On 11 October 1973, the Welsh Centre for International Affairs at Wales’ Temple of Peace was officially opened by Foreign Office Minister Lady Tweedsmuir to an amassed crowd of 500, following a 5-year campaign to ‘give Wales a voice in the world’. Over 5 decades since, the centre has coordinated civil society efforts on global learning, global action and global partnerships, touching on the lives of many across the generations – from ‘Model UN Summits’ and Schools Debating Championships, to international volunteering, humanitarian action and Wales Africa Links.
From October 2023, WCIA will launch a golden anniversary ‘year of activities’ to celebrate half a century of Wesh action on global issues – and to look forward towards the opportunities and challenges of the next half century.
Launching on 11 October 2023 with a ‘internationalists get together’ and thankyou event for Friends and Alumni – 50 years to the day after Lady Tweedsmuir ‘cut the ribbon’ – the anniversary year will include not only heritage talks and workshops, but also ‘futurescaping’ – 6 months of creative and participatory activities and events to shape WCIA’s long term strategic plan, built in to the WCIA50 programme.
WCIA’s Founding Years: Timeline
Timeline of WCIA Digitised Archives – explore this reference repository of digitised materials, which is continually being added to by heritage volunteers.
Explore the campaign to found WCIA, and some of the key campaigns from the first decade, via our interactive timeline:
WCIA50 Events Programme, Oct 2023-2024
Over WCIA’s Golden Anniversary Year, the ambition is to involve communities Wales-wide in shaping the priorities of WCIA into coming decades – a ’50 year strategy’ – and to think about Wales’ wider role in the world, inspired by internationalist campaigns of the past… the opportunity to look ‘back to the future’.
- 11 Oct 2023 – WCIA50 ‘Golden Anniversary’: 50th Birthday and Internationalists Get Together
- 9 & 15 November: WW1 Book of Remembrance Temple Tours
- 23 Nov – Temple85 Anniversary Celebration and NHS75 – Opening of Wales’ Temple of Peace
- 19 Feb 2024 – Centenary of the Women’s Peace Petition handover in New York.
- 8 March 2024 – International Women’s Day
- 21 Sept 2024 – UN World Peace Day
Over the course of 2023-24, further events will be added to the WCIA50 programme.
The Opening of WCIA, 1973
An account of WCIA’s opening ceremony on 11 October 1973, with messages from UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim and Secretary of State for Wales Peter Thomas, was carried in WCIA’s first published newsletter:
WCIA50 – Digitised Archives and References
Over the last year, heritage volunteers have been exploring and digitising a wide range of archival materials that can now be viewed online at People’s Collection Wales:
- WCIA Archives Timeline 1968-2023
- WCIA ‘Founding Years’ Archives, 1973-88
- WCIA Annual Reports, 1973-2000
- WCIA Newsletters, 1973-2000
- WCIA Policy Papers, 1970s-90s
A number of articles have been curated by WCIA staff, student placements and volunteers, drawing on materials from the Temple Archives and Collections – of which many items have been digitised and linked.
- Bill Davies and the Founding of WCIA
- UNA Exchange – a Heritage of International Volunteering
- WCIA’s Founding Years: A Proud Legacy
- Glyn O Phillips and the Freedom from Hunger Campaign; FFHC Timeline and Archives
- CEWC and the Heritage of Global Learning
- Heritage of Global Partnerships and Development
- The UN Information Centre for Wales
- Heritage of Environmental Activism
1970s-80s Policy Papers on Global Issues
- Now moved to the WCIA Policy Archives page
- 1975 press article ‘Temple of Peace chosen for new Welsh Assembly‘. A now largely forgotten piece of Welsh history, for several years in the late 1970s the question of devolution was at the forefront of UK politics. However, a referendum in 1979 returned a 4 to 1 ‘no’ vote – and it was to be another generation before devolution became a reality in 1997.
Oral Histories & Short Films
- WCIA Oral HIstories Series on Youtube
- Bill Davies, Founding Director of WCIA, 1973-1996
- Robert Davies, UNA Exchange Founder, trustee and longstanding volunteer, 1960s-2000s
- Sheila Smith, UNA Exchange Director 1988-2014
- Chrishan Kamalan, WCIA Trustee and former International Youth Service Exchange volunteer
- Ceinwen Jones and Jon Copley, UNA Wales
- Stephen Thomas, WCIA Director 1996-2010
- James Maiden, WISEN (Wales International Sector Networks) and Make Poverty History Campaign Coordinator 1998-2006
- Martin Pollard, WCIA Chief Executive 2010-2018
- Susie Ventris Field, WCIA Chief Executive, 2018-present
- Temple80 Short Film(s) about the ‘People of the Temple of Peace’