WCIA’s Historic Structure and Participation

Civil Society Conference in Wales’ Temple of Peace

Structurally, the WCIA acted as an umbrella body (and the Temple of Peace as offices) for several organisations that individually retained their independence:

  • UNA United Nations Association Wales – UN campaigning & human rights
  • UNA (Welsh Centre) Trust – Temple of Peace venue
  • IYS International Youth Service (Wales) – global volunteering
  • CEWC Council for Education & World Citizenship – global learning
  • FFHC Freedom from Hunger Campaign (Wales) – humanitarian
  • UNICEF – children’s development (WCIA were appointed as ‘official agents in Wales’ for UNICEF, a ‘halfway house’ between a branch office and partner).

Each were members of WCIA’s Coordinating Committee, alongside 4 Officers and 4 ‘Honorary Consultants’ with expertise in international affairs from different sectors. They were accountable to WCIA’s governing body, the ‘Standing Conference’, which brought together Welsh authorities and Civil Society Organisations with an interest in international affairs:

  • County Councils x 7
  • Borough Councils x 23
  • Businesses x 38
  • CSOs x 61

Through this era, WCIA delivered its work through a staffing of 6 executive and 3 secretarial staff.

The work programme, or strategic priorities, of the Welsh Centre are summarised thus on most WCIA literature of the 1970s:

  • Public Education – “creation of an informed public opinion”
  • Schools (primarily delivered through the work of CEWC)
  • Youth Sector (primarily delivered through work of the IYS)
  • Humanitarian (primarily delivered through the FFHC and UNICEF)
  • Information (delivered through UNA )

WCIA’s Annual Reports and publications from 1973 to 1988 (Appendix 3) offer a comprehensive account of the range of work undertaken in the name of the Welsh Centre and its constituent bodies through the 1970s and 1980s, and of WCIA’s reach and influence across Welsh civil society. WCIA positioned itself quite clearly as part of ‘the establishment’ – seemingly name-dropping involvement of ‘the great and the good’ in many of its activities, projecting itself as a cross-party ‘thinktank’, and as a gatekeeper between Wales and the world. This positioning perhaps reflects the internationalist CSO movement’s reaction to years of perceived sidelining by Whitehall.

WCIA within wider Civil Society

Within the context of wider Welsh civil society and

Within the context of wider UK internationalist movements

1980s Developments

A 1983 strategic review defined the centre’s principle aim “to foster among the people of Wales, by every appropriate means, a conception of national obligations to world interest and a sense of loyalty to the international community.” A slightly different emphasis emerged on ‘core activities’:

  • Schools and Colleges
  • A Conference Structure
  • Humanitarian Assistance
  • International Service

A 1988 discussion paper exploring “The way ahead for WCIA” by John Wildman observes that the public information mission, providing a ‘clearing house’ and resources centre, appear to have fallen down the strategic priorities and are inadequately resourced. This review also identified the need for the centre to develop a Research strategy and broader connections beyond its committees.