Dr. Rowan Williams to become Chair of Academi Heddwch

Today, on the International Day of Peace, Academi Heddwch Cymru is delighted to announce that the former Archbishop of Wales and Canterbury, Professor Rowan Williams, will be its first Chair.

Dr. Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury

Wales has a long tradition of international vision and of commitment to social and international reconciliation. It is a delight and an honour to be part of this new venture, which seeks to give new life to this tradition at a time when our world is in such desperate need of models for collaborative and creative peacemaking

Dr. Rowan Williams, upon making this announcement

Precisely one year ago, Academi Heddwch Cymru came into being, drawing together representatives from all the universities of Wales, the Learned Society of Wales, the Welsh Centre for International Affairs and the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. Academi Heddwch partners will make sure peace is on the research and policy agenda in Wales, collaborating to extend Wales’ strong tradition of peace-making and peace-promotion. Its recently appointed co-ordinator, Ameerah Mai, works from the Academi’s home in the Temple of Peace and Health in Cardiff.

Dr Mererid Hopwood, Academi Heddwch secretary said: ‘Welcoming Dr Rowan Williams to Academi Heddwch’s chair marks an excellent end to Academi’s first year of activity. We thank Dr Aled Eirug and Dr Einir Young for their excellent work in filling the position in the interim, and look forward to working with all three as we develop the Academi’s programme’.

The concept of an Academi Heddwch for Wales was supported in principle by the Senedd/National Assembly in 2014 which recognised that it could “add value to both the Assembly’s work and wider civic society”. This led to establishing the Wales Peace Institute Initiative (a small charity formed in 2015). The Initiative’s aim in turn, was to establish Academi Heddwch Cymru, which was achieved last year on September 21, 2020.

By developing and coordinating an independent community of researchers in related fields, Academi Heddwch Cymru has started work to place peace firmly on the national agenda. On the international stage, it has already established links with some organisations in the global network of peace institutes. 

Why is Academi Heddwch needed?  

At a time of unprecedented national and global challenges, Wales must play its role in shaping a peaceful future.  In Wales, there is already some inspiring work on peace, but it is not well coordinated or acknowledged. 

Recent Work includes:

  • Working with Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod to host 6 events in the virtual ‘Peace Pavilion’, including the Peace Lecture given by Begoña Lasagabaster from the United Nations; panel discussions with experts from Wales and the world; a performance in remembrance of Srebrenica and readings from PEN Cymru and Basque poets;
  • Supporting WCIA’s Young Peacemakers’ Awards ceremony, during which young people across Wales were celebrated for their contributions to peace. The awards included the ‘Young Peacemaker’ and ‘Young Global Citizen’ awards;
  • Co-ordinating a Wales/North America multi-faceted partnership project to celebrate the centenary of the Women of Wales for Peace Petition 1923-4 (signed by almost 400,000 Welsh women). 

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