Written on 06-06-2018 by Craig Owen
June has seen the launch of WCIA’s final ‘Wales for Peace Exhibition Tour, in the Ucheldre Centre Holyhead from 6th June – 8th July 2018.
The Heritage Lottery Funded exhibition draws together work over the last 4 years by communities, schools and youth groups, to uncover Wales ‘peace heritage’ – exploring the question “how, in the 100 years since WW1, have the people of Wales contributed to the search for peace?”
VIEW EXHIBITION ON FLICKR
Taking Action for Peace, Then and Now
Seven themes look at ‘actions for peace’ through the generations, and their relevance to issues world today, drawing on stories of ‘inspiring internationalists’ and how each sought to build a better world. Using the colours of the 1960s Peace Flag to guide the exhibition design and themes, has produced a very colourful display with a rich tapestry of volunteer generated stories on display, including digital touchscreen and a book of blogs.
Young Peacemakers ‘Art of Peace’
WCIA are particularly delighted to have worked with Ysgol David Hughes in Menai Bridge, to display artistic responses from the recent ‘Young Peacemakers Awards’ – from which students have produced a fantastic booklet sharing the inspiration behind their works.
DOWNLOAD ‘HEART OF PEACE’ BOOKLET – YOUNG PEACEMAKERS ARTISTIC RESPONSES
Celebrating Local Internationalists
Several local organisations from Anglesey and Gwynedd are also celebrated in the exhibition for their contribution towards Welsh internationalism, including campaigning group UNA Menai (United Nations Association), Wales Lesotho Link Dolen Cymru, Gwerin y Coed / the Woodcraft Folk, and Cymdeithas y Cymod / the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
Following display in Holyhead, the exhibition will move on to
Smaller ‘community pop-up exhibitions’ are also being shown in:
The Wales for Peace Exhibition in Ucheldre Arts Centre, Holyhead
Written on 05-07-2018 by Craig Owen
Over the week of 2nd-8th July, Wales for Peace have been participating in the Llangollen International Eisteddfod – with a small ‘pop-up exhibition’ complementing the work of the Llangollen Archives Committee to capture the ‘Peace Heritage’ of this incredible festival of peace and reconciliation, borne out of the ashes of World War 2, that is now celebrating its 71st year.
WCIA’s contribution to Llangollen’s exhibition has focused on exploring the heritage of the Llangollen Youth Peace and Goodwill message, working with the Archives Committee and local partners. We are tremendously honoured to have been invited to present Wales’ Peace Heritage story, as the ‘Day Presidents Address’ for the 4th July.
WCIA would like to express our sincere gratitude to our ‘Peace Associates’ Awel Irene and Sarah Baylis for leading our work with the Llangollen local partners, and to Eisteddfod Chair Terry Waite CBE for their support for this ongoing peace heritage work.
View 4 videos about Llangollen’s Peace and Goodwill Message (curated by Sarah Baylis and Awel Irene, edited by Llinos Griffin, Gwefus).
The Archives Tent at the International Eisteddfod hosted an impressive exhibition drawing stories from across the decades from the start of the International Eisteddfod in 1947, to today – along with a Wales for Peace touch screen and pop-up exhibition.
Download LLANGOLLEN 2018 PEACE MESSAGES LEAFLET
View Flickr album of the Llangollen Archives Tent ‘Peace Heritage’ exhibition
Read the text of Craig Owen’s address as Day President of the Eisteddfod for Wednesday 4th July (below)
Download Day President’s Address
In 1922, the first Peace Message from the Children of Wales to the World,
contained a straightforward wish: a wish that there be
“NO NEED FOR ANY OF US, AS WE GROW OLDER
TO SHOW OUR PRIDE FOR THE COUNTRY WE WERE BORN
BY GOING OUT TO HATE AND TO KILL ONE ANOTHER.”
Today, conflict remains at the front of many of our minds
Not least those of our own children
As we mark the centenary of saying ‘NEVER AGAIN’ to war
We see a century of conflicts
The children of Wales have yet to see their wish fulfilled.
But the pursuit of Peace has been a vital part of Wales’ story,
Our nations story, our story
Over the last 100 years.
Over the last 4 years, the Wales for Peace project
Run by the Welsh Centre for International Affairs at the Temple of Peace
Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund
Has been working with many national and local partners,
Including the Archives Committee here in Llangollen
To explore this big question:
It is a huge honour to be invited to address you today
And not just a little bit daunting, compared to the stellar figures who have taken this stage before
Compared to whom I am a mere mortal
But my story in some ways is Wales’ story, and Llangollen’s story, and perhaps your story?
A shared story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things
To build a better world.
In 1914-15, as WW1 was at its height
Wales offered sanctuary to over 4,500 Belgian Refugees
Fleeing the fighting on the front
In the 1930s, Wales would go on to offer sanctuary to Basque children
Fleeing the Spanish civil war
In 1922, the first Young People’s Peace Message
From the children of Wales to the children of the world
In 1923, a Welsh Women’s Peace Petition
Was signed by 390,296 women Wales-wide
In an incredible door to door campaign
Calling for America to join the League of Nations
And become a leader in world peace.
In 1926, the North Wales Women’s Peace Pilgrimage
Set off from Penygroes in Caernarfonshire
With 2,000 women flying the blue flag of peace
They marched to Caernarfon Castle
And then to Conwy, along the North Wales Coast
And all the way to Hyde Park
In 1926, the League of Nations held their International Peace Congress
The equivalent of the UN General Assembly today
In 1929, the Welsh Education Advisory Committee – the Teachers of Wales –
produced not only the first ‘Peace Education’ curriculum in the world
But also a manifesto for the 1929 General Election
Their ideas would go on to become enshrined
As the blueprint from which UNESCO was founded
In 1935, Peace Ballot
In 1938, Wales’ Temple of Peace was opened in Cathays Park, Cardiff.
The first building in the UK dedicated to the cause of Peace.
In the memory of all those who had lost theirs in WW1.
The world ended.
In 1946, the children’s peace message received a heartrending reply – from the children of Germany.
“It is years since we heard from the Welsh children
HOW IT GREW DARK.
We should love to hear from you again.”
In June 1947, out of the horrors of WW2 nothing captured the spirit of ‘NEVER AGAIN’
Than the idea of a music festival, in a beautiful setting, with peace and reconciliation as its mission
52 choirs from across the UK, and 10 from other countries,
Packed out the local schools’ recreation ground, on which we now stand.
In 1949, the Children’s Peace Message to the world was broadcast from Llangollen
Llinos Roberts presented the first message, from this very stage
Up to 1983 it replicated the Urdd’s own Peace and Goodwill Message
And from then till now, the two have been separate but complementary
For many years, it followed a formal format
And in more recent years it has become far more youth-led and youth-inspired
Exactly as it should be!
In 1949, Llangollen also welcomed the Luebeck Choir, demonstrating peace and reconciliation in action
The first competitors from Germany
WW2 was still very raw; many in Llangollen and in Luebeck had lost relatives fighting each other
But on the Tuesday of Eisteddfod week, the town staged a special welcome concert
That was to be one of the first post-WW2 cultural exchanges
In 1953, the Obernkirchen Childrens Choir was described by Dylan Thomas, on his visit to Llangollen, as ‘the pigtailed angels’.
Their song, ‘the Happy Wanderer’, rocketed to the top of the charts
And the BBC / Parlophone recording sold millions
What a change in public outlook in less than a decade
From enemy foes to musical love
As cultures healed through music and exchange
The choir returned to Llangollen again in 1960
Through the 1940s and 50s, Welsh peace makers helped to found major organs of the United Nations
The UN Secretariat
UNDP the Development Programme
UN peacekeeping missions and the security council
The International Labour Organisation ILO
The World Meteorological Organisation… Well, we in Wales normally have a lot of experience of rain.
In 1981, women from Newport, Cardiff and Swansea started a march to an air force base in Berkshire to protest against nuclear weapons.
They didn’t go home for 19 years, as the Greenham Common women’s peace camp grew to become one of the longest peace demonstrations in recent history.
In 1985 Dolen Cymru, the world’s first nation to nation twinning, linked Wales and Lesotho in Southern Africa, now in its 33rd year
In 1995, a Serbian Choir made it to Llangollen, having had to practice in cellars
And fleeing through the frontline of the Balkans war to bring the voice of reconciliation to Llangollen
A cry for peace on Europe’s own doorstep.
In 2004 the Llangollen International Eisteddfod was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize
The International Eisteddfod is very much part of Wales’ Peace Heritage story
And Wales is very much part of the Eisteddfod’s international and heritage story.
Please visit the Archives Tent
Find out for yourself some of the fantastic stories
Of inspiring internationalists, ordinary people who did the extraordinary
Here in Llangollen
As well as using the archives though
Could you volunteer your time or support?
Do we have any budding philanthropists in the room?
Could you give to help the Archives project to get under way,
and to access Heritage Lottery Funding to capture these stories for future generations?
In particular, towards marking the 75th Anniversary of Llangollen in 4 years time.
Also – please sign the Peace Train Petition
For World Peace Day this September, this petition will make its way by train
from towns across Wales, to London
Calling for the UK Government to sign up to the Anti Nuclear Proliferation Treaty
Retracing the steps of some of those great peacemakers from the 20s and 30s
You don’t have to be Mandela to change the world
We can all take actions for peace in our own ways
We are all peacemakers
We can all remember loss of war
We can all oppose conflict
We can all offer sanctuary to refugees
We can all champion equality
We can all build global solidarity
We can all inspire future generations
We can all work together.
We can all create peace in our time
In our classrooms, playgrounds, communities, cultures, countries,
in our world, and in our hearts and minds,
For WCIA and Llangollen,
Our shared desire is to inspire
A new generation of internationalists
Not to yearn with nostalgia, for a past now gone
But to learn with inspiration, and a questioning mind, for a present now here
And to burn with passion, for a world of peace and justice
And a future that is yours to shape.
Write it, create it, play it, sing it, take it, shape it, make it
Your are all the Peacemakers of Now
These are your communities
This is your international Eisteddfod
This is your Wales
This is your world.
This is your piece of peace.
You are the peacemakers of today and tomorrow
You can shape peace in our time.
Diolch yn fawr iawn – Thankyou.
Written on 03-08-2018 by Craig Owen
100 years ago this week, at the Neath National Eisteddfod in August 1918, a soldier – returned from the trenches of WW1 – took to the stage to propose the creation of a ‘Welsh League of Nations Union’. David Davies of Llandinam, horrified by what he had witnessed in war, called for all at that Eisteddfod to pledge to the pursuit of peace – 3 months ahead of the Armistice that would end WW1 on 11.11.1918.
100 years later, as the crowds descend on Cardiff, Peace campaigners repeat this call from the Peace Tent at the 2018 National Eisteddfod – with a programme of events marking the week.
Neath Eisteddfod 100
Cardiff Peace Trail
Wales’ National Garden of Peace
Annual Peace Lecture
Peace Tent and Hiroshima Day event
Welsh Refugee Coalition Tent Programme
“At the National Eisteddfod in Neath in August 1918, David Davies first suggested the formation of the Welsh League of Nations Union, saying that Wales had an important role to play in the campaign for world peace. As the Union was formed in 1918 it had 3,217 members, but by 1922 this had grown dramatically to over 200,000. In 1920, Davies donated £30,000 to set up an endowment fund to establish a Welsh National Council of the League of Nations Union. By 1922 it had 280 local branches, and by 1926 the number had grown to 652.”
By Elgan Philips, “When Aberystwyth hosted an International Peace Congress,” May 2016
The Welsh League of Nations Union borne out of the 1918 Neath Eisteddfod, grew to play an instrumental role in shaping national life in the 1920s and 30s, and much of the ‘psyche’ of Wales as we know it to today. Women, children, teachers, religious leaders, workers, artists, academics and philanthropists led the world in grassroots peace building initiatives.
Welsh Efforts for World Peace, 1920s
In 2013, a Temple75 Peace Trail was trialled around Cardiff as part of WCIA’s 75th Anniversary of the Temple of Peace. Between 2016-18, Cymdeithas y Cymod with funding from Annibynwyr (the Union of Welsh Independent Churches) have been working with journalist Jon Gower and ex-Eisteddfod President Dr. R Alun Evans to develop a new ‘City of Cardiff Peace Trail’ which will be launched at the Eisteddfod:
Wales National Garden of Peace was first dedicated on 23rd November 1988, to mark the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Temple of Peace. A time capsule was buried by 8-year old Cardiff school pupil Richard Mears with 93 year old Irene Chamberlain, one of the women representing WW1 war mothers who were asked to open the Temple of Peace. To date, over 40 memorials have been dedicated to peace movements and individuals.
For the launch of the Cardiff Peace Trail, WCIA’s Wales for Peace volunteers have produced a new leaflet offering a guide to these memorials, including stories of just some of the inspiring people commemorated in this national monument in the heart of Cardiff.
DOWNLOAD PEACE GARDEN MEMORIALS GUIDE.
In November 2018, the Welsh Centre for International Affairs will be holding a month long programme of events to mark the 80th anniversary of the Temple of Peace – to include a 30th anniversary rededication of the Peace Garden with International Youth Service volunteers and peace groups on Sunday 25th November. WCIA’s #Temple80 programme will be available from early September at www.wcia.org.uk and www.WalesforPeace.org
Members of Cymdeithas y Cymod as well as Welsh Historic Garden Trust have expressed interest in ‘adopting’ the Peace Garden after WCIA’s HLF-funded Wales for Peace project comes to a close at the end of 2018.
Lifelong peace activist Jane Harries MBE, WCIA’s Wales for Peace Learning Coordinator, will be presenting the 2018 Quakers in Wales Annual Eisteddfod Lecture: “Our third lecture will be given by Jane Harries, on aspects of the legacy of peace and peace-making in Wales, as commemoration of World War I comes to a close.” Quakers
Wales, a Peaceful Nation? A critical look at Wales’ peace heritage since WW1
(Eisteddfod event post – WCIA Event post)
DOWNLOAD QUAKER LECTURE FLYER
View Jane Harries’ article in Freedom News, “A Oes Heddwch?”
Jane Harries MBE introduces the Quaker Annual Eisteddfod Lecture for 2018:
To view a video recording of Jane Harries’ Quaker Peace Lecture at the National Eisteddfod, view the Youtube Playlist at
You can listen to audio translation into English (please note – low quality due to being through a translation headset) at:
WCIA hope to recruit a volunteer to add English subtitles to the video recording. If you would be interested in this opportunity, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Peace Tent (stalls 415-6), adjacent to the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay, will be open through Eisteddfod week supported by volunteers from Cymdeithas y Cymod and CND Cymru, with a week-long programme of events.
DOWNLOAD PEACE TENT PROGRAMME
On Monday, a gathering was held at the Eisteddfod to mark Hiroshima Day – the 73rd anniversary of the world’s first atomic bomb dropped on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, killing 297,684 people who are remembered worldwide. Jill Evans MEP spoke at this year’s Cardiff Eisteddfod Hiroshima Day event in support of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, in particular supporting CND Cymru’s call for the UK to sign up to the UN Nuclear Prohibition Treaty.
Last year, in December 2017, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – ICAN – were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their decades of work campaigning for the UN treaty. CND Cymru have been campaigning for nuclear disarmament since the 1960s.
– View CND Archive on Peoples Collection Wales
Many Welsh schools and youth groups in recent years have participated in Paper Cranes projects inspired by Sadako Sasaki, a child victim of the nuclear bomb, as their expression of a desire for a world of nuclear disarmament.
Throughout the week, CND Cymru will be promoting and gathering signatures on the ‘Peace Train Petition’, to be taken from all over Wales to London on World Peace Day, September 21st 2018 calling for the UK Government to sign up to the UN Nuclear Prohibition Treaty.
Cymdeithas y Cymod will also be promoting and gathering signatures for the Heddwch Nain Mamgu petition, inspired by the 1920s Women’s Peace petition to America, calling for greater international cooperation towards peace through the United Nations.
peace through the United Nations.
WCIA (the Welsh Centre for International Affairs) are partners in the Welsh Refugee Coalition, whose stall (117-118) in Cardiff Bay will be supporting visitors to understand how we can all support refugees fleeing war as part of Wales’ commitment to becoming a ‘Nation of Sanctuary’.
View article “Hundreds of teddies looking for a home“ – the Welsh Refugee Coalition at the Eisteddfod
View the Welsh Refugee Coalition’s timetable of events at the National Eisteddfod.
View WCIA’s Wales for Peace ‘Refugees and Sanctuary’ hidden histories timeline.
Marking UN World Peace Day on Friday 21st September 2018, Wales’ Temple of Peace are delighted to host the Wales Peace History Conference 2018 – a gathering over two days of leading academics, students and peace activists exploring in depth understanding of Wales’ peace heritage.
The programme, organised by poet and Professor Mererid Hopwood of University of Wales Trinity St. David, will bring together people from all corners will come together to learn more about the peace-makers of Wales and the world.
The event will include sessions on conscientious objectors, the contribution of women to peace-making in the 20th century, the testimony of poets and writers and public art.
A range of speakers will also be contributing to the event including Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales; author and broadcaster, Jon Gower, and artist and blacksmith, David Petersen.
A number of eminent academics from Universities across Wales will also host sessions during the two-day event in Cardiff.
Organising Professor Mererid Hopwood said: “It’s a privilege to be able to welcome this conference to Wales. Alongside a range of interesting lectures, conference-goers will be able to enjoy an artistic programme that includes literature, music and the visual arts.”
The conference – which is being sponsored by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol – forms part of an annual series which has in the past been held in other cities, including Manchester, Leeds and London but this is the first time for Wales to host it.
The event will also offer a preview of event plans for the 80th Anniversary of Wales’ Temple of Peace, to be marked through November 2018.
UWTSD Press Release
Written on 14-09-2019 by Craig Owen
In WW1, Wales took in over 4,500 Belgian Refugees fleeing the front in Flanders. 100 years later, WCIA Peace Programme Manager Craig Owen shared this story with researchers in Brussels at the ‘Belgian Refugees Symposium’ – but with a particular focus on exploring successive waves of sanctuary from WW1 to today, leading up to Wales’ current campaign to become the world’s first ‘Nation of Sanctuary’.
2 years of community projects exploring the topic of Belgian Refugees following a lecture in Aberystwyth in March 2016, which aroused a great deal of interest. Following this, Wales for Peace developed a whole theme within Welsh peace heritage around Refugees and Sanctuary.
Craig’s presentation, as part of the ‘Celtic Fringe’ perspectives, was complemented by two community contributions:
The symposium in Brussels followed on from a Belgian Refugees Symposium held in Cardiff in November 2017. The Brussels symposium brought together perspectives from across the whole UK, as well as Belgium itself; and laid the foundations for consolidation of the knowledge gathered, and for future research.
WCIA recently worked with the Global Learning Programme to develop a series of resources for schools teaching refugees and sanctuary, which should be available from Hwb in Autumn 2018.
Refugees and Sanctuary in Wales – PDF
Refugees & Sanctuary learning resources to follow from Hwb.
View Photo Album on Flickr – https://flic.kr/s/aHsmsFkgzT
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