Wales’ WW1 Belgian Refugees’ Story shared in Brussels

Belgian Refugees welcomed at Rhyl Railway Station in 1914 (Refugees in Rhyl Project)

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.

Timeline of Sanctuary: Wales’ Welcome to Refugees

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.

View WCIA Presentation

Refugees and Sanctuary in Wales – PDF

Learning Resources

Refugees & Sanctuary learning resources to follow from Hwb.

View Photo Album on Flickr –

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