Heritage of Global Learning

Welsh teachers, young people and WCIA’s predecessor organisations have a long history of ‘worldly thinking’.

Today, the WCIA’s Global Learning Work builds on a long heritage of Welsh educationalists world-leading thinking around ‘Global Citizenship’. From the first ‘world education’ curriculum after WW1, to the creation of UNESCO after WW2, UNICEF’s ‘International Year of the Child’ campaign of 1979, the first Development Education AO Level syllabus in the 1980s, and the pioneering post-2000 of ESDGC, Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship…

Global Citizenship has been the evolving concept at the heart of each generation:

“Global citizenship is the umbrella term for social, political, environmental, and economic actions of globally minded individuals and communities on a worldwide scale.”

United Nations definition – “Global Citizenship”
‘Engine for Peace’: At Aberystwyth in 1935, an excited train-load of children from schools across South Cardiganshire alight from their special ‘Peace Train’ provided by the Great Western Railway, to attend the Aberystwyth Peace Pageant of 8 May 1935.

1920-30s: the Welsh Education Advisory Committee (WEAC)

The WCIA has held education at its heart since its days as the Welsh League of Nations. The very first campaign of the newly formed Welsh League of Nations Union (WLNU) in May 1922 was the ‘Young People’s World Wireless Message‘, better known as the Welsh Youth Message of Peace and Goodwill – which celebrated its centenary in 2022, and continues to be broadcast every May through Urdd Gobaith Cymru.

In 1922 in the aftermath of World War 1, the teachers of Wales put forward a curriculum for ‘teaching the principles of the League of Nations in every school’. This became celebrated as the world’s first ‘global education’ scheme.

The Welsh Education Advisory Committee (WEAC) was the body at the centre of coordinating efforts on global education throughout the 1920s and 30s. Formally a sub-committee of the Welsh League of Nations Union National Council (often shortened to WLNU or WNC), the WEAC drew wide involvement and generated a prolific output that reached every school, teacher and child in Wales. The WLNU was a Wales-wide voluntary membership organisation with adult (community) and junior (schools) branches. Engagement peaked in 1938 when 302 WLNU junior branches in schools were actively leading local work on world issues.

1922-23 WLNU 1st Annual Report – summary of WEAC Educational work pages 5-7

Suggestions for Teachers on Lesson Schemes about the League of Nations

The Gregynog Conferences on International Education, by Rev Gwilym Davies 1952

Notes of the Advisory Education Committee 1st meeting 19-22 May 19222nd meeting 27-30 Oct 1922 – 3rd meeting

The Lamp that Burned at Gregynog by Frederic Evans, 1939

Teachers and World Peace‘, 1924 and 1929

International Education in the Schools of Wales and Monmouthshire’, 1926

1935 Aberystwyth Peace Pageant album, one of many ‘Festivals of Youth’ supported by WLNU District Committees

Geneva Scholarship Scheme: League of Nations Annual Examinations and Essays (1945 example and 1948 example), for which the prize was the opportunity to attend a Summer School at the League of Nations Headquarters in Geneva.

Intellectual Cooperation between the Wars by Rev Gwilym Davies, 1943

1940-50s: WAEWC and UNESCO

World War 2 had shattered the hopes and dreams of Welsh peace makers and educationalists who had worked tirelessly throughout the 1920s and 30s to prevent just such a conflict escalating. The League of Nations had been failed by the very nations who made it, and the 1930s crises in Abyssinia, Manchuria, the Spanish Civil War and the Rhineland had undermined not only the credibility of the international body – but also teachers’ and pupils’ confidence in educational resources and activities from the WEAC (the WLNU had necessarily had to take an increasingly ‘political campaigning’ role against the rise of fascism in the 1930s).

As early as 1940, in thinking about how ‘global education’ might be taken forward beyond World War 2, the decision was taken to more clearly separate educational and campaigning activities; and from 1942 the WEAC was constituted into WAEWC – the Welsh Association for Education in World Citizenship. This was a ‘subcommittee’ of both the WLNU and the British Council for Education in World Citizenship (CEWC).

Leading educationalists who made up the Board of WAEWC were engaged in ‘war service’ on behalf of the Allied Governments and Ministers, to come up with proposals for a post-war International Education Organisation – building on ideas that had been articulated at the final pre-WW2 Gregynog Conference for International Education in 1937. Under the Directorship of Rev Gwilym Davies, WAEWC consulted widely upon and developed a draft constitution for what would ultimately become UNESCO – the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

Following the cessation of hostilities, the establishment of UNESCO and wider architecture of the post-WW2 United Nations, WAEWC returned to its role supporting teachers and schools Wales-wide in exploring and understanding global citizenship, alongside UNA Wales (the United Nations Association) as the WLNU’s ‘campaigning’ successor, and CEWC (UNA UK’s educational arm).

CEWC Membership Leaflet from 1971 – view on People’s Collection Wales

1960s-90s: CEWC Cymru

During the 1960s-70s, WAEWC changed its name to CEWC Cymru. CEWC became part of the fabric of the education system across Wales. The organisation’s main activities included supporting schools with curriculum materials, teacher training, supporting engagement with international affairs and organising schools activities that connected with major global movements of the era.

From the early 1960s, the Freedom from Hunger Campaign (FFHC) became an increasing focus of public attention, along with the humanitarian efforts of UN agencies such as UNICEF, the UN Children’s Agency. During this period, CEWC developed the hugely popular schools activity of ‘Model UN Summits‘ – a seminal experience for many Welsh secondary school children. Resources from these Model UN Summits can be found in WCIA’s attic archives and are featured in our Education Collection.

In 1973, CEWC Cymru became one of the constituent bodies of the newly formed Welsh Centre for International Affairs (WCIA) – continuing to lead the schools work of the Centre across Wales. By the mid-1970s, WCIA had established a UN Information Centre for Wales in the Library of the Temple of Peace, supported by a full-time Information Officer part of whose role was to source and curate reference materials for use by schools, which went on to become formally recognised as a Development Education Resource Centre (DEC) in the 1980s.

In the early 1980s, WCIA and CEWC launched a Fellowship with Cardiff Institute of Education to develop an AO Level in Development Education studies. Unfortunately this never came to fruition but the course was ready and set to go.

1980s – WJEC Curriculum on Global Development

In the 1980s the Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC) published a curriculum proposing a GCE and AS-Level called “World Development”. The curriculum focused on educating schoolchildren around global issues.

The full collection can be found here.

2000s: Post-Devolution ESDGC – Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship

With the creation of the 1997 ‘Yes for Wales’ devolution vote of the National Assembly for Wales, education became a matter for the government of Wales – with the opportunity to shape the development of the Welsh curriculum directly.

In 1997, the creation of the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID), ‘development education’ also became an important plank of UK educational policy. A key aspect of DfiD’s work was to fund support to local authorities and DECs (Development Education Centres) such as Wales’ Development Education Resource Centre at the Temple of Peace, Global Connections in Pembroke, and a number of others across Wales.

In 2005 the Welsh Government created a strategy to educate students about global issues and global citizenship. Unfortunately, the curriculum was never used in schools as far as we are aware.

Around this time, Oxfam Cymru, RSPB, Christian Aid and a number of other INGOs pooled resources to form Cyfanfyd, the Development Education Association for Wales. From 2000, Cyfanfyd coordinated advocacy and policy work to inform the development of Welsh global education with firm foundations in the ethos of ESDGC: Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship. Cyfanfyd’s work included supporting schools to respond to major world events such as the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 and campaigns such as Make Poverty History in 2005.

The library at the temple of peace currently holds a range of archives demonstrating Cyfanfyd’s creative and varied work. The archives feature innovative ways to educate children about social issues including DVDs, card games, puzzles, videos, floppy disks and magazines. The issues covered in these materials are important topics such as climate change, refugee crises, islamophobia and human rights.

CEWC and Global Citizenship Curriculum

Throughout this period CEWC continued to lead schools work, in particular facilitating participation in the World Debating Championships. This was hosted twice in Wales – in 1998 and 2006.

CEWC also created two key pieces of curriculum; Philosophy 4 Children (P4C) and Citizenship today. P4C is a well respected classroom method which helps to improve pupils’ critical thinking skills and their ability to work co-operatively. It fosters an atmosphere of open, creative discussion among pupils of all ages, and its success has been noted in many school inspection reports and academic studies.

The P4C method was originally devised as a programme for 6-16 year olds by Professor Matthew Lipman in the United States. A useful summary of its history and effectiveness can be found at www.sapere.org.uk.

CEWC also had plans to deliver a citizenship-based education curriculum called “Citizenship Today”. This focused on educating children and young people about global citizenship issues around the world including human rights, climate change and poverty. The curriculum focused on delivering content around global citizenship and gave children space to ask questions and to learn about an important topic that is not currently formally taught as part of the national curriculum.  Resources at the WCIA include work sheets, class plan ideas and videos to aid learning. However, following the financial crash of 2008 and subsequent changes of government, resourcing of development education fell significantly with almost all DECs and local authority provision being cut by 2014.

WCIA Educations Collection

This collection displays 100 years of archives run by the WCIA and aims to display a representation of the archives from Cyfanfyd, CEWC and WEAC, demonstrating its varied, wide range of work in education.

Many of the documents are located in the attic at the Temple of Peace. The library holds a large range of resources from Cyfanfyd and CEWC in particular. This includes a varied range of formats such as leaflets, photographs, documents, grant applications, educational games, curriculum and teaching resources.

Particular highlights from the collection include a curriculum for a global citizenship class written by CEWC, an educational folder and video around global citizenship written by Comic Relief, resources from CEWC’s Model UN conferences and educational citizenship card games.

PCW Collection

Flickr Collection

Educations Collections Guide

Interactive timeline

Temple Library Collections

The Temple hosts a large collection of education resources in the library and the attic featuring archives from CEWC, Cyfanfyd, other charities and the Welsh government.

DEC Resource Centre – Schools resources and learning materials 1980s-90-s – cabinets 24-25

Cyfanfyd Collection

Archives Collection