UNA Exchange celebrates 45 years of global exchanges to and from Wales

In December 2018 UNA Exchange held an event at the Welsh National Assembly to celebrate the charity’s 45th anniversary and demonstrate the impact of global exchanges to and from Wales, coinciding with International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development.

Forty-fifth anniversary celebrations at the Senedd

Driven by a mission of peace and international solidarity, UNA Exchange empowers individuals to participate in international voluntary service projects that develop communities, protect the natural and historic environments and promote intercultural understanding.

The charity was formed in 1973, as the United Nations Association for International Youth Service (Wales), with origins in the 1950s/1960s, when young people from Wales were motivated to volunteer their time and energy, in solidarity, to help rebuild communities, largely in Europe, in the aftermath of the Second World War. These young peace-builders were part of a pan-European movement of international voluntary service that persists today in the Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organisations of which UNA Exchange was a founding member in 1982 and continues to actively engage.

Together, Alliance members:

‘promote intercultural understanding, peace, democratic participation and equality, in the spirit of respect for universal human rights’.

In December 2018 UNA Exchange celebrated its 45th anniversary with an event in the Welsh National Assembly, kindly sponsored by Shadow Secretary for Housing, Heritage, Culture, and Media, David Melding CBE OStJ, AM.

As part of a ‘human library’, young people shared their formative and life-changing experiences of volunteering with UNA Exchange on projects around the world.

Partnership working is at the core of the UNA Exchange mission. Marco Gil-Cervantes, CEO of ProMo-Cymru, and Grant Poiner, COO of Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of Wales, shared their experiences of long-term partnering with UNA Exchange to host European Voluntary Service placements through the EU-funded Erasmus+ programme.