Thursday 21st September is UN International Day of Peace, commonly known as World Peace Day. The UN’s theme this year is ‘Action for Peace – Ambitions for the #GlobalGoals’. 2023 is the midway point towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, set in 2015 with action targets for 2030. 2023 is also the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – so the year ahead is a poignant time to reflect on past progres and achievements, and to look to the future.
WCIA itself has a long history of action on human rights, poverty, climate change and global learning across 5 generations, as each have grappled with world challenges from Wales. The year ahead will mark WCIA’s very own ‘Golden Anniversary’:
On 11 October 1973, the Welsh Centre for Internatioanl Affairs at Wales’ Temple of Peace was officially opened by Foreign Office Minister Lady Tweedsmuir to an amassed crowd of 500, following a 5-year campaign to ‘give Wales a voice in the world’. Over 5 decades since, the centre has coordinated civil society efforts on global learning, global action and global partnerships, touching on the lives of many across the generations – from ‘Model UN Summits’ and Schools Debating Championships, to international volunteering, humanitarian action and Wales Africa Links.
From October 2023, WCIA will launch a golden anniversary ‘year of activities’ to celebrate half a century of Wesh action on global issues – and to look forward towards the opportuhnities and challenges of the next halfr century.
Launching on 11 October with a ‘internationalists get together’ and thankyou event for Friends and Alumni – 50 years to the day after Lady Tweedsmuir ‘cut the ribbon’ – the anniversary year will include not only heritage talks and workshops, but also ‘futurescaping’ – 6 months of creative and participatory activities and events to shape WCIA’s long term strategic plan, built in to the WCIA50 programme.
WCIA50 Events Programme, Oct 2023-2024
The ambition is to involve communities Wales-wide in shaping the priorities of WCIA into coming decades, and Wales’ wider role in the world, inspired by internationalist campaigns of the past: to look ‘back to the future’. Over the course of 2023-24, further events will be added to the WCIA50 programme:
- 11 Oct 2023 – WCIA50 ‘Golden Anniversary’: 50th Birthday and Internationalists Get Together
- 9 & 15 November: WW1 Book of Remembrance Temple Tours
- 23 Nov – Temple85 Anniversary Celebration – Opening of Wales’ Temple of Peace
- 19 Feb 2024 – Centenary of the Women’s Peace Petition handover in New York.
- 8 March 2024 – International Women’s Day
- 21 Sept 2024 – UN World Peace Day
Opening of WCIA, 1973
An account of WCIA’s opening ceremony on 11 October 1973, with messages from UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim and Secretary of State for Wales Peter Thomas, was carried in WCIA’s first published newsletter:
WCIA’s Founding Years: Timeline
Explore the campaign to found WCIA, and some of the key campaigns from the first decade, via our interactive timeline:
WCIA50 – Hidden Histories among the Archives
Over the last year, heritage volunteers have been exploring and digitising a wide range of archival materials that can now be viewed online at People’s Collection Wales:
- WCIA ‘Founding Years’ Archives, 1973-88
- WCIA Annual Reports, 1973-2000
- WCIA Newsletters, 1973-2000
- WCIA Policy Papers, 1970s-90s
A number of articles have been curated by WCIA staff, student placements and volunteers, drawing on materials from the Temple Archives and Collections – of which many items have been digitised and linked.
- Bill Davies and the Founding of WCIA
- UNA Exchange – a Heritage of International Volunteering
- WCIA’s Founding Years: A Proud Legacy
- Glyn O Phillips and the Freedom from Hunger Campaign; FFHC Timeline and Archives
- CEWC and the Heritage of Global Learning
- Heritage of Global Partnerships and Development
- The UN Information Centre for Wales
- Heritage of Environmental Activism