The 1935 Peace Ballot in Wales

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

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the international order was unravelling: the World Disarmament Conference had failed to produce results, Germany had withdrawn from the League of Nations, and the organisation had proved itself unable to resolve the Manchuria Crisis.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

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. 

Screenshot 2018-11-08 at 17.37.27 Screenshot 2018-11-08 at 17.55.18.png

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 /

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.  

International Women’s Day 2021: Countdown to Centenary of the Welsh Women’s Peace Petition to America

IWD2021 events will be taking place worldwide

International Women’s Day on 8 March has been marked annually as a United Nations Day since 1975 – designated ‘international women’s year‘ – building on a tradition started in March 1911, when the first “International Women’s Day” was started by women in Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark. In the 100 years since, IWD has been a focal point for celebrating women’s leadership, championing equality and advancing the human rights of women worldwide.

The theme for #IWD2021 in the UK is ‘Choose to Challenge’ – to create a more inclusive world through calling out inequalities. Globally, the COVID-19 Pandemic has projected women to the front line of crisis; and the United Nations is supporting women in leadership to achieve a more equal future beyond covid-19. Given that most people in the UK will be passing IWD2021 still in COVID lockdown, you can take a ‘visual stand by raising a hand’ through social media – by sending your image for the IWD Gallery , tagged #ChooseToChallenge #IWD2021.

In Wales, IWD2021 is being marked with a range of online public events, including an IWD2021 panel by Senedd Cymru; Women’s Archive Wales sponsoring BME Reparative Histories lecture; Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales’ schools and youth activites; and live webcast of the UN IWD2021 Commemoration event by UN Women.

Washington, March 1923: Mrs Annie-Jane Hughes Griffiths (chair of the Welsh League of Nations Union) holding the Welsh Women’s Peace Memorial outside the White House, following their meeting with US President Calvin Coolidge; alongside Gladys Thomas, Mary Ellis and Elined Prys. TI Ellis Collections, NLW

WCIA are proud to play an active role in sharing hidden histories of inspiring Welsh women internationalists, leading peace building efforts past, present and future. Perhaps the most incredible story to have emerged over recent years is that of the 1923-24 Welsh Women’s Peace Petition to America – signed by 390,296 women Wales-wide, and presented (alongside American women’s movements) to the President of the United States, calling for the US to lead the League of Nations.

The petition memorial, recently ‘rediscovered’ in the Temple of Peace, has inspired a movement of women’s groups, peace activists, historians and researchers to uncover more about the story. For #IWD2020 , WCIA set up a new homepage to bring together resources on the Women’s Peace Petition, with some short films:

Despite the COVID lockdown, over 2021-22 WCIA volunteers have continued to explore further. Newly digitised albums of Temple Archives materials are now enabling researchers to find local county organisers, press clippings, meeting minutes and other materials. And Heritage Placement Ffion Edwards wrote this blog about her transcription of Annie’s Diary, an account of the Welsh Peace Delegation’s Tour of North America, which proves a fascinating account.

As the centenary of the petition campaign approaches in 2023, WCIA are delighted to be supporting Academi Heddwch in coordinating a Peace Appeal Centenary project across partners including Heddwch Nain Mamgu, Women’s Archive Wales, the National Library for Wales and many others. For readers who would like to get more involved or be put in touch with partner organisations, please email

Choose The World You Want – Embodying Accountability

As part of Fair Trade Fortnight 2021 , WCIA’s online conversation focused on ‘remembering the people not the products’.

Guest speaker Mike Gidney CEO of Fair Trade UK provided an insightful talk on the intersection between Fair Trade and Climate Justice. He started by wondering what should we do next [to reach sustainability] and where are we going from here.

WCIA Chief Exec @susieetsegay introducing the event

Mr. Gidney posed that people seem to think of climate change and Fair Trade as not connected, and the big geopolitical decisions need to focus on people’s interconnection. In discussing the effects of #Covid19 throughout the world, it seems that Fair Trade sales outperformed the market, and that they have increased more than general groceries. This means that people are actively choosing to look for Fair Trade, according to Mr. Gidney.

Despite this connectivity, farmers worldwide are battling with the pandemic and they do not have the safety nets we have [in the UK]. That is indicative of the fact that you cannot have Climate Justice without Social Justice. On this note, Mr. Gidney proceeded by suggesting that there is a systemic underpaying, and [consequently] the Fair Trade movement is all about fair wages. 

Fair Trade UK CEO @fairtrademg

At this point attendees (among which there was Welsh Labour Member of the Senedd for Cardiff Central, Jenny Rathbone) were really intrigued as to how do we go from theory to actions. In other words, how do we build back better? For Mr. Gidney, so many of the policy prescriptions are made by men in suit, but there is an urgent need to address who really know about their land. And that is the smallholders, that are not being considered.

In the Q&A session, Mr. Gidney pointed out that there is currently up to 5,000 Fair Trade products. Coffee, tea, banana, sugar… even gold. He too mentioned education and training as a good means to incentivize resourceful, respectful and effective farming policies whereby we are making the most out of the land, and not toxifying it.

Welsh Labour Member of the Senedd (MS) for Cardiff Central @JennyRathbone

At a personal level, Mr. Gidney admits to be preoccupied by the UK’s cut in international aid, and poses that [this fact] speaks something about the country and our ambitions. He too believes that there are very many across the nations of the UK that want to see us leading the way to international cooperation.  

And for that, we have to work from the bottom up. Farmers need to be organized to face the global biases. 

After this very interesting input on the intersection between Fair Trade and Climate Justice, Mr. Gidney concluded:

“When consuming, try to make it Fair Trade or local. In the end, it’s all about remembering the people before the products.”

#ChooseTheWorldYouWant #WCIAStandsforFairTradeandClimateJustice #FairTradeWales & #FairTradeUK

Written by Santi, our long term ESC Volunteer

Not just about university: Erasmus+ and the lost opportunities for young people in Wales

By Sheila Smith, former Director of UNA Exchange

Like many, I am bewildered at and angry about the UK Government’s decision to leave the Erasmus+ scheme. It has rightly prompted much upset, petition writing and campaigning.

Much of this protest, however, has focused on opportunities for students, ignoring the ‘plus’ in Erasmus+. Whilst the university strand of Erasmus is celebrated, little is known, much less understood, about the value that the PLUS provided to so many disadvantaged young people.

For more than 25 years I worked with young people, youth workers and communities across Wales to access funding and activities under Erasmus+. The ‘PLUS’ created opportunities through youth work, volunteering, group exchanges and apprenticeships. There were also training courses, seminars and job shadowing to support youth workers to develop their skills and capacity to support young people to make the most of these opportunities.

An increasing priority of the PLUS was to reach and engage “young people with fewer opportunities” i.e. those who couldn’t access international programmes without additional support. These included young people with physical disabilities, social and economic disadvantages, low educational attainment, poor mental health and those at risk of isolation.

Additional funding set out to remove the barriers to participation that are faced by far too many young people. It covered travel costs, passports, training and, crucially, time for youth workers to help young people prepare and build confidence.

We worked with hundreds of young people from across Wales, many of whom led chaotic lives. They often had limited family support, had struggled in school, had poor mental and physical health and poor job prospects.

Without exception, low self-esteem was a massive issue. Most believed they had nothing to offer the world, having been told that repeatedly by the system, by family, by their peers. Too often, they were unable to see the many strengths they had and that were clear to us: adaptability, openness, intelligence and, above all, resilience.

Higher education was usually unlikely to feature in their lives, so that part of Erasmus was pretty irrelevant to them. But Erasmus PLUS provided an entirely different prospect: it was the key to open a door to challenging, supported, achievable and life-changing opportunities.

These young people held the same aspirations as their peers – to travel, to make friends, to be useful, to achieve – but lacked the tools to know or reach their goals. Their local environments were often the biggest barrier to moving forward, so a short period of time away from them, where they had no ‘reputation’, allowed them to breathe and to be themselves.

Let me tell you about Kyle.

His mother died when he was young and he had grown up in the care system. I first met him at 19, living in a B&B, unemployed, with no qualifications and on the police radar. But he was being supported by the local youth service. At the first residential training he sat alone at meal times, because sitting at a table to eat with others wasn’t part of his daily life. It had never occurred to me that something so ‘ordinary’ might be a challenge. Fast forward 6 months and Kyle had completed a two-month residential project in France living and working with others – struggling at times but he stayed the course. Six months later he had started a plastering apprenticeship and won a Young Achievers Award for volunteering to support other young people to engage with the youth service.

Or let me tell you about Ashley.

Ashley had struggled with serious mental health problems since childhood. At 17 he was being visited regularly by the police – drugs, petty crime, ASB. He first volunteered in Spain on a two-week environmental project. In his own words this turned his world on its head – he loved the physical work, being outdoors, being with other people. And he was away from the influences that were taking him in a risky direction. He went on to volunteer in Germany for two months and Italy for one year. Every time he returned home, the risk of drifting back to his old ways didn’t disappear but he had the self-belief to change direction. Ashley is now working in landscaping, has two small children. The last time I saw him he said, “If I hadn’t done that, I’d either be dead or in jail now”.

We also created opportunities for young people with similar backgrounds from other European countries to volunteer in Wales. The benefits of the reciprocal nature of Erasmus PLUS cannot be under-estimated. To welcome and support others into our own communities is an important lesson and can inspire our young people and challenge their own perceptions of “home”.

Both this reciprocal model of exchange and the youth work provision are absent from the proposed Turing scheme – the much-lauded replacement for Erasmus.

From the little we know so far, Turing focuses only on higher education. It shows a poor understanding of the years of quality, rigour and development behind Erasmus+. It will do absolutely nothing to support our young people who have already been allowed to fall behind – people like Ashley and Kyle – driving a wedge further between the haves and have-nots.

The decision to leave Erasmus+ is a true injustice, taking opportunities away from young people who need them most. This doesn’t sound much like ‘levelling up’ to me, and it is a decision that must be reversed. It’s the least our young people deserve.

Bill Davies, Founder of the Welsh Centre for International Affairs: A Tribute

By Craig Owen, WCIA / Temple of Peace Heritage Advisor and Curator

Bill Davies (RH) with UK Foreign Secretary Dr David Owen, October 1977,
about to present WCIA’s 4th Anniversary Lecture at the Temple of Peace

William Roch Davies (W.R., widely known as Bill Davies) was the Founding Director of WCIA – the Welsh Centre for International Affairs – from 1973 to 1996. His lifelong involvement with Wales’ Temple of Peace extended from his 1st graduate job in 1962, to the Temple80 Anniversary programme of 2018.

WCIA’s current team are hugely saddened to learn of Bill’s passing on 17 February 2021, and we’ve no doubt supporters Wales-wide will join us in extending our empathies to Bill’s family on his passing – and in celebrating his considerable life achievements.

Bill Davies’ ‘quietly towering’ role in Wales’ International Affairs – and in the story of Wales’ Temple of Peace in particular – has shaped Welsh public and political opinion on internationalism (across all parties) and Wales’ ‘national identity’ in the world, over decades from the 1960s to the 1990s.

In his own Words

In the lead-up to the Temple’s 80th Anniversary celebrations in 2018, Bill shared memories from his years as Founding Director of WCIA with community film maker and interviewer Tracy Pallant, as part of WCIA’s Heritage Lottery Funded ‘Wales for Peace‘ programme. View Temple80 short documentary film here.

“A lot of people were conscious that the war hadn’t long ended… People hoped that some sort of legacy would come from all that suffering. The Temple of Peace inspires a lot of people to do inspirational work.”

Bill Davies, september 2018 – oral history interview (by tracy Pallant) for #temple80

Founding Director of the WCIA

A product of Bridgend Boys’ Grammar School and of Christ’s College, Cambridge, Bill was a talented soccer player who represented Wales as a schoolboy. During his period of National Service in the 1950s he learned Russian, a skill he used to advantage on occasion in his career at the Temple of Peace.

“Bill was… the man who both saved and created a great Welsh Institution.”

David Melding, former WCIA Deputy Director and current Member of the Senedd

Having read Anthropology at Cambridge and returned to Bridgend, Bill was in the right place at the right time when, in September 1962 a ‘West Wales Area Organiser’ was sought for UNA Wales (the United Nations Association), a post funded by the Davies Sisters, Margaret and Gwendoline (siblings of Temple Founder David Davies, who had died in 1944). Bill Davies set to work under the Temple of Peace’s Coordinating Secretary William Arnold – but in April 1963, after 20 years at the helm, he died suddenly, and Bill was ‘catapulted’ into the role of Welsh National Secretary for UNA from September 1963: a somewhat meteoric rise for a recent graduate.

The 1960s was an era of huge change in Wales and the world, reflected in huge changes for institutions, charities and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs). The organisational structure and set up of the Temple of Peace, as with the wider Welsh ‘international sector’, was a spaghetti bowl of overlapping organisations, committees, sub-committees, councils, advisory groups, campaign groups, etc… But with very limited resources between any of them. In the 1950s, UNA had been the world’s leading post-WW2 body, “stirring the conscience of a new generation” as David Melding (ex WCIA staff / current Member of Senedd) described. But by the 1960s, it was in sharp decline, overtaken by specific issue movements such as CND – the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament – and with the loss of traditional fundraising mechanisms such as mass membership, community collections and big philanthropic donors. By the mid-1960s Bill Davies recognised that if the concept of a ‘Temple of Peace’ were to not just survive , but be able to support all of the educational, volunteering, campaigning, policy and advocacy work, humanitarian aid and global partnerships that it was taken for granted “someone should do” – then the Temple had to become an institution in its own right.

Bill’s view was widely shared, beyond the bricks and mortar of Memorial Buildings; by the late 1960s, Welsh civil society movements and political figures were openly expressing frustration at the increasingly London-centric machinery of Whitehall and Westminster ‘carving Wales out of the picture’. This was reflected in a resurgence and confidence in the Welsh independence movement, but also in a widespread desire for Wales to have it own distinct voice on world affairs. A campaign was taken up by the Western Mail, signed up to and fronted by the ‘great and the good’ of Wales, the building blocks all quietly being mortared into place by Bill Davies from beneath.

The Opening of WCIA in 1973, by Lady Tweedsmuir (RH) with WCIA President the Hon Edward Davies

“the idea of a Welsh Centre for International Affairs is an exciting and interesting one… it will encourage Welshmen to look beyond the confines of Wales and Britain; to extend their knowledge and understanding of the rest of the world.”

Western Mail ‘UN Day’ Editorial, 24 October 1968

A proposal to form a ‘WCIA’ was formally adopted by a Committee to mark the 25th anniversary of the UN in 1970, set up by the then Secretary of State for Wales, George Thomas MP (later Viscount Tonypandy). Working alongside International Youth Service volunteer and trustee Robert Davies, Bill also spotted an opportunity to work in parallel to bring the United Nations Association’s global volunteering activities to Wales, and develop a ‘youth arm’ to the Centre’s work.

WCIA Director Bill Davies accompanies United Nations Secretary General Perez de Cuellar, viewing the WW1 Book of Remembrance in Wales’ Temple of Peace, 1988.

In 1973, both UNA Exchange and WCIA, the Welsh Centre for International Affairs, were launched and officially opened on 11 October 1973 by Priscilla Buchan / Lady Tweedsmuir, then Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – with Bill Davies as the WCIA’s Founding Director.

The WCIA under Bill Davies

It is a both unfortunate and fortuitous coincidence of timing, that at the point of Bill’s passing in February 2021 WCIA currently have a team of heritage volunteers and student placements drawing together materials and features exploring the work of WCIA between 1973 and 2010, which will be added to WCIA Archives and Features from here.

As Director of WCIA, Bill Davies wore many hats in driving forward major projects involving ordinary Welsh men and women in international activities. The WCIA’s work under Bill was formally organised into six areas throughout his time at the helm:

  • Public Opinion / Adult Education
  • Schools
  • Youth Sector
  • Humanitarian
  • United Nations
  • Information and Publications

The following organisations / movements were overseen, developed and supported through Bill Davies’ period of tenure, working alongside others, and – despite recent challenges such as post-2010 austerity – their work continues to this day as they have pooled resources or merged in to WCIA.

Bill Davies (LH), WCIA Director 1973-1996; with Stephen Thomas (RH), WCIA Director 1996-2010, share their stories at the ‘Temple of Memories’ Exhibition Launch, Nov 2018

  • WCIA, the Welsh Centre for International Affairs, as established by Bill Davies in 1973, remains the ‘core’ Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) continuing the mission and vision of Wales’ Temple of Peace – as founded by David Davies through the Welsh League of Nations Union (WLNU) in 1920. WCIA is the direct modern-day successor to the WLNU, UNA Wales, and…
  • Freedom from Hunger Campaign in Wales – predecessor to many of the aid agencies that today we take for granted, from 1962 FFHC was a major focus of the Temple’s, work. From 1978, under Bill’s leadership alongside Professor Glyn O Phillips, the Temple became FFHC’s UK / global Headquarters, with Bill and Glyn travelling widely to oversee aid, humanitarian and development projects, from Lesotho to India. Formally wound up / work incorporated into WCIA from 1997; work incorporated into ‘Global Partnerships‘ programme; View history of Wales FFHC campaign.
  • UNICEF Wales – the United Nations Children’s Programme. From 2000 onwards, work incorporated into WCIA’s Global Learning programme.
  • CEWC (Council for Education in World Citizenship) – formally merged with WCIA from 2009, incorporated into ‘Global Learning‘ programme
  • Cyfanfyd (Wales’ Development Education Association) – wound up 2015, work continued by WCIA’s Global Learning programme
  • UNA Wales – formally merged with WCIA from 2014, incorporated into ‘Global Action‘ programme
  • UNA Exchange – formally merged with WCIA from 2020, incorporated into ‘Global Action‘ and ‘Global Partnerships‘ programmes
  • View ‘Short History of UNA Exchange’ here
  • UNA Cardiff Branch and UNA Menai are still active as independent community branches, supported by both UNA UK and the WCIA in Wales. UNA Cardiff hold regular meetings and events in the Temple of Peace.
  • View ‘History of UNA Cardiff’ here

Bill Davies’ Books and Publications

‘The United Nations at 50: The Welsh Contribution’ by Bill Davies

The Temple of Peace & Health, 1938-1998 by Bill Davies

Following his retirement in 1996 – as he ‘handed over leadership to Stephen Thomas to lead WCIA from 1996 to 2010 – Bill turned his hand (and his Cambridge History Graduate’s pen!), to recording the ‘story’ of the Temple of Peace. Between 1995-98 he published 3 books:

WCIA are currently in process of making these available as open-source digital copies, a process started with Bill’s permission and indeed his desire for these to be available to ‘young people of the future’.

Bill also authored a wide range of publications and policy briefings during his time as WCIA Director, coordinating with Wales’ leading minds of the time to create a ‘Thinktank for Welsh Internationalism‘. WCIA also hope to bring these in to the digital sphere within coming months, as a tribute to Bill’s legacy.

Bill Davies in 1977

Tributes to Bill Davies

Bill’s ‘life’s legacy’ will extend far beyond his life. If you would like to forward a tribute for inclusion by the WCIA team, please send to, or with tweets you can tag @wcia_wales. We hope to include tributes in due course in a small display within the Temple of Peace about Bill’s contribution.

WCIA’s Heritage Advisor and Head of ‘Wales for Peace’ Craig Owen commented:

“Bill Davies’ legacy is a whole generation. All of us who care about Wales and the world, probably do so because of something he set up behind the scenes.”

Craig Owen, WCIA Heritage Advisor and Temple of Peace Curator

Susie Ventris-Field
Susie Ventris-Field, WCIA Chief Executive

Susie Ventris-Field, WCIA’s current Chief Executive, added: “Bill leaves a legacy in every Welsh person with an interest in internationalism today. If you learned about global issues at school… If you participated in events or debates on world issues… if you volunteered or did exchanges with young people overseas, or here in Wales… if you’ve been involved in a charity that sends aid from Wales to a particular place or cause that’s important to you… if you expressed an opinion on a conflict or world issue you didn’t feel was right… If you believe Wales and its communities should play a role in the world… Although none of us know it today, Bill created the conditions ‘behind the scenes’ that enable almost all of these things to be a part of Welsh life, discussion and debate now.”

David Melding MS, Member of Senedd for South Wales Central, worked as WCIA’s Deputy Director alongside Bill Davies, and contributed a fitting memoriam which has been referenced in this Tribute (with many thanks from the WCIA team):

Martin Pollard, Learned Society of Wales:

Martin Pollard, LSW

When I joined the WCIA staff team in 2001, I quickly became aware of Bill Davies’ remarkable achievements. Internationalism in Wales has a long history, but to thrive, it needs strong institutions and widespread appeal. Establishing the WCIA gave everyone in Wales an organisation they could relate to, whether as a school pupil, a community member, an activist, an academic or an international development specialist. Taking over as WCIA Chief Executive in 2010, I was acutely aware of the ‘big shoes’ I would be stepping into. I’m grateful that Bill remained involved with the Temple of Peace and the WCIA until his final years; indeed, it gave him great pleasure to walk several miles between his home and the Temple to keep an eye on what we were all up to. He leaves an important legacy for everyone in Wales.

Martin Pollard, Head of the Learned Society for Wales (LSW) and former WCIA Chief Executive 2010-2017

Stephen Thomas, WCIA Director 1996-2010

“Bill was, amongst other things, a pragmatist. He saw that the internationalist work at the Temple of Peace needed a new structure in order for it even to survive, let alone flourish. Hence his dedication to the vision of the WCIA, and to its outreach in drawing so many Welsh civil and governmental bodies into its network. His undoubted fundraising skills led to solid financial foundations; indeed, some of his efforts there bore fruit as legacies to the WCIA long after he had retired.”

Sir Emyr Jones-Parry, former UK Ambassador to the United Nations

“I first heard of Bill in the 1970s, when my mother, a Trustee of the Centre from Carmarthenshire, spoke highly of this well informed lovely man. It was at the start of a great visionary service to internationalism and for Wales. He as much liked as admired and did much to consolidate the wider work of the Centre,  of which he was always a constant supporter.”

Robert Davies, Founder of UNA Exchange and Wales’ National Garden of Peace

“I was privileged to have known Bill as a dear friend, from when he began in the Temple of Peace as Secretary of the Wales United Nations Association, in 1963; then through his period as Director of the WCIA, and into his retirement from 1996. My special interest was volunteering by young people. At the time of the founding of WCIA in 1973, Bill gave huge encouragement to the independent establishment of International Youth Service – what later became known as UNA Exchange – which continues to this day.”

Pencampwriaethau Dadlau Digidol Ysgolion Cymru 2021 – Rownd 1af

Dadleuodd prif drafodwyr Cymru dros le yn rownd derfynol ein Pencampwriaethau Trafod Ysgolion Cymru 2021 – nawr ar lein.

Ar 12 Chwefror, cymerodd myfyrwyr o Chweched Dosbarth Caerdydd, Academi Caerdydd ac Ysgol Westbourne ym Mhenarth ran mewn dadleuon unigol a thîm gwresog yn ystod rownd cyntaf y gystadleuaeth.

Dyfarnwyd enillydd cyntaf rownd y siaradwyr Unigol i Zaynab, disgybl Chweched Dosbarth Caerdydd am ei haraith ar ‘Mae’r tŷ hwn yn credu y dylai pob deddf ynghylch Newid yn yr Hinsawdd fod yn destun refferendwm.’

Hefyd o Chweched Dosbarth Caerdydd, ddaeth Maha & Sylvana yn gyntaf yn rownd y timau. Dadleuasant yn llwyddiannus o blaid y cynnig: ‘Byddai’r tŷ hwn yn cymell absenoldeb tadolaeth yn ariannol’.

Bydd y ddwy rownd nesaf yn cael eu cynnal ym mis Mawrth cyn y rownd gynderfynol a’r rownd derfynol fawreddog ddydd Mawrth Mawrth 16eg.

Diolch i CgGc am eu cyllid a’u cefnogaeth barhaus, sydd wedi caniatáu inni barhau i gynnal y gystadleuaeth.

Hywel Francis in Memoriam: Passing of a great Welsh Internationalist

Hywel Francis, Internationalist – credit LSW (Learned Society of Wales)

WCIA’s ‘Temple of Peace’ team and supporters Wales-wide are saddened to learn of the passing of prominent Welsh Internationalist, historian and former MP for Aberavon Dr Hywel Francis on February 14th 2021, aged 74, at Morriston Hospital.

Hywel was one of Wales’ most prominent ‘socialist internationalists’ with a particular interest – reflected in his position as Wales’ leading expert on – the Spanish Civil War and Wales’ ‘International Brigades’; the volunteers who fought fascism by enlisting, from the South Wales Valleys and Northern slate quarries, to support the resistance against General Franco in 1936-9.

Pablo Picasso’s 1937 painting ‘GUERNICA‘, displayed in Wales’ Temple of Peace to this day, with the original exhibited in the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid.

During these 3 years prior to WW2, Hitler’s closest ally overthrew the Spanish Government and democracy in full view of the world, leading to the massacre of Guernica and the flight of a generation of Basque children, many of whom sought sanctuary in Wales – with 4,000 taken in by communities in Brechfa (Carmarthenshire), Swansea, Caerleon (Newport) and Old Colwyn (North Wales coast).

Welsh Volunteers of the XV International Brigade before the Ebro Offensive, 1938
Credit: South Wales Coalfield Collection

Wales’ International Brigades Memorial Trust, of which Hywel was President, continue to organise events to this day in memorial of the generation of young Welshmen many of whom gave their lives not just to fight fascism, in a brave attempt to even kerb the onset of World War Two. In 2017 Wales IBMT launched a new booklet on Wales and the Spanish Civil War, written by Robert Griffiths with support and input from Hywel Francis.

Wales International Brigades Memorial Trust lead a memorial march through the streets of Aberystwyth

The entrance to Wales’ National Garden of Peace, entering from North Road and the City Centre, is approached through the ‘Spanish Archway’ – erected in 1993 by International Volunteers from Spain participating in a UNA Exchange youth workcamp, as a gesture of thanks from Spain to Wales for the efforts of the international brigades volunteers.

Hywel has been a huge champion of the Welsh Centre for International Affairs since its founding in 1973, having once quoted as an MP on the floor of the House of Commons:

The Welsh Centre for International Affairs… has for decades played a vital role. Its quiet, educational voice of tolerance and reason needs to be listened to and valued in Wales and beyond. It deserves our full support and we should be proud of its work.”

Hywel Francis MP for Aberavon, House of Commons

Peace Garden and UNA Exchange Founder Robert Davies working on construction of the ‘Spanish Archway’ in Summer 1993.

Hywel was hugely involved in supporting WCIA’s 2007-11 Heritage Lottery Funded project ‘Wise and Foolish Dreamers‘, a touring exhibition and educational pack developed to explore Welsh participation in the Spanish Civil War.

WCIA hope later in the year to add a Peace Garden memorial to Hywel Francis, hopefully near to the Spanish Archway – in recognition of his longstanding dedication to Welsh Internationalism.

WCIA Chief Executive, Susie Ventris-Field, said:

“Hywel Francis has been one of Wales’ leading internationalists over a generation, and his untimely loss will only be outshone by the profound inspiration he has fostered in so many to build a better world. This will never be eclipsed – but he will be sorely missed.”

WCIA Chief Executive, Susie Ventris-Field

Hywel Francis (RH) as a young activist – Credit ‘Labour Country‘ blog, Daryl Leeworthy

Connecting Classrooms in lockdown

My first instinct when lockdown hit last March was to pause delivery of the Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning (CCGL) professional learning we deliver and wait until face-to-face training could resume. I’m so glad I changed my mind!

Delivering these sessions to teachers through lockdown, homeschool and school bubbles has been one of the highlights of a year spent mostly in my attic.

Despite the incredable challenges they’ve faced this year, so many schools in Wales and partner countries continued to work together, getting to know each other, delivering projects and

‘Gallwn i gyd helpu i fynd i’r afael â newid yn yr hinsawdd, ond mae’n rhaid i’r llywodraeth weithredu’ – Newidwyr a’r byd y maent am ei weld

Siaradodd myfyrwyr o bob cwr o Gymru am sut y gall Cymru a’r byd wella o’r pandemig mewn Senedd Enghreifftiol ar-lein.

Yn y prosiect trawsgwricwlaidd hwn, byddwch chi a’ch dysgwyr yn archwilio effeithiau COVID ar fyfyrwyr ac ar bobl o bob cwr o’r byd.

Mae’r prosiect hwn yn ffordd wych o ymgysylltu myfyrwyr â diben dinasyddiaeth foesegol y Cwricwlwm Newydd yng Nghymru. Mae’n gyfle gwych i Gynghorau Ysgol gydweithio i greu newidiadau, neu byddent yn gweithio fel cyfle i gefnogi dealltwriaeth o’r pandemig yr ydym ni a’n myfyrwyr yn byw drwyddo.

Roedd y myfyrwyr a gymerodd ran yn y digwyddiad hwn yn dod o Ysgol Gyfun Plasmawr yng Nghaerdydd, Ysgol Westbourne ym Mhenarth, Ysgol Bryngwyn yn Llanelli ac Ysgol Gyfun Y Pant ym Mhontyclun.

Ysgol Plasmawr oedd y cyntaf i siarad

Amlinellodd cynrychiolwyr o Ysgol Plasmawr eu datganiad safbwynt drwy alw am bolisi a fydd yn amddiffyn pobl sy’n mynd yn sâl wrth i’r pandemig barhau, gan gynnwys tâl ynysu ac amddiffyn rhent. Fe wnaethon nhw hefyd godi’r pryderon parhaus yn ymwneud â myfyrwyr mewn addysg.  

Dywedodd y tîm: “Mae’r sector addysg wedi cael ei effeithio, gan fod ysgolion wedi bod ar gau am rannau helaeth o’r cyfnod. Nid oedd rhai o’r dysgwyr yn gallu derbyn unrhyw addysg a fydd yn effeithio’n ddifrifol ar eu dyfodol. Credwn fod pob plentyn yn haeddu’r cyfle i gael addysg lawn.”

Yna, yn eu tro, trafododd y myfyrwyr oblygiadau Covid-19 ar amrywiaeth o faterion o dlodi i hiliaeth.

Galwodd myfyrwyr Ysgol Bryngwyn am eglurder ynghylch y cyfyngiadau cyfredol yn y DU. Soniodd y cynrychiolwyr am sut mae busnesau teuluol wedi cael eu heffeithio, eu bod yn teimlo bod newid hinsawdd wedi cael ei roi o’r neilltu yn ogystal ag awgrymu y dylai mwy o bobl fod yn ymwybodol o bwysigrwydd materion digartrefedd.

Dywedon nhw: “Rwy’n credu bod angen neilltuo mwy o arian i ymdrin â digartrefedd, fel bod pobl yn fwy ymwybodol ohono, a buddsoddi mewn cyfleusterau fel ceginau cawl, a lleoedd eraill lle gallant aros, er mwyn iddynt deimlo’n ddiogel. Mae angen i’r llywodraeth roi mwy o arian i elusennau iechyd meddwl.”

Wrth fynd i’r afael â materion cyd-gysylltiedig, bu myfyrwyr yn trafod effaith y pandemig Covid-19 ar eu datblygiad addysgol, a sut mae’r datblygiad hwn yn cael ei effeithio o safbwynt trefniadau e-ddysgu a/neu’r modd y mae’n cael ei weithredu.

Dywedodd cynrychiolydd o Ysgol Westbourne: “Mae addysg yn flaenoriaeth ac mae’n rhaid i ni ganolbwyntio ar iechyd meddwl ac adnoddau digidol. Mae trefn yn broblem i ni gan fod terfynau amser yr holl waith cartref ar yr un diwrnod ac weithiau nid oes digon o amser.”

Wrth feddwl am sut maen nhw’n ymdopi â gorgyffwrdd posibl rhwng oriau ysgol ac amser hamdden, roedden nhw i gyd yn cytuno bod angen creu lleoedd diogel ar wahân er mwyn cymdeithasu’n ddigidol.

Wrth i’r digwyddiad ddod i ben, derbyniodd y myfyrwyr gyngor amhrisiadwy gan Raphael Esu, ymddiriedolwr a bargyfreithiwr WCIA, ar sut y gallwn ni i gyd helpu i wneud gwahaniaeth.

Dywedodd: “Peidiwch byth â meddwl eich bod chi’n rhy ifanc i wneud gwahaniaeth. Sicrhewch eich bod yn helpu’r gymuned am y rhesymau cywir. Mae cydweithredu gydag eraill yn bwysig iawn.”

Ychwanegodd y myfyrwyr a oedd yn cynrychioli Ysgol Gyfun Y Pant bwyntiau diddorol ar yr angen i fod yn empathig ac yn barchus i’r gymuned gyfan, a’r buddion o alldaflu’r gwerthoedd hynny ymhellach, yn genedlaethol ac yn rhyngwladol.

Dywedodd y Rheolwr Dysgu Byd-eang, Amber Demetrius: “Diolch i’r holl fyfyrwyr am eich cyfraniad gwerthfawr ac am y gwaith caled a wnaethoch chi i gyd wrth baratoi ar gyfer y digwyddiad. Edrychaf ymlaen at weld eich prosiectau a dathlu llwyddiannau pan fyddwn i gyd yn cwrdd eto ym mis Mehefin.”

Mae’r prosiect yma yn rhan o Raglen Addysg Ryngwladol y Cyngor Prydeinig a ariennir gan Lywodraeth Cymru.

Gan Santi Carrasco – wirfoddolwr hir dymor , a Bethan Hâf Marsh – Swyddog Cyfathrebu.

Volunteer Blog: Josephine on the Power of Community Action

WCIA Volunteer Josephine Ayling is based in Bangor, and over the COVID Lockdown has been supporting WCIA’s team remotely with exploring the ‘Peace Heritage’ story of CND Cymru – the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

WCIA Volunteer Josephine Ayling

When I first contacted WCIA about volunteering to help with the ‘Heddwch’ magazine digitisation project, my knowledge of CND Cymru and the Anti-Nuclear movement was admittedly pretty limited. Getting the chance to explore the archives, while helping to make them more accessible to other people, seeemed like a perfect opportunity to learn more.

Many hours, and over forty ‘Heddwch’ editions later, I feel really lucky to have helped pay tribute to the determination, resilience and compassion of CND Cymru members, that shines through with each and every Heddwch publication.

During the summer of 2020, four decades worth of CND Cymru’s publications were digitised by volunteers. It became my responsibility (alongside two other volunteers) to index these publications – creating a list of contents for each magazine edition, as well as adding relevant tags. The aim was to make the CND Cymru archives more easy to access and navigate, enabling CND members, researchers and anybody wanting to know more about the Welsh anti-nuclear movement, to find specific articles and stories of interest.

The publications I looked at included ‘Heddwch’ editions 16-30, spanning the years 1998 to 2003, and editions 46-74, which covered 2008 all the way up to Spring 2020. It was fascinating to be able to follow the progression of specific campaigns, such as those fighting against development at Wylfa, Hinkley Point, and Trawsfynydd nuclear power stations, as they unfolded over the years – as it revealed the power of continued local and community action.

The archives also highlight the global reach of CND Cymru’s work, particularly in their active support of peace campaigners from around the world, including those from Japan, Syria, Palestine and the Jeju Islands.

As we celebrate the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty coming into force in January 2021, I think it’s a very apt reminder of what such an international and outward-looking approach to nuclear disarmament can achieve.

Placement Blog: Sean looks back at ‘Welsh Efforts on the World’s Journey’ to end Nuclear Threat.

WCIA Placement, Sean McGovern

Sean McGovern is a student with Cardiff University’s Department of International Relations, currently undertaking a 3 month placement with WCIA’s ‘Peace Heritage’ programme. Here he shares his reflections on his first project task – digitisation of CND Cymru’s ‘Campaign Wales’ Archives from the early 1980s.

As one of the team of volunteers tasked with digitisation and indexing of the CND Cymru Archives – ahead of January’s International Nuclear Ban Treaty – I was interested to examine Welsh efforts in the struggle against proliferation of nuclear weapons during the 1980s and 1990s.

Within the current international context – with the recent United Nations Nuclear Weapons Ban entering into force this January – I believe it important to digitise these records to provide easy access for future historians, researchers, or enthusiasts to examine the Welsh efforts which contributed to the World’s journey in reaching this landmark decision. Through close examination of CND Cymru’s ‘Campaign Wales’ magazines, I was able to transcribe article summaries and key words so as to make these historical documents more accessible to all online.

“In the ‘age of the internet’, you can type anything into Google and thousands of results will come up. But these results are dependent on the quality of information, data and tags attached; if a document hasn’t been ‘indexed’, you probably won’t find it! The CND Cymru Archives contain 40 years of peace campaigning records and social history, with literally thousands of individual stories – which will now be accessible to future generations thanks to the efforts of volunteers like Sean who have spent Winter 2020-21 indexing this important chapter in Wales’ Peace Heritage.”

Craig Owen, WCIA Heritage Advisor

This project was fitting to my undergraduate degree in International Relations at Cardiff University, where I have been recently examining modules in nuclear diplomacy and the historical international efforts to curb the spread of these weapons.

What I found most profound during my WCIA research, were the international ‘trips’ in which campaign members journeyed to other nations – such as the Soviet Union, Latvia, Australia, and Switzerland (amongst others). This was particularly interesting, as it was clear that CND Cymru’s aspirations were not limited to just pursuing a nuclear free Wales or Britain, but were tied in to truly international efforts to spread their message. It came across very powerfully, that CND members undertook these journeys to understand and form ties with cultures worldwide in order to spread their aspirations for a nuclear-free world.

These particular stories – amongst the others I have had the opportunity to transcribe – all fit into a compelling ‘greater Welsh struggle’ to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons locally, as well as internationally. I’m look forward to seeing where further opportunities in volunteering at the WCIA take me.

CND Cymru Campaign Wales Magazines, early 1980s