percent higher than the average across Britain as a whole).

As of 6th June 1935, the top twelve constituencies in Great Britain with the highest percentage turnout were all in Wales, in some of which over eighty percent of the total electorate responded to the ballot (RH).

In a few cases, turnout was particularly spectacular. In Llanerfyl (Montgomeryshire), for instance, all 304 of its adult inhabitants responded to the poll, likely a testament to the zeal of local activists.

Turnout was in fact much higher in villages than in large towns across the board, and despite hosting the headquarters of the Welsh League of Nations Union, Cardiff produced some of the lowest turnouts of the poll.

We can interpret this as evidence that the success of the Ballot in Wales rested not just in the League’s popularity, but in the strength of Welsh community activism. It is highly likely that organisers in villages such as Llanerfyl (Montgomery) and Nantlle (Gwynedd) were able to achieve a 100 percent response rate because they operated in a tight-knit community, allowing them to rally support face-to-face, one neighbour at a time, in a way which proved more difficult in larger cities.

It is worth noting, however, that despite the strategy of going door-to-door in their local communities, activists were still able to obtain phenomenal results from many larger towns. In Port Talbot, for example, 82.8 percent of the town’s 27,000 adults voted.

Viewed in this light, the results of the Ballot are a testament to the strength and scale of the local networks upon which the Welsh League of Nations relied upon for support.

The way in which Welsh people voted also reflects the strength of their commitment to internationalism. In fact, just 1.7 percent of voters in Wales wanted to leave the League – around half the national average – while Welsh voters were consistently more often in favour of disarmament.

Wales had proved itself a ‘special case’. As historians such as Helen McCarthy have noted, the League of Nations Union was the largest ‘League themed’ society of any in Europe and easily enjoyed the most popular support. It is not unreasonable then, in light of the disparity between Wales and the rest of Britain in Ballot responses, to conclude that…

“in 1935 the Welsh ‘were the most ardently internationalist nation in Europe’.”

Digitised Wales Peace Ballot Records

This collection draws together leaflets, voting forms, campaigner bulletins, articles and analysis by the Welsh League of Nations Union for the 1935 Peace Ballot - a national canvass of public opinion on Peace in the context of the then-escalating European Arms Race. Although the Peace Ballot was an initiative by the UK League of Nations Union, Wales set out explicitly to 'lead the way' and 'top the polls,' to demonstrate the strength of feeling in favour of peace, 16 years after the end of WW1.

The bulletins gave a detailed breakdown of progress on the Ballot, returns from each county of Wales (with comparisons to England), and analysis / encouragement from key figures in Wales' Peace movements. The bulletins carried motivational 'Opinion Pieces' from leaders of Wales Peace movements, such as Gwilym Davies and David Davies; and in depth analysis of the returns received from constituencies all over Wales

Later bulletins and introduction of 'YMLAEN / ONWARD' newsletter, explore implications of the results for Wales' peace building movements, and impact upon domestic and international political affairs - in particular, the meeting of the 1936 League of Nations in Geneva, which was regarded as a failure on the part of national governments. A poster graphic illustrates the UK-wide results, and Wales' leading place within the polls - with 5 of the top 10 constituency returns being Anglesey, Aberdare, Swansea East, Rhondda West and Merthyr Tydfil.
1935 Peace Ballot – Briefing for Households 1935 Peace Ballot – Canvassers’ Briefing ‘Peace Calls for Plain Answers to Simple Questions’ – 1935 Media Article Bulletin 2, Jan 22 1935 Bulletin 3, Feb 6 1935
Bulletin 4, Mar 9 1935 Bulletin 5, Apr 9 1935 Bulletin 6, June 7 1935 Bulletin 7, Oct 1935: ONWARD YMLAEN / ONWARD Bulletin, May 1936

Outcomes for Britain

The will of the people was unequivocal – Wales and Britain wanted to remain in international circles – what this meant, however, remained open to interpretation.

The organisers of the Ballot presented the result to the prime minister and his cabinet, but it quickly became clear that, due to the binary nature of responses, that the format of the Ballot was a poor vehicle for dictating policy.

‘Remain may have meant remain’, and ‘disarm may have meant disarm’… but the Ballot gave no sense of the scale or manner of which these aims should be pursued.

This left little room for nuance, and instead general opinion was measured without details of its practical implementation. The failure of Ballot organisers to frame the poll’s questions within the myriad complexities of Britain’s international position, made integration of the Ballot’s result into policy making both confusing and impractical – and so the consequences of the Ballot in Britain’s foreign policy are hard to identify.

The Ballot may have failed to significantly influence policy, but the strength of the poll lay in its ability to measure popular opinion. It demonstrated that an overwhelming majority of the population supported Britain’s active involvement in the League of Nations, even if there was no uniform vision of what that involvement should look like.

Across Britain, League of Nations Union branches enjoyed a surge in membership and enthusiasm for the League which, despite the Abyssinia Crisis and the aggression of Hitler, was maintained right up until the outbreak of the Second World War.

UK wide returns against the 5 questions posed by the Peace Ballot.

 

Outcomes for Wales

WLNU Organiser Rev Gwilym Davies

The Welsh League of Nations Union had a very clear idea of what the result should mean for Wales. For Gwilym Davies (Organiser of the WLNU) the result of the Ballot was ‘the vindication of the democratic right of a free people’ and a demonstration of the ‘notable achievements’ of Wales in the cause for world peace.

In a bulletin on the subject of ‘facing the future’, Davies called for the ‘Welsh million’ to be converted into one hundred thousand new members across Wales. While this roughly eight-fold increase failed to materialise itself,

the WLoNU organisation more than doubled in size, reaching 27,545 paid members by 1937 – the highest at any point in the interwar period.

For Wales, Gwilym Davies published a Constituency by Constituency Analysis of the 1935 Peace Ballot voting returns – which can be viewed on People’s Collection Wales at: www.peoplescollection.wales/items/1247091

Clearly then, far from being a fleeting spike of interest, the Peace Ballot was the source of revitalisation of Wales’ identity as an international nation.

Furthermore, the setbacks suffered by the League of Nations in the mid and late 1930s – instead of leading to disenchantment – only made people in Wales more determined that the principles they had committed to in the Peace Ballot should be upheld. This wave of enthusiasm for peace through internationalism was carried right through to the outbreak of war in 1939 and beyond, later providing the support structures and the much of the personnel for the creation of the United Nations.

One such example is Gwilym Davies himself, Director and co-founder of the WLNU, who not only became president of the Welsh National Council of the United Nations Association, but is considered to be a key architect in the creation of world education & scientific body UNESCO.

Temple of Peace: Headquarters befitting a ‘Booming’ Movement

One of the most striking and longstanding results of the Peace Ballot in Wales is the Temple of Peace and Health, which was opened in Cardiff in 1938.

Envisioned by Lord Davies as ‘a memorial to those gallant men from all nations who gave their lives in the war that was to end war’, construction of the building was started in 1937 at a time when the organisation was rapidly expanding.

'A New Mecca'

Account from the Opening Ceremony, ‘A New Mecca’, from the Temple of Peace Archives

It was felt that, in light of the precarious international situation, it was more important than ever for Welsh internationalism to have a headquarters which suitably reflected its growing influence. Thus rose the Temple – a bastion of peace, intended to make good the sacrifice of those who fell in the ‘war that was to end war’.

Today the Temple of Peace still stands – an enduring legacy of the Ballot’s success. The organisations it now houses continue to work in the spirit of the Ballot’s organisers, inheriting the desire that Wales should be at the centre of the international community.

The WCIA – Welsh Centre for International Affairs, founded in 1973, is the modern iteration (the ‘grand daughter’, via UNA Wales) of the Welsh League of Nations Union. WCIA continue the work and vision of WLNU, and the million Welsh people who voted in the 1935 Peace Ballot, to build a better, more peaceful world.

WCIA, like their predecessors, believe that Wales is a nation which can create real and lasting change in the wider world. It is for this proud tradition – driven by the dedication and commitment of local people across Wales – that the galvanising effects of the Peace Ballot should be remembered today.

Blog article and research by WCIA Research Intern Rob Laker, on placement with Wales for Peace from Swansea University History Dept over Summer 2019 with ongoing research through 2020. Drawing on materials from the National Library of Wales and Temple of Peace Archives; and Annual Reports of the Welsh League of Nations Union 1922-45 on People’s Collection Wales, digitised by WCIA (with support of Swansea doctoral student Stuart Booker) for open access research. Final edit by Craig Owen, Wales for Peace.

Rob Laker, WCIA Archives Intern




Stori Llyfr y Cofio Cymru o’r Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf

Lawrlwythwch PDF i'w Brintio

Adeiladwyd Teml Heddwch ac Iechyd Cymru, sef cartref Canolfan Materion Rhyngwladol Cymru a’r prosiect ‘ Cymru dros Heddwch ‘ a ariannir gan CDL fel cofeb y genedl i’r rheiny a fu farw yn y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf– cofeb a fyddai’n ysbrydoli cenedlaethau’r dyfodol i ddysgu o wrthdaro’r gorffennol, i siartio rôl Cymru yn y byd, ac i weithio tuag at heddwch.

100 mlynedd yn ôl i’r penwythnos hwn, dywedodd y byd ‘ Byth Eto ‘ i wrthdaro, wrth i Glychau’r Cadoediad ganu ar 4 blynedd a oedd wedi dileu cenhedlaeth. Cenedl mewn poen a galar sy’n ymbaratoi i ailadeiladu, ac adeiladu byd gwell.

CaernarfonPoppies4-1200x900 Red White WfP Poppies

100 mlynedd yn ddiweddarach, mae pabïau coch y cofio milwrol –yn ogystal â’r pabïau gwyn dros heddwch, y pabïau du dros gymunedau BME, a’r pabiau porffor dros anifeiliaid a gollwyd mewn rhyfel –i gyd yn nodi’r funud o dawelwch am 11am ar 11.11, pabïau i bobl o bob persbectif.

Ond ar #WW100, mae ein pabïau o bob lliw yn cofio’r rheiny sydd wedi marw a chael eu gadael ar ôl hefyd gan ganrif o wrthdaro ers hynny – yr Ail Ryfel Byd, Sbaen, Korea, y Rhyfeloedd Trefedigaethol, y Rhyfel Oer, Fietnam, Falklands, Gwlff, Balcanau, Rhyfel ar Derfysgaeth, Affganistan, Irac, Libya, Syria … Beth mae’r byd wedi’i ddysgu mewn gwirionedd o Gofio? I ogoneddu rhyfel … neu i’w atal?

Davies Family of Llandinam

Y Teulu Davies o Landinam

Nid yw agweddau gwahanol tuag at wynebu gwrthdaro yn newydd. Drwy’r Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf, byddai’r teulu Davies o Landinam ym Mhowys wedi cael dadleuon wrth y bwrdd cinio a oedd yn cynrychioli’r trawsdoriad o gymdeithas. Wyrion y diwydiannwr o Gymro, David Davies:

  • Roedd David Davies (Jnr) (yr Arglwydd Davies o Landinam yn ddiweddarach) yn filwr yn y Ffiwsilwyr Brenhinol Cymreig, ac yn Ysgrifennydd Seneddol preifat i’r arweinydd rhyfel, David Lloyd George. Ond cafodd ei arswydo gan y gyflafan a welodd ar y Ffrynt, ac fe neilltuodd ei fywyd i fynd ar drywydd heddwch –gan gynnwys sefydlu’r Adran Cysylltiadau Rhyngwladol gyntaf yn y byd yn Aberystwyth (dathlu eu canmlwyddiant yn 2019), a Theml Heddwch ac Iechyd Cymru (dathlu #Teml80, ein 80fed pen-blwydd, yn Tach 2018).
  • Ymunodd ei gefnder Edward Lloyd Jones yn gyndyn â rhyfel a ystyriai’n anghyfiawn; ond cafodd ei ladd yn Gallipoli, yn ddim ond 27 mlwydd oed.
  • Roedd y cefnder George M Ll Davies yn Wrthwynebydd Cydwybodol, a gafodd ei garcharu yn Wormwood Scrubs am wrthod meddu arfau– ond ar ôl y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf, fe’i etholwyd yn Aelod Seneddol dros Brifysgol Cymru, a daeth yn un o adeiladwyr heddwch enwocaf Cymru – oedd yn cael ei adnabod fel ‘Pererin Heddwch’.
  • O gael eu brawychu gan y rhyfel, ymunodd Gwendoline a Margaret (Daisy) Davies, â’r Iwmoniaeth Nyrsio Cymorth Cyntaf i redeg ffreutur yn Troyes, Ffrainc, lle cefnogon nhw filwyr oedd yn mynd i Flaen y Gad ac oddi yno. Ar ôl cael eu distrywio gan farwolaeth eu cefnder, cefnogasant George fel Gwrthwynebydd Cydwybodol. Ar ôl y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf, fe wnaethon nhw sefydlu Gwasg Gregynog, cefnogi’r gwaith o greu Llyfr y Cofio, a helpu i sefydlu WEAC (Pwyllgor Cynghori Cymru ar Addysg) a gynhyrchodd y Cwricwlwm Addysg Heddwch cyntaf yn y byd, a ddaeth yn lasbrint i UNESCO.

Book of Remembrance Cover

Creu Llyfr y Cofio

Ar ddechrau’r 1920au, wrth i deuluoedd ymgeledd gyda sgîl-effeithiau’r Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf a’u colled, codwyd cofebau ar draws Cymru. Cynigiwyd adeiladu Cofeb Ryfel Genedlaethol Cymru ar gyfer gerddi Alexandra ym Mharc Cathays.  Roedd y 35-40,000 o’r Cymry a fu farw i’w hysgythru mewn Llyfr hardd – Llyfr y Cofio’r Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf yng Nghymru –a fyddai’n dod yn waith celf, yn drysor cenedlaethol, ac yn fan pererin.

Screenshot 2018-11-10 at 17.59.26 Screenshot 2018-11-10 at 17.59.43

Mae’r llyfr yn waith y caligraffwr byd-enwog Graily Hewitt, sy’n gweithio’n agos yn ol pob son gyda’r chwiorydd Davies a’u hartistiaid Gwasg Gregynog. Gwnaed ymdrech genedlaethol fawr i gasglu enwau’r rheiny a fu farw; ac fe weithiodd tîm o ferched ym Midhurst, Sussex dros sawl blwyddyn i gwblhau’r llyfr.

Cafodd y chwiorydd Davies a Gwasg Gregynog genhadaeth i greu llyfrau o gelfyddyd uchel a phrydferthwch. Cawsant eu rhwymo mewn Lledr o Foroco, gydag Inc Indiaidd a Deilen Aur ar dudalennau o Femrwn. Roedd y technegau addurno cain yn adfywiad o sgiliau Canoloesol.

Edrychwch ar yr Albwm Flickr o Lyfr y Cofio yn y Deml Heddwch

Screenshot 2018-11-10 at 18.11.30 1917 Caernarfon RfP Book of Remembrance Hedd Wyn - Ellis Evans closeup 1

“this Book of Souls, reposed upon a stone of French Marble, encased in Belgian Bronze, illuminated individually, painstakingly by hand in Indian Ink and the finest Gold Leaf upon handcrafted Vellum… bound in a volume of Moroccan Leather, entombed in a sanctuary of Portland Stone and Greek collonades. It seemed as if the whole Empire were as one in the creation of this memorial to those whose loss must live forever.” 

1928_Welsh_National_War_Memorial Screenshot 2018-11-10 at 18.16.05

Cwblhawyd y 1,205 tudalen o 35,000 o enwau ym mis Mawrth 1928; a llofnodwyd y Llyfr, ar 12 Mehefin 1928, gan Edward Tywysog Cymru – y Brenin Edward VIII yn y dyfodol – ar dudalen farchnata gydag ‘ Er Cof ‘ – In Memory’ arni.  Cafodd ei ddadorchuddio’n ffurfiol i’r cyhoedd ar 11.11, 1928 – sef 10fed pen-blwydd y Cadoediad – wrth agor Cofeb Ryfel Genedlaethol Cymru yng Ngerddi Alexandra, Caerdydd. Am y ddegawd gyntaf, cadwyd y llyfr yn Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Cymru. Ond roedd ei greu wedi ysbrydoli cenhadaeth ehangach.

Roedd mudiadau adeiladu heddwch Cymru wedi bod yn arbennig o weithgar drwy’r 1920au ar y llwyfan rhyngwladol. Roedd gan yr Arglwydd David Davies weledigaeth y dylai Cymru arwain y byd wrth wireddu heddwch, wedi’i wreiddio mewn brics a morter drwy adeiladu’r ‘Deml Heddwch’ gyntaf, gyda’r gobaith o arwain at gyfres o ‘Demlau Heddwch’ ar draws y byd.

1930 Temple proposed cross-sections

Allan o Ryfel – Teml Heddwch

Gwahoddwyd penseiri blaenllaw i ddylunio adeilad a fyddai’n cadw Llyfr y Cofio, ac yn ysbrydoli cenedlaethau’r dyfodol-ac ym 1929, comisiynwyd y pensaer o Gaerdydd, Percy Thomas, i ddylunio Teml Heddwch Cymru, ar dir a roddwyd gan Gorfforaeth Caerdydd. Ar ôl dechrau araf yn ystod y Dirwasgiad Mawr, ym 1934, rhoddodd yr Arglwydd Davies £60,000 o’i arian ei hun i gychwyn y prosiect.

1937 Foundation stone ceremony 1938 Temple from Cathays Park.jpg

Ym mis Ebrill 1937, gosodwyd y garreg sylfaen mewn seremoni fawr ym Mharc Cathays, Caerdydd, gan yr Arglwydd Halifax – un o brif ‘ wleidyddion heddwch ‘ y cyfnod.  Ond roedd diwedd y 1930au yn gyfnod cythryblus; roedd y ‘gwaith adfer heddwch ar ôl y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf a lesteiriodd yr Almaen, wedi arwian at Hitler yn dod i bŵer– a byddai’r Arglwydd Halifax, a oedd wedi gweithio’n galed i osgoi rhyfel ar bob cost, yn mynd lawr mewn hanes fel ‘dyhuddwr’ (er mai barn annheg a syml yw hon efallai, ar ei ymdrechion i adeiladu heddwch).  Ond hyd yn oed wrth i’r Deml gael ei hadeiladu, roedd bagiau tywod a llochesi bomiau yn cael eu hadeiladu ar nail ochr y strydoedd.

“A New Mecca – the Opening of Wales’ Temple of Peace and Health” – Blog gan Dr. Emma West ar gyfer yr Ŵyl ‘Being Human’.

Screenshot 2018-11-10 at 18.54.14 1938 Crowds for Opening of Temple of Peace

Ym mis Tach 1938, agorwyd y Deml Heddwch gan ‘ Mam Cymru ‘ Minnie James o Ddowlais, Merthyr Tudful, oedd wedi colli 3 mab yn y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf – yn cynrychioli mamau Cymru oedd wedi profi profedigaeth.  Cafodd gwmni cynrychiolwyr mamau o bob rhan o Brydain a’r Ymerodraeth, a ddynodwyd drwy’r Lleng Brydeinig ac ymgyrchoedd yn y Wasg leol. Roedd y Deml yn ceisio hyrwyddo cydraddoldeb o’r cychwyn cyntaf – er bod y seremoni agoriadol yn nodweddiadol iawn ‘o’i chyfnod’, gan nad oedd y menywod yn gallu ysgrifennu eu hareithiau eu hunain.

Roedd tywydd garw’r diwrnod agoriadol, ac ymbarelau’r torfeydd enfawr a ymgynullodd i wylio, yn atgof ingol bod cymylau stormydd yn dod i’r golwg dros Ewrop.  Misoedd yn ddiweddarach, dechreuodd yr Ail Ryfel Byd.

Edrychwch ar Fideo o Ddarnau o’r Wasg, o ddigwyddiad agor y Deml Heddwch ym 1938. 

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Mae “We will Remember Them” gan newyddiadurwr y BBC, Huw Edwards, Tach 2018, yn cynnwys 3 munud ar y Deml Heddwch ac ar Lyfr y Cofio (o 38.30)

Man Pererindod

Er gwaethaf cychwyn y rhyfel, daeth y Deml Heddwch yn fan pererindod i bobl o bob cwr o Gymru. Mewn oes pan oedd teithio i Ffrainc, Gwlad Belg neu hyd yn oed ymhellach i ffwrdd y tu hwnt i gyrraedd y rhan fwyaf o bobl sy’n gweithio, byddai grwpiau cymunedol ac ysgolion ledled Cymru yn trefnu ‘pererindodau’ i ymweld â Llyfr y Cofio. Roedd yr ymweliadau hyn yn aml yn cael eu hyrwyddo’n helaeth mewn papurau newydd lleol.

Screenshot 2018-11-10 at 19.50.03.png Y Gell yn 1938

Am 11am bob bore, fe fyddai tudalen o’r llyfr yn cael ei throi – gyda’r enwau yn cael eu cyhoeddi yn y wasg yn ystod yr wythnos flaenorol, fel y gallai perthnasau ddod i weld y seremoni wrth i’w hanwyliaid gael y sylw wedi’i roi arnynt. Byddai ymwelwyr yn cymryd rhan mewn Gwasanaeth Cofio hyfryd, dwys ond blaengar, oedd wedi’i drefnu gan y Chwiorydd Davies o Gregynog– ac yn arwyddo llyfr ymwelwyr yn addo mynd ar drywydd heddwch.

Ar ôl yr Ail Ryfel Byd, roedd cenhedlaeth arall o ddynion a menywod o Gymru wedi marw; a chomisiynwyd Llyfr y Cofio’r Ail Ryfel Byd, a mynediad i archifau Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Cymru. Mor ddiweddar â 1993, lluniwyd cynlluniau pensaernïol i addasu neuadd y Deml Heddwch i arddangos y ddau lyfr ochr yn ochr. Ond hyd yn hyn, nid ydynt erioed wedi cael eu huno, ac mae hyn yn parhau i fod yn ddyhead gan Ganolfan Materion Rhyngwladol Cymru (WCIA) hyd heddiw.

Wrth i oroeswyr cenhedlaeth y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf dyfu’n hŷn – ac wrth i deithio dramor ddod yn haws – tyfodd ymwelwyr i Lyfr y Cofio yn llai dros y blynyddoedd. Mae’r llyfr, a’r Deml, wedi cael ymweliad gan y fath enwogion â Peres De Cuellar, Ysgrifennydd Cyffredinol y Cenhedloedd Unedig, ym 1984; a Desmond Tutu yn 2012. Ond erbyn 2014, roedd yn ymddangos bod Llyfr y Cofio wedi’i  … anghofio i raddau helaeth?

Wales for Peace Exhibition Title Panel A1 Landscape

Cofio dros Heddwch – 2014-18

Yn 2014, datblygodd WCIA, ynghyd â 10 partner cenedlaethol, brosiect ‘ Cymru dros Heddwch ‘, wedi’i ariannu gan CDL a’i gefnogi gan Cymru’n Cofio/Wales Remembers, gyda’r nod o nodi canmlwyddiant y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf drwy archwilio un cwestiwn mawr:

“Yn y 100 mlynedd ers y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf, sut mae Cymru wedi cyfrannu at geisio heddwch?”

Fel gwarcheidwaid y Deml Heddwch, dechreuodd prosiect WCIA gyda gwneud Llyfr y Cofio yn hygyrch unwaith eto i’r cyhoedd. Y nod oedd creu arddangosfa deithiol – ac uno’r Llyfr am y tro cyntaf gyda’r cymunedau ar draws Cymru y deilliodd ei 35,000 o enwau ohonynt; ac i ddigideiddio’r llyfr, fel y gallai fod yn hygyrch ar-lein i genedlaethau’r dyfodol.

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Lansiwyd trawsgrifiad o’r Llyfr ar Ddydd y Cofio 2015,  gyda digwyddiad yn y Senedd, Bae Caerdydd, lle gwahoddwyd Aelodau’r Cynulliad i weld y llyfr a thrawsgrifio’r enwau cyntaf.  Lansiwyd galwad cenedlaethol am wirfoddolwyr, ysgolion a grwpiau cymuned i gymryd rhan mewn ‘Gweithred Ddigidol o Gofio’.

Galluogodd gweithdai lleol, o Eryri i Abertawe, bobl i fod yn rhan o ‘greu hanes ‘. Datblygodd ysgolion brosiectau ‘ hanesion cudd ‘ a oedd yn darganfod y straeon y tu ôl i’r enwau, a brofodd yn hynod o deimladwy i lawer, wrth iddynt gysylltu â phobl oedd wedi mynd i angof ers amser maith.

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Taith o’r Arddangosfa

Lansiwyd yr Arddangosfa Cofio dros Heddwch yn Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru yn Aberystwyth ym mis Ionawr 2016. Mae wedi teithio ymlaen i’r lleoliadau canlynol:

  • Castell Bodelwyddan, Sir Ddinbych yn cynnwys digwyddiad gyda Cofebion Rhyfel Sir y Fflint
  • Y Deml Heddwch, Caerdydd ar gyfer #Somme100
  • Castell Caernarfon, Gwynedd – ochr yn ochr â Pabis: Weeping Window, a Llwybr Heddwch Caernarfon
  • Amgueddfa Arberth, Sir Benfro
  • Oriel Môn, Ynys Môn
  • Senedd, Bae Caerdydd – ochr yn ochr â Pabis; Weeping Window a Menywod, Rhyfel a Heddwch
  • Amgueddfa Abertawe, fel rhan o’r digwyddiad ‘Nawr yr Arwr’
  • Eglwys Gadeiriol Llandaf, Gwasanaeth Coffa Cenedlaethol ‘Cymru’ ar gyfer Canmlwyddiant WW100
  • Teml Heddwch, Caerdydd ar gyfer #Temple80

Ym mhob lleoliad arddangos, mae partneriaid lleol wedi gweithio gyda grwpiau cymunedol i dynnu sylw at straeon lleol amrywiol, felly mae pob arddangosfa wedi bod yn wahanol. Mae Pecyn Cwricwlwm i Ysgolion, ‘ Cofio dros Heddwch ‘ ar gael ar Hwb, ac mae Canllaw Hanesion Cudd ar gyfer Grwpiau Gwirfoddolwyr wedi cael ei ddefnyddio’n helaeth y tu hwnt i brosiect Cymru dros Heddwch.

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Llyfr y Cofio Ar-lein

Ar gyfer Dydd y Cofio 2017, roedd yn bleser gan WCIA a Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru ddadorchuddio Llyfr y Cofio digidol, a’r swyddogaeth chwilio ar-lein ar wefan www.BookofRemembrance.Wales / www.LlyfryCofio.cymru.

Mae hyn nid yn unig yn weithred symbolaidd iawn o goffadwriaeth ynddo’i hun, ond yn glod mawr i dros 350 o wirfoddolwyr a gyfrannodd tuag at drawsgrifio’r Llyfr i’w wneud yn hygyrch i genedlaethau’r dyfodol. Cydnabuwyd eu cyfraniad eithriadol pan gyflwynwyd Wobr Gwirfoddoli’r Archifau mawreddog i’r Llyfrgell Genedlaethol ar gyfer 2016.

Darganfyddiad rhyfedd o’r broses ddigideiddio fu’r cwestiwn ‘ faint o bobl fu farw ‘? Mae’r rhan fwyaf o gyfeiriadau hanes – yn cynnwys am greu Llyfr y Cofio – yn dyfynnu 35,000 fel y nifer o ddynion a menywod o Gymru a fu farw yn y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf. Ond roedd ychydig o dan 40,000 o enwau (39,917) yn deillio o’r data trawsgrifio – sy’n awgrymu y gallai colledion Cymru fod wedi bod hyd yn oed yn fwy na’r hyn a ystyriwyd yn flaenorol.

Straeon Milwyr

Grym diamheuol Llyfr y Cofio yw y tu ôl i bob enw wedi’i addurno a’i euro, mae stori bywyd – o’r enwog, i’r gwreiddiol, i’r cymharol anhysbys.

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Hedd Wyn (Ellis Humphrey Evans), Bardd ac eicon heddwch Cymraeg, a fu farw yn Passchendaele, dim ond dyddiau cyn ennill coron yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol. Mae ei wobr, a adwaenir am byth fel y ‘ Gadair Ddu ‘ a’i fferm enedigol, yr Ysgwrn, bellach yn fan pererindod yn Eryri ar gyfer pobl sy’n dysgu am y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf, diwylliant Cymru ac adeiladu heddwch.  Mae ei nai, Gerald Williams, wedi cadw’r drysau ar agor a chof Hedd Wyn yn fyw, a phlannodd y pabi olaf yng Nghastell Caernarfon ar gyfer agoriad gwaith celf 14-18NOW Weeping Window ym mis Hydref 2016.

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Roedd Alfred Thomas o Dyddewi yn gwasanaethu yn y Llynges Fasnachol pan gafodd ei long, yr S S Memnon, ei tharo gan dorpido. 100 mlynedd yn ddiweddarach, roedd ei wyres, Gwenno Watkin, yn un o’r gwirfoddolwyr Llyfrgell Genedlaethol a oedd yn trawsgrifio Llyfr y Cofio pan ddaeth hi’n sydyn wyneb yn wyneb â’i enw – a mynd ymlaen i ddarganfod mwy am ei golled yn y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf.

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Roedd Jean Roberts, Eva Davies, Margaret Evans a Jennie Williams i gyd yn nyrsys gyda Queen Mary’s Auxiliary Corps, a fu farw yn gwasanaethu yn ysbytai caeau Ffrainc a Gwlad Belg. Yn draddodiadol, mae stori menywod, rhyfel a heddwch ymhlith rhengoedd milwyr gwrywaidd wedi cael ei hanwybyddu– ond ysbrydolodd eu straeon greadigaeth yr arddangosfa Menywod, Rhyfel a Heddwch, a phrosiect ‘ Menywod yng Nghymru yn ystod y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf’, Archif Menywod Cymru.

Beddau Beersheba. Mae Eli Lichtenstein yn wirfoddolwr yng Ngogledd Cymru a fagwyd yn Israel. Fe’i syfrdanwyd i sylweddoli ei fod yn cydnabod llawer o enwau yn Llyfr y Cofio o dyfu i fyny yn blentyn, a darganfuodd bod llawer o’r dynion a fu farw ym Mrwydr Beersheba, yn yr hen Balesteina Brydeinig, yn Ffiwsilwyr Cymreig Brenhinol o ardal Bangor, Llandudno. Darllenwch Stori Blog Eli.

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Gwasanaethodd David Louis Clemetson gyda Iomaniaeth Penfro, ac mae’n un o’r nifer o Bobl Dduon ac Asiaidd a Lleiafrifoedd Ethnig (BAME) Cymru, yn ogystal â’r rheiny ar draws ymerodraeth Prydain gynt, a gollodd eu bywydau yn y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf.  Yn 2018, ar gyfer WW100, trefnodd y Deml Heddwch Wasanaeth Cofio BME, lle y cydnabuodd Llywodraeth Cymru am y tro cyntaf, aberthau a cholledion cymunedau BME Cymru mewn rhyfeloedd Prydeinig olynol.

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Mae gan bawb stori bersonol; a chafodd Pennaeth Cymru dros Heddwch,  Craig Owen,  ei daro o ddarganfod stori ei hen daid ei hun, Ally Price, ac yn dilyn ymweliad â’i gofeb yn Tyne Cot, Gwlad Belg, creodd ffilm fer ar gyfer ei deulu, wrth iddo ddarganfod mwy am y ‘dyn tu ôl i’r enw ‘ o Faesyfed, Tredegar a swydd Henffordd.

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Gwasanaethodd David James o Ferthyr Tudful, a fu’n gweithio yn y swyddfa arlunio ym Mhwll Glo Dowlais, gyda’r Gwarchodlu Cymreig nes iddo gael ei ladd ar waith ym mis Hydref 1916. Bu farw ei ddau frawd hefyd o anafiadau yn ystod y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf, a dwy chwaer o golera. Dewiswyd eu mam, Minnie James, i agor Teml Heddwch ac Iechyd Cymru yng Nghaerdydd ym 1938 er cof amdanynt.

Fideo – Minnie James yn agor y Deml Heddwch ym 1938.

Ar gyfer penwythnos Cadoediad WW100, mae’r Deml Heddwch yn cofio pawb a fu farw yn ‘y rhyfel a fyddai’n rhoi terfyn ar ryfel ‘ – a’r holl rai hynny a oroesodd, ac a roddodd bopeth i adeiladu heddwch yn y blynyddoedd a ddilynodd.  Mae eu cenhadaeth yn parhau i fod mor berthnasol heddiw ag erioed.

Gwrandewch ar fwy:

  • Audio on Soundcloud – ‘Thoughts in the Crypt’ gan E. R. Eaton – recordiad air am air o atodiad y Western Mail ar 23 Tach 1938, a ddarllenwyd gan Craig Owen.
  • ‘Peace Podcast’ ar Soundcloud – Recordiad o ddarlith Teml80 WCIA ‘The Story of the Book of Remembrance’ o 9 Tachwedd 2018, gyda Craig Owen, Cymru dros Heddwch; Dafydd Tudur, Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru; a Jon Berry, Artist Preswyl y Deml Heddwch.

Archwiliwch Lyfr y Cofio drosoch eich hun:

Book of Remembrance Flyer Cover.png  Book of Remembrance Online




Global Perspectives on COVID Pandemic: Solidarity, Community and Cooperation

Published on 25th March, in a fast changing international situation.

As the COVID Pandemic of 2020 has reached ‘lockdown’ for the UK and many other nations, the need for our communities – and community of nations – to work together has never been greater. Wales and the World are inextricably linked through global health: pandemics know no borders – and information is international. In an age of social media we are intertwined, and interdependent; we are Humankind.
Kindness, compassion and clarity will help us to face this world crisis, and support the most vulnerable, through cooperation and humanity – from the local to the global. Over coming weeks, WCIA will be sharing (via WCIA’s website, Twitter and Facebook feeds) ‘stories of solidarity’, links to reliable information / updates, and examples of inspiring civil society, individuals and community leadership from around the world.

View WCIA’s ‘Global Perspectives’ Blogs

 

Wales amidst a Global Health Crisis

Wales and Welsh communities must do all we can within a crisis of global proportions – and requiring global solutions. Summarised below are quick links to key sources of information and updates from around the world; ways that people can take action in local to global solidarity; learning from our heritage; and stories of solidarity from individuals around the world.

Quick References and Information Sources

UK & Welsh Government, NHS and Voluntary Sector

Global Health Bodies & Cooperation

Reference Resources and Useful Articles

temple of peaceWCIA and the Temple of Peace & Health

As with all venues and workplaces, the Temple of Peace is closed throughout the shutdown period and WCIA staff have been working from home since Monday 16th March (though as with many in this challenging time, our capacity is limited).

  • Venue bookings, and all WCIA events, have been postponed until the COVID situation becomes safer.
  • WCIA are sharing Stories of Solidarity (see below) from around the world; and useful resources (such as home learning and means to take action) via WCIA’s Twitter and Facebook social media feeds.
  • WCIA are supporting international volunteers on placements through UNA Exchange to self-isolate if in UK, and to find passages to their home countries where possible / appropriate.
  • Hub Cymru Africa and the Wales Africa Health Links Network are offering guidance to local linking organisations and charities supporting or whose work is affected by COVID.

Internationalism in Action: Taking a Global Stand

How are internationally-minded individuals in Wales able to contribute to understanding and combating the COVID crisis in any way… on top of looking after themselves and their loved ones in a lockdown? WCIA will be gathering and sharing actions and ideas of people Wales and world-wide via our social media channels, and here:

Community Action

Gemma from Hong Kong shares her experiences of COVID in WCIA’s Global Perspectives blog.

Global Learning

Global Action

Global Partnerships

Global Perspectives: Stories of Solidarity

Campaigner Glenda Fryer with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose leadership has been praised worldwide, shared her feelings as Kiwis entered a month long lock-down.

At the WCIA, we understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 is difficult for so many people across the world. In uncertain times like these, it is heartwarming to see communities uniting in solidarity, and even song in some cases. We are reaching out to people worldwide to share global perspectives on COVID-19, recognising the global nature of the issue, and some of the similarities and differences of experiences in different countries. We want to identify and share the positive stories emerging from the situation as a source of inspiration for people in these challenging times.

Personal ‘Stories of Solidarity’ from across the world, mapped.

Learning from the Past: Heritage of Cooperation

Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire – Canadian War Graves from 1918-19 Spanish Flu Epidemic (Geograph)

Not since the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic of 1918-1920, has the world experienced something of the scale the world is facing today in COVID19. Affecting as many lives globally as World War 1 itself, “Spanish flu” (so called, ironically, as Spain was the only WW1 nation that allowed uncensored reporting on it to save lives), ended up infecting 500 million – of whom 17-100 million died, making it the world’s worst epidemic since the ‘Black Death’ Plague of 1331-1353. In Wales, between 8,700 and 11,400 people are thought to have died.

Alongside Tuberculosis, the combined impact of World War One and Spanish Flu inspired the creation of Wales’ Temple of Peace and Health – home to WCIA today, and opened in 1938 as a beacon for the nation’s efforts to end the scourge of tuberculosis, and secure sustainable peace through global cooperation – initally through the work of the WNMA (Wales National Memorial Association for Eradication of Tuberculosis) and WLNU (Welsh League of Nations Union).

After World War 2, these movements evolved to support creation of the NHS (National Health Service) and the United Nations – two of humanity’s greatest achievements in facilitating cooperation for the common good. In the words of the Temple’s founder, David Davies:

“A ‘Temple of Peace’ is not of bricks and mortar: It is the spirit of man. It is the compact between every man, woman and child, to build a better world.”  

Has a generation taken our grandparents’ inheritance for granted? Over recent decades, support for and resourcing of these ‘institutions of humankind’ has fallen, health services and social care have suffered strident Austerity cuts, and many nations – the UK and US in particular – have turned inwards and away from the very bodies that enable international cooperation in times of crisis.

The COVID Pandemic will seriously test – and potentially reverse – many of these policy approaches. Working in global cooperation and solidarity with others, we will owe it to a generation who lose their lives, to come through this crisis to build a better world.

 

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford addresses the nation on 23 March.  




Dathlu Pobl Ifanc am eu Cyfraniad i Heddwch

Canol Dydd ar 9 Gorffennaf cafodd pobl ifanc o ledled Cymru eu dathlu am eu cyfraniadau cadarnhaol at heddwch a dinasyddiaeth fyd-eang.  

Cynhaliwyd chweched seremoni Gwobrau Gwobrau Heddwch Ifanc Cymru ar-lein, a drefnwyd ar y cyd gan Ganolfan Materion Rhyngwladol Cymru ac Eisteddfod Gerdd Ryngwladol Llangollen. Derbyniodd yr enillwyr wobrau am gelf, ysgrifennu creadigol a ffilm – hefyd am eu gwaith cadarnhaol fel dinasyddion lleol a byd-eang.

Mae’n glir o geisiadau eleni bod plant a phobl ifanc yng Nghymru yn teimlo’n gryf am erchyllterau rhyfel, am newid hinsawdd ac am anghydraddoldeb ar sail rhyw neu hil.   Mae hi hefyd yn glir eu bod yn gweld arwyddion gobaith i’r dyfodol yn sgil COVID a’u bod yn fodlon torchi llewys i sicrhau bod newid yn digwydd.

Mae ‘Golgeidwaid Byd-eang’ yn Sir Gaerfyrddin, er enghraifft, wedi cymryd rhan mewn nifer o weithgareddau o greu gerddi heddwch yn eu hysgolion i ddysgu am ffasiwn gyflym a heddychwyr a chysylltu â phobl ifanc o wahanol rannau o’r byd dros Swm.  

Craeniau heddwch yn y Deml Heddwch ac Iechyd

‘Mae’r gwobrau heddychwyr ifanc wedi golygu fy mod i yn medru mynegi fy marn mewn ffordd weledol sydd yn galluogi eraill i feddwl a thrafod themâu iaith a heddwch ag eraill a chreu newid i’r gwell.’  

Xander Evans, Artist Heddwch Ifanc

Ychwanegodd Golgeidwad o Ysgol Gynradd Old Road, Sir Gaerfyrddin:  ‘Rydym wedi mwynhau bod yn arweinwyr a helpu eraill i ddeall am heddwch a chyfiawnder.  Rydym yn falch o’n hunain a’r ysgol wrth wybod ein bod ni yn medru gwneud gwahaniaeth.’

I gael blas ar y gwaith cadarnhaol a gynhyrchwyd gan blant a phobl ifanc yng Nghymru ac i ddarganfod pwy yw enillwyr y Gwobrau eleni, ewch at YouTube ar Ddydd Gwener, 9 Gorffennaf, gan ddefnyddio’r ddolen hon:  




Heritage volunteer experience – Gabriella

As a creative writing student, I often complete the process of planning, researching and creating a project, so the hidden histories toolkit explores an area that is very familiar to me.

One of the most intimidating challenges was the large quantity of links in the existing toolkit. A portion of these were defunct, outdated or mislabeled, making it harder to approach them. After some consideration, I created a spreadsheet using all of the links, ending up with over 200. From here, I was able to evaluate them and mark which links needed removing or changing.

Next, I looked at the content. Coming into the toolkit, I had experience with web content editing in WordPress, so I was familiar with the system. My experience with my own projects also helped me to evaluate the efficacy of the toolkit. After making the page structure and order clearer, I streamlined the content to minimise repetition and create a clearer process. I also updated the pages with the latest information on social media and technology, as this has evolved since the original 2016 creation of the toolkit.

As I went along, I also altered the appearance of the pages. I created new buttons to match the colour scheme of the new website, and found stock images to decorate the pages. One issue that I had was that many pages used tables to display the content, but they sometimes warped and did not fit into the pages correctly. Eventually, I discovered that there was a built-in setting that could fix this.

Overall, the project gave me the opportunity to expand my web content editorial skills, while gaining more of an awareness of available resources. It’s been a really rewarding experience, and I would encourage anyone thinking of getting involved to do so!




Propaganda and Srebrenica

Our blogs are written by volunteers and contributors to represent a diverse range of views. Opinions expressed in blogs are those of the contributor.

Submitted by Ella Lloyd, Remembering Srebrenica Wales Ambassador, in Srebrenica Memorial Week (5-11 July 2021)

In the aftermath of a genocide, much effort is put into asking how did we, humanity, let this happen? In Srebrenica, the accountability of the international community was evident- in April 1993 the UN Security Council produced a report which specifically warned of ‘a massacre in which there could be 25,000 victims’ if Serb forces entered the enclave. Years later, the Dutch state was ruled as 10% responsible for 350 of the 8,372 deaths. Genocide could have been prevented if the international community had acted, however that is not the end of the story. How does a society reach a point where international intervention is needed to stop genocide? What makes a population turn on its neighbours to that extremity?

Genocide Watch defines 10 stages to a genocide. Within these, Stage 4, Dehumanization, and Stage 6, Polarization, include the dissemination of hateful propaganda. The ICTY recognized the importance of media propaganda in the genocide in the sentencing of Milan Gvero. Gvero had issued a press statement on the 19th of July 1995 alleging that the Bosnian Serb force’s actions in Srebrenica were ‘neutralizing Muslim terrorists and not civilians’. The trial ruled that by disseminating false information, Gvero contributed to the joint criminal enterprise, which aimed to ‘ethnically cleanse’ Srebrenica. The role of propaganda was also recognized in the trial of Momcilo Krajisnik, where the court heard that control of Bosnian television and radio stations by the Serbian military since September 1991 saw programmes broadcast with the intent to ‘intimidate other nationalities.’.

The intention of genocidal propaganda is to create an atmosphere where the population think it is necessary and right to commit war crimes, and furthermore, that they will be free to do this, and will not face punishment. To convince people to commit atrocities against their fellow humans, propagandists attempt to take that very quality- shared humanity- away. Or, at least, position them as the wrong type of humans, not native to the land they live on. By denying someone their humanity, you deny them their human rights. So often, propaganda depicts certain groups as inhuman- as a disease, or vermin. In Nazi Germany, Jews were depicted in propaganda as rats, as untermenschen: subhuman. In Bosnia, Muslims were positioned as invaders, as Turks not native to the land. This narrative of invaders was also used elsewhere in the Yugoslav wars, notably Milosevic’s Gazimestan speech, which made allusions to the Turk Ottoman invaders at the Battle of Kosovo, on its 600th anniversary.

Black propaganda also reported false claims of atrocities committed by Muslims against Serbs. These claimed that Muslim doctors had been sterilizing Serbs, and all Muslims had been given a list of Serbs to kill. Serbian Tabloid Večernje Novosti published a report accompanied by an illustration supposedly of a Serbian child whose entire family was killed by Bosnian Muslims. This report was falsified, the illustration actually being 1888 Uroš Predić painting. This served to incite fear of Muslims within the population. By legitimizing Muslims as a threat, they were also legitimized as a target, and through this justification, some of the worst crimes were committed.

The potential of anti-muslim propaganda to radicalize is still a problem. On the internet, far-right, nationalist propaganda continues to circulate. In memes, songs, videos, and chat rooms, dangerous, hateful material is all too easy to find. When I first started working with Remembering Srebrenica Wales, I knew very little about the Bosnian War. In fact, having been born 5 years after the genocide, I knew only that there had been a war in Bosnia, and it had something to do with religion.

When I went online to do some research, I quickly found tweets, and TikToks, and Reddit posts venerating war criminals and making false claims about the war. It’s material like this that the Christchurch Shooter inscribed on his weapon and these songs that he played before he killed 51 innocent people, and injured 40 others.

This serves to remind us that the dangers of hatred and propaganda have not disappeared. Genocides are not only things of the past; things we can only see in black and white photos. Srebrenica was within my parent’s lifetime, and just 26 years later there’s similar anti-muslim propaganda fueling hatred in Myanmar. Atrocities can repeat themselves, and they will if this material continues to circulate. It is up to us to recognize when this is happening and to work to prevent it.

Sources

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/myanmar-facebook-hate/

https://projekter.aau.dk/projekter/files/281293417/AidaZulicGRS_Thesis_Spring2018.pdf

https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/joyce-mcmillan-srebrenica-massacre-warning-against-attacks-liberalism-1416828

https://www.trtworld.com/perspectives/srebrenica-genocide-25-years-on-lessons-for-european-muslims-38196

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/srebrenica-islam-murder-europe-muslim-serbia-a8891051.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_during_the_Yugoslav_Wars#cite_note-58

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-49042372

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/04/how-britain-and-us-abandoned-srebrenica-massacre-1995

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gazimestan_speech

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christchurch_mosque_shootings#Weapons




Thierno Barry – Global Perspectives during COVID-19

At the WCIA, we understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 has been difficult for so many people across the world. At the beginning of the pandemic, we reached out to people worldwide to share global perspectives on COVID-19, recognising the global nature of the issue, and some of the similarities and differences of experiences in different countries. We wanted to identify and share both the positive and negative stories emerging from the situation. Over a year on from the start of the pandemic, we’re reaching out again…


Originally from Madrid, Santi works in our WCIA Communications team. He has a background in Communications, Latin American Politics, and Spanish teaching. He reached out to Thierno Barry, originally from Guinea-Conakry, a Paris-based IT consultant he befriended back in 2013 during the good old Erasmus days that they both spent in Tampere, Finland.

Here’s his story

I would describe myself as a very easy-going person. I really like to spend time with friends and people I don’t know to exchange and share knowledge and life experiences. I love sports including football, kickboxing and running. I am also passionate about travelling, so I have been to South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Nicaragua… Aside for those, I take part of a humanitarian organization that collaborates with the development of Guinea-Conakry and work as a model.

“To stay myself, I had to set some personal goals such as keep up contact with dear people”

The pandemic hasn’t changed me that much, although I lost my job almost from the beginning. To stay myself, I had to set some personal goals such as keep up contact with dear people. When allowed, I visited those in need for some help. I also tried to keep a healthy mind and body, so I exercised an awful lot. Because I initially lost my job, I deepened my modelling skills and signed up for an agency. That helped me keep going. At a personal level, I have tidied up my life structure, and I make use of small details such as a calendar where I set my goals on a daily basis. Now I can see what I have achieved or not, and how to keep balancing things out to not lose sight of what I really want to do with my life. Also, I am so grateful for technology because it has allowed us to stay in contact with family and friends.

“During the period of Ramadan, I immersed in a supporting network whereby we raised money to send some supplies to Guinea-Conakry”

For instance, during the period of Ramadan, I immersed in a supporting network whereby we raised money to send some supplies to Guinea-Conakry. For a while I liaised with some people in different African countries, and I got to understand they do not perceive Covid-19 as we do in Europe. I feel restrictions were not as tight as the ones implemented in France. Generally, the pandemic has allowed me to look at uncertainty with flexibility. That’s the very reason why, although it’s a very tough situation, it didn’t hit me as hard as it did to others. Surely the biggest struggle was the lack of work, but the rest has been mostly fine. As a religious person, I think it’s very important to acknowledge each other’s struggle and help one another. Now that the situation is getting better, I plan to go back to my job as a business analyst or IT consultant. And I am also dying to go back to travel!




Maya Mohamed – Global Perspectives during COVID-19

At the WCIA, we understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 has been difficult for so many people across the world. At the beginning of the pandemic, we reached out to people worldwide to share global perspectives on COVID-19, recognising the global nature of the issue, and some of the similarities and differences of experiences in different countries. We wanted to identify and share both the positive and negative stories emerging from the situation. Over a year on from the start of the pandemic, we’re reaching out again…


Originally from Madrid, Santi works in our WCIA Communications team. He has a background in Communications, Latin American Politics, and Spanish teaching. He reached out to Maya Mohamed, a Sahrawi national based in the Bojador camp in Algeria’s Tindouf province. There are a total of 6 camps, also known as wilayas, named after the greatest cities of Western Sahara.

Here’s her story

“I have been very scared with coronavirus being a mother, a daughter, a sister and an aunt. We can all see how the virus is killing people around, specially our elders. It was very scary in the beginning because there was no information, and even more scary when it reached Argelia. I fear for my parents and think of the children who can spread it out easily.”

“It was very scary in the beginning because there was no information”

“Fear is the sentiment I have been through since 2020. This is not Europe. In here we (nosotras in Spanish) don’t have the means to take precautions. We all sit together and talk, so once the virus is here it’s very easy for us to pass it on. And hospitals don’t have the same conditions as in Europe.”

It is worth mentioning that a a person aged 40+ is seen as elderly given the living conditions in the Saharan region. The way of life involves sitting and engage in conversation with the community as a crucial part of social life in the wilayas. Drinking tea and visiting your neighbours are an important part how Sahrawi people relate to one another.

“I cannot refuse preparing tea […] as it is an important part of our social life”

“If somebody comes to my house, I cannot refuse preparing tea for them as it is an important part of our social life. Maybe some have the virus and have already been with my family. There are people who don’t believe the Covid-19 is real, but I fear the virus because there is misinformation.”

At a practical level, misinformation may have had a slightly positive impact so it doesn’t feed into the collective paranoia. However, the total opacity of data leads Sahrawi people to rely on hearsay, which has an ultimate impact on their physical and emotional heatlh. Those who refuse to serve tea to their neighbours can be socially ostracized.

It becomes incredibly hard to deny this ritual even to those who are thought to be affected by Covid-19. There is a level of social rigidity that adds to incredulity about the virus, exacerbated by the lack of information; this contributes to the spread of the virus. In the beginning, great fear led to resignation when Sahrawi started drawing parallels to other more common types of flu with similar symptoms, yet with very different results. Social distancing and other preventive actions have been virtually out of question.

“Every day I wonder if my family will be affected by the pandemic”

“Every day I wonder if my family will be affected by the pandemic. And we keep seeing growing numbers in developing countries [there is no data available on Covid-19 in the Sahrawi community].”

Fear of death is a struggle for Sahrawi people, already greatly constrained by their living conditions in refugee camps for over 40 years since the Spanish decolonization started in the 70s and was later followed by the Moroccan occupation of the territory. Covid-19 is affecting the global population, but some are facing a much harder pandemic than others (see our Covid-19 series of interviews under the category of Global Perspectives). Humanitarian aid and water supply is scarcer than usual. This jeopardizes the Sahrawi way of life, for they are reliant on international cooperation.

“We don’t have remittances from men working in other places”

“We don’t have remittances from men working in other places. Food is very expensive now, schools are closed and summer camps in Spain are not organized anymore. Kids are very sad because the three months they used to spend in Spain during summer always creates very beautiful memories.”

Maya herself was once a participant of those summer camps in Spain, and had the chance to go back and forth. A bonding experience between Sahrawi people and some organizations that work tirelessly for an improvement in their quality of life. Throughout decades, Sahrawi kids have gone to Spain during summer holidays, creating a bond between families on both sides, and contributing to preserving the Sahrawi way of life.

When talking about expensive food, Maya is referring to wealthy families who supply the rest of the community with different goods, previously purchased in Argelia and totally dependent on a supply chain that has been impacted harshly by the pandemic. Ultimately, those goods are increasingly more expensive because the suppliers cannot travel to Algeria. In fact, some of those goods cannot be purchased if they are not available in your own wilaya. Travelling between wilayas was restricted during quarantine time. Hence, there are many families that are currently separated given restrictions.

Additional resources

AP News – An ailing Sahrawi leader shakes Spain and Morocco’s alliance

OCHA – United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

Spain and 11 of its regions step up support to Sahrawi refugees facing COVID-19 in Algeria

UNHCR – The UN Refugee Agency: Sahrawi refugees in COVID-19




Gwobrau Heddwchwyr Ifanc 2021 – Cyfle olaf gyflwyno cais!

Os ydych yn byw yng Nghymru a rhwng 5 a 25 blwydd oed, peidiwch â cholli cyfle i fod yn rhan o’r Gwobrau cyffrous hyn! TFe gyhoeddir enillwyr y Gwobrau pwysig hyn mewn seremoni arbennig ar-lein yn Eisteddfod Gerddorol Ryngwladol Llangollen yn ystod yr wythnos yn dechrau 6 Gorffennaf. 

Dyddiad cau newydd – mae gennych tan 25 Mehefin, 2021 i anfon eich ceisiadau atom – ysgrifennu creadigol a beirniadol, gwaith celf, perfformiadau, ffilm, cyflwyniadau ar weithredu i greu newid. Peidiwch â bod yn swil – anfonwch eich cais heddiw!  

Am fwy o wybodaeth, gan gynnwys manylion am y categorïau, ffurflen cais a thelerau ac amodau, ewch i’r dudalen Gwobrau Heddychwyr Ifanc ar wefan y WCIA neu cysylltwch â: centre@wcia.org




Israel Chávez – Global Perspectives during COVID-19

At the WCIA, we understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 has been difficult for so many people across the world. At the beginning of the pandemic, we reached out to people worldwide to share global perspectives on COVID-19, recognising the global nature of the issue, and some of the similarities and differences of experiences in different countries. We wanted to identify and share both the positive and negative stories emerging from the situation. Over a year on from the start of the pandemic, we’re reaching out again…


Originally from Madrid, Santi works in our WCIA Communications team. He has a background in Communications, Latin American Politics, and Spanish teaching. He reached out to Israel Chávez, a US American attorney born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico dedicated to the community.

Here’s his story

So many communities struggled during this pandemic.  The last year of pandemic has been especially difficult for Communities of color in the US because of the disproportionate lack of access to healthcare and resources.

I feel very fortunate to be in New Mexico and to have been able to remain gainfully employed and am always mindful that many others have not been so privileged.  This pandemic has tested the mettle of every age group, profession, and economic level.  I have seen increased stress among educators like my mother, increases in domestic violence cases coming before the court, and increase in unemployment like we haven’t seen in a very long time. That said, I have had the privilege of working with a broad cross-section of communities in New Mexico, across the state. It gives me the chance to see communities who have existed for more than a thousand continuous years and their collective perseverance. The pandemic has also shown the power of communities and our willingness to pull together. In New Mexico, we were fortunate to see partnerships of government leaders and community to stepped up to provide access to disadvantaged communities and tribal governments use inventive ways to protect elders and their traditions. 

“I have seen increased stress among educators like my mother, increases in domestic violence […], and increase in unemployment like we haven’t seen in a very long time”

New Mexico is a unique place because it has been governed by Tribal governments, the Spanish government, the Mexican Government, and the U.S. government. As an Attorney and community organizer, I have seen every cross-section of the community struggle and pull together to help struggling community members and businesses, alike. I was proud to see New Mexico lead U.S. states in vaccination rates and I believe this was due to our deep and historic sense of community. Since early tribal nations first inhabited New Mexico, community has always been a priority. Today, that manifests in a strong community focus.  That means we saw restaurants step up by providing food to those who were struggling, the State government waiving onerous requirements for families who lost employment, and medical providers working hard to reach marginalized communities.

“Since early tribal nations first inhabited New Mexico, community has always been a priority”

The threat of the pandemic was even more dire to tribal communities, no strangers to foreign diseases and whose populations are sometimes small enough to be existentially threatened.  We did not see what I would describe as a “worst case scenario.”  Instead we saw people support one-another and unselfishly work to get through a once in a lifetime struggle. Covid-19 has taught us a great deal about ourselves, our priorities, and how we treat one another. It has taught us about respect and a sense of collective responsibility. I am thankful to be in New Mexico, where this is a part of our traditions.




Melanie Haller – Global Perspectives during COVID-19

At the WCIA, we understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 has been difficult for so many people across the world. At the beginning of the pandemic, we reached out to people worldwide to share global perspectives on COVID-19, recognising the global nature of the issue, and some of the similarities and differences of experiences in different countries. We wanted to identify and share both the positive and negative stories emerging from the situation. Over a year on from the start of the pandemic, we’re reaching out again…


Originally from Madrid, Santi works in our WCIA Communications team. He has a background in Communications, Latin American Politics, and Spanish teaching. He reached out to Melanie Haller, a German national dedicated to the world of yoga, meditation and wellbeing. More information on her yoga workshops https://www.instagram.com/melaniesophiehaller/.

Here’s her story

Covid-19 has been an absolute journey. I have been a yoga teacher for over three years now, but it used to be a side work because I mostly dedicated myself professionally to marketing in Berlin. To be honest, I didn’t like that job at all. I was very unhappy and it was meaningless. So I started my own yoga business with insight gained from the marketing world. For a while I combined both the marketing and the yoga world until the pandemic made its appearance. In the beginning we struggled until it was obvious we could not keep organizing live events, so I got fired.

I couldn’t be happier! That was my chance to go for my dream, a full-on dedication to teaching yoga. This is what I love and where I feel most alive. Like many people during the pandemic, I started online. Which wasn’t seen very positively at first, but then as time went by, people started adapting to this new online yoga model and my clientele kept growing. People were opening up to new possibilities and ways of doing things. I transitioned from being fired to owning my e-business. Everything worked out for me. I suppose our larger community needed some cheering up during these difficult times.

“Waking up, focusing on positive thoughts and exercise gratitude is a powerful way of facing the day”

Waking up, focusing on positive thoughts and exercise gratitude is a powerful way of facing the day. The opposite would be embracing bad vibes that don’t let you keep on going. This attitude can even bring mental and physical sickness. So basically we all bonded over our community and shared will to feel good. Looking back, these challenging moments have been my chance to be myself and go for my dreams. The best time is now. I was actually surprised that the pandemic didn’t affect my personal life, because I am usually in the forest with my dog and my classes are mostly online. At the same time, I feel that it’s now a proper time to get back to face to face classes because I do yoga retreats and human contact is very important for the community engagement. I hope we will be reunited again soon!




Santi Carrasco – Global Perspectives during COVID-19

At the WCIA, we understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 has been difficult for so many people across the world. At the beginning of the pandemic, we reached out to people worldwide to share global perspectives on COVID-19, recognising the global nature of the issue, and some of the similarities and differences of experiences in different countries. We wanted to identify and share both the positive and negative stories emerging from the situation. Over a year on from the start of the pandemic, we’re reaching out again…


Originally from Madrid, Santi works in our WCIA Communications team. He has a background in Communications, Latin American Politics, and Spanish teaching. He is currently trying to pursue his dream of working in the cinema industry.

Here’s his story

When I first arrived to the UK back in August 2020, the world was still trying to figure out how to digest one of the biggest impacts in recent history: the Covid-19 pandemic. I transitioned from sunny, relatively open Madrid to Cardiff where the weather was still surprisingly good, yet everything started to close down. My first weeks I spent trying to acclimate to a new professional environment that I would basically relate via Zoom.

But life always provides endless possibilities, so what started as imaginary exercises of travelling through cinema, literature and very long walks in the beautifully green spaces around Cardiff, ended up with some other outdoorsy experiences here and there that fed my soul and certainly my sense of belonging. The list is regional and some would say a short one. But I am more than happy to have seen the always welcoming Welsh attitude in places such as Tenby, Saint David’s, Hay-on-Wye or Bristol, Bath and London in our neighbour’s land to the east.

“Travelling now exemplifies an absolute luxury to enjoy slowly”

Travelling now exemplifies an absolute luxury to enjoy slowly, in the manner that an old person who’s never seen the ocean would look at it with admiration, hesitation and pure excitement. Now I am figuring out how to visit my family and friends back in Spain during summer, but I don’t stress like I used to. One day at a time seems one of the most efficient ways to live in such uncertain times.

Wales has reminded me the art of love, taught me a life lesson I will always have to carry along, opened up professional windows that directly connect to my childhood dreams. It too has shown me the ability to master uncertainty and even been at ease with a combination of rain, sun, hailing, cold and heat in an hour span. I even got to vote for Senedd elections (Welsh Parliament) on the 6th of May 2021! So everything I have got to say comes down to gratitude. I feel grateful for I feel alive.

“I feel grateful for I feel alive”

I too feel grateful for the pandemic hasn’t hit my people harshly and we all can go on, and some day we will tell our grandchildren that 2020, 2021 and foreseeably some more years after that were peppered with some of the most terrifying events in the last two decades. Yet, they too brought about a sense of a global community that is increasingly characterized by more and more people embodying Human Rights and diverse voices. And this makes the world seem a bit more similar to the one I wish to live in.




Irene García Amaral – Global Perspectives during COVID-19

At the WCIA, we understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 has been difficult for so many people across the world. At the beginning of the pandemic, we reached out to people worldwide to share global perspectives on COVID-19, recognising the global nature of the issue, and some of the similarities and differences of experiences in different countries. We wanted to identify and share both the positive and negative stories emerging from the situation. Over a year on from the start of the pandemic, we’re reaching out again…


Originally from Madrid, Santi works in our WCIA Communications team. He has a background in Communications, Latin American Politics, and Spanish teaching. He reached out to Irene García Amaral, a Portuguese national based in Porto studying engineering at the university and recently arrived from an academic period abroad via Erasmus+ program.

Here’s her story

My personal thoughts about last year? I think it’s created a sense of adaptability. We all have learned together at every level. Specifically, being an engineering student at the university, I see supposedly advanced countries without the ability to provide online teaching. It is simple, and yet it took a while for us to adapt to innovative ways of learning and teaching thanks to new technologies. In the engineering industry, so many companies had to close down their activity. But slowly but surely they too had to adapt to a new, unexpected environment. These type of situations are not really covered in any how-to manual. Relatedly, there is increasing flexibility for employees that can work remotely, for example.

“I think it’s created a sense of adaptability”

At a personal level, I rather focus on the positive. I have learned to be at ease with myself. There are plenty of people who feel the need to be social constantly. Well, now we come to understand that, although caused by a force majeure, there is too happiness in spending time with oneself. It is amazing how much solidarity and generosity the pandemic has brought. Seeing death, hunger or unemployment, just to name a few, makes you reflect about the role you want to play in the world. At the University of Porto, I joined a volunteer program providing support to international students who would suffer from isolation, anxiety or lack of resources. When the pandemic started, I could see free food baskets in the streets of Porto for those most impacted by it. Isn’t that a beautiful gesture? It is incredible seeing how many people have joined to help out! This gives me hope for the future and motivates me to keep getting involved in social causes. That is what human kindness means.

“I joined a volunteer program providing support to international students who would suffer from isolation, anxiety or lack of resources”

In September 2020, I had the chance to go to Valencia for an Erasmus+ program. There I saw a completely new face of the pandemic. I made everlasting friends and enjoyed a nice Mediterranean city without tourists. Contrary to what everybody told me at the beginning, I did many things. Maybe I got to know my friends at a more personal level. And that has been very satisfying. Talking about adapting, we enjoyed our socially distanced life in the outdoors before curfew. The idea was not be down for what we couldn’t do, rather being happy for that we were allowed to do. New life, new ways.