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The latest news and events from the Welsh Centre for International Affairs. Update your profile to receive the e-news in Welsh. 

Happy New Year and upcoming events

The WCIA would like to wish you all a Happy New Year. Susie Ventris-Field, Deputy Chief Executive, said: “We are hosting some very exciting events in 2016 and can’t wait to see you there.”
 
On 24 February, Mark Goldring, Chief Executive of Oxfam GB will be at the WCIA event Charity begins at home?. The UK government spends approximately £11.4bn on international aid each year, around 0.7% of national income; Oxfam GB is one of the UK’s biggest international development charities and ensures that international aid goes towards essential developments in some of the world’s poorest countries. This event will consider the debates surrounding UK contributions to international aid. Why do some people not support this commitment? Shouldn’t funds be diverted to the needs of the people in the UK? What if international aid doesn’t reach those who need it most? There will also be opportunities to find out why and how Oxfam spends its funds. The evening will conclude with an audience question-and-answer session.
 
Ahead of the main event Hub Cymru Africa invites people to join an informal discussion with Mark Goldring, Africa 2050: trends, hopes and fear for the future. This will provide an opportunity for members of the Wales-Africa community to discuss the future for Africa.
 
On March 22, Baroness Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth will be at the Temple of Peace. Watch this space for more information.
 
The first WCIA event in April is part of the lecture series organised by Cardiff University’s Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK. On 13 April, Professor Grace Davie from the University of Exeter will speak about how the Muslim community is affected by an increasingly secular Britain. Islam features heavily in public debate and with continued unrest in the Middle East and the ongoing refugee crisis, Professor Davie will discuss new approaches in fields of study related to religion and how this knowledge can be used to create a more constructive public debate about religion’s role within society.  
 
Then on April 28 Thomas Williams, Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs from the US Embassy will speak to the WCIA audience about the impact the conflict in the Middle East has on the wider international community. He will discuss US foreign policy in relation to Syria, ISIS and the wider Middle East. Thomas Williams has extensive experience in the Middle East, including serving as Deputy Chief of Mission in Islamabad, Riyadh and Kuwait.
 
To find out more about our upcoming events please check our events calendar.

COP21, what happens next?

In December, the Size of Wales team and representatives from other Welsh charities including the WCIA were in Paris at COP21 to witness World leaders approve an agreement to tackle climate change.
 
Size of Wales shared information with Conference attendees about the importance of forests and what Wales is doing in the fight against climate change. Lowri from Size of Wales said: “We were very happy to see that the protection of rainforests was included as one of the central aspects of the agreement.”
 
Lowri added: “The Conference was a lot of fun and lots of people we spoke to loved what we were doing and found it very unique. There was lots of positivity surrounding the event and the agreement and we hope that Paris is just the beginning of a lot more that can be done.” 
 
Now an agreement has been reached, countries must implement their promises and the international community must prove they are committed to this agreement. Over the next five years, Size of Wales will continue its efforts to stop climate change and plans to double the area of tropical rainforest it protects

Wales for Peace, Remembering for Peace Exhibition Launch

On 30 January, our Wales for Peace Office launched the Remembering for Peace Exhibition at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. Community groups and volunteers were able to preview the exhibition and had a chance to transcribe the book as well as find out more about using and creating online resources on the theme of war and peace.
 
The Welsh National Book of Remembrance holds the names of 35,000 men and women who gave their lives in the First World War. This exhibition tells the story of the Book and that of some of the names listed, as well as exploring how the Book has been used in remembering for peace. Visitors have the chance to explore the Book through a new digital copy, created by the National Library of Wales. For the first time ever the names listed are available for everyone to see and research.
 
The exhibition runs from 16 January – 16 April and digitalises Wales’ national Book of Remembrance for the First World War, and supports people to uncover the stories behind the names. Ffion, from our Wales for Peace office, found a distant relative in the exhibition, she said: “It was great to have that moment of recognition and I hope that many more will be able to share the same experience. We have already received a few letters from members of the public who have expressed great gratitude for the fact that their family members can be commemorated and remembered through the book.”
 
As the exhibition continues, Wales of Peace will also explore how the horrors of war led people in Wales to campaign for peace and work towards more positive and peaceful international relations. A touring exhibition of the book will be produced in physical and digital copies and discussion workshops will be offered to schools and members of the public.

 

WCIA Annual Forum

On 19 January, the WCIA held its Annual Forum, attended by the WCIA’s partners, supporters and funders. The event provided an opportunity to meet the teams behind some of the WCIA’s current activities, including the Wales for Peace and Hub Cymru Africa Programmes. Several discussions were held including how the WCIA can represent the international sector through the Welsh Government’s Third Sector Partnership Council. 
 

New Volunteering Opportunities Available

Wales for Peace and the National Library of Wales are inviting community groups and individuals across Wales to join them in digitally recording the names of the 35,000 people in the Book of Remembrance who lost their lives in service during the First World War.
 
With the help of volunteers, the book, which has been housed in the Temple of Peace since 1938, will be made accessible online, to provide a searchable online resource for families and researchers to use in the future. The book will be travelling around Wales so there will be many chances to become involved in the upcoming months, no digital skills are required as training is provided.
 
There are other volunteering opportunities also available with Wales for Peace including blog writing, blog editing, guest writing and student volunteering.
Please contact Wales for Peace at walesforpeace@wcia.org.uk or on 02920 821051 if you would like more information about getting involved.
 
We are always looking for additional volunteers at the WCIA , whether your interests are be in event volunteering, communication and digital media, or office based roles. Current volunteer Corinna volunteer spoke about her experience so far: “It has been really great to work with such interesting people and gain an insight into the amazing projects that the WCIA involves itself in.” Corinna has also helped to develop new approaches that encourage students to become more involved in debating and enhance debating skills.
 
If you would like to learn more about our volunteering opportunities please contact susieventrisfield@wcia.org.uk
 

Global Learning Programme Wales Competition  

To encourage young people in Wales to find out more about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Global Learning Programme Wales is hosting an exciting competition for Key Stage 2 and 3 pupils. The competition asks contestants to produce a poster, short film or animation that helps raise awareness of the SDGs which aim to resolve the social, economic and environmental problems troubling the world by 2030. Successful schools will then be invited to a ceremony in April where they will take part in Olympic-themed work shops. The deadline for competition entries is 26 February. Find out more
 

 

Good COP? Bad COP? Stop Climate Chaos Cymru and WCIA Event 

On 27 January, following the COP21 climate talks in Paris, Stop Climate Chaos Cymru and the WCIA hosted an event attended by expert speakers who discussed their views on the outcomes of the Paris climate talks, and tried to answer the question good COP, bad COP?
 
The expert speakers were divided into three panels, a Wales panel, a UK panel and an international panel in which each speaker assessed the current situation for each region with regards to climate change and what role communities within these regions can play in tackling climate change.
 
The Wales panel included: Jessica McQuade, Policy Officer, WWF Cymru; Professor Nick Pidgeon, Professor of Environmental Psychology, Cardiff University; Eurgain Powell, Climate Change Commission for Wales; and Elen Jones, National Coordinator, Fair Trade Wales. The panel agreed that the climate change deal reached at COP was a good basis for moving forward in helping to tackle climate change, but that there must be continued pressure on governments, including the Welsh government, to ensure continued progress.
 
Speakers on the UK panel included: Matt Hemsley, Campaigns and Advocacy Manager, Oxfam Cymru; Dr. Stephen Cornelius, Chief Advisor on Climate Change at WWF-UK; Ann Jones, Chair of NFWI-Wales; and Ebbi Ferguson, NUS Wales Deputy President. Ann spoke about the importance of the role of women in tackling climate, as did Ebbi of young people. Although it was agreed that COP was a landmark deal, the panel agreed that the challenge is still ahead of us.
 
The final panel of speakers, the international panel, included: Cat Jones, Head of Partnership Hub Cymru Africa; Lowri Jenkins, Campaigns Manager, Size of Wales; Raychel Santo, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future & Cardiff University; and Huw Thomas, Head of Christian Aid Wales. With a more international focus, several members of the panel discussed the affects of deforestation on climate change. It is hoped by our speakers, that the initiatives they discussed which help tackle climate change, will be held stronger in force now a climate deal was made in Paris.
 
After each panel discussion, the audience were invited to involve themselves in a Q&A session, which showcased a range of different perspectives. Huw Thomas, Head of Christian Aid Wales said: “The event was well attended and the audience evidently care a lot about all issues across the spectrum”. Matt Hemsley, Campaigns and Advocacy Manager, Oxfam Cymru also added: “It was nice not to have political spokespersons on the panel as this allowed for us to ask ourselves what we are going to do collectively rather than ask a politician what they are going to do.”
 
Audience members were further invited at the end to speak with one another and with the expert speakers about the issues discussed. Audience member Richard said: “It was great to have a panel with such diverse contributions to the debate”, Jacky added: “It is lovely to be able to attend an event like this with such a diverse audience, it has for myself, re-enthused and promoted new ideas about climate change.”

Hub Cymru Africa Grants

Applications for the 2016/17 Hub Cymru Africa Grants Programme are now open! Hub Cymru Africa’s grant scheme enables individuals, community groups and organisations throughout Wales to access funding for small-scale Wales-Africa projects. Funding will be allocated to four areas, health; sustainable livelihoods; lifelong learning; and climate change and the environment.
 
Through health grants, Hub Cymru seeks to contribute to protecting the mental and physical wellbeing of communities in Africa. This is achieved through supporting knowledge and skills sharing between health institutions in Wales and Africa for mutual learning and benefit; supporting healthcare professionals in Africa to access small scale training and support; and supporting communities in Wales and Africa to access to more equitable, quality healthcare.
 
Hub Cymru’s sustainable livelihood grants seek to assist in promoting realistic and sustainable livelihood opportunities in Wales and Africa, ensuring that marginalized individuals are included in grassroots economic and social development. These initiatives typically involve community-led, income generating cooperatives that benefit Wales and Africa; engaging the public through Fair Trade campaigns, advocacy or policy; activities that bring the consumer closer to the producer in a sustainable way; support to small scale agricultural projects and activities; and support to grassroots income generating activities e.g. arts & crafts.
 
Under lifelong learning grants, Hub Cymru supports individuals, groups of children or adults in Wales and/or Africa to gain skills and knowledge. Activities include: linking communities in Wales with African partners to develop mutual understanding of global development and international issues; supporting the educational needs of disadvantaged children in Africa and sharing that experience with school pupils in Wales; and supporting people in Africa to learn practical/vocational/artistic skills to improve their livelihoods (e.g. theatre and dance, IT and carpentry).
 
Through the climate change and environment grant scheme, Hub Cymru Africa support initiatives that help people while working to reduce environmental degradation and biodiversity loss in Africa, as well as strategic and practical work to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and to protect people from the impacts of climate change on food supplies, water availability or safety. These initiatives include activities which support African farmers to adapt to a changing climate; projects which enable the use of renewable energy in Africa; projects engaging people in Wales with climate change issues as they affect Africa; or work aiming to support African partners in implementing sustainable development practices.
 
Grant applications must be submitted by 12 noon on 4 April. Find out more
Our events

Remembering for Peace Exhibition, 16 January-16 April, various locations across Wales. Find out more.

Belgian Refugees in Wales, Wales for Peace, 17 February, Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University. Find out more and register.
 
‘Charity begins at home?’ Talk from the Chief Executive of Oxfam GB, Mark Goldring, 24 February, Temple of Peace, Cardiff. Find out more and register.
 
Conscientious Objectors, Wales for Peace, 2 March, Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University. Find out more and register.
 
Opposition to the First World War, Wales for Peace, 16 March, Morlan, Aberystwyth. Find out more and register.
 
Baroness Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, 22 March, Temple of Peace. Save the date.
 
Public Seminar Series: ‘Contextualising Islam in 21st Century Britain’ with Professor Grace Davie, 13 April, Temple of Peace, Cardiff, Partnership event with the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, Cardiff University. Find out more and register.
 
US foreign policy on Syria, ISIS and the Middle East, Talk from Thomas Williams, Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the US Embassy, 28 April, Temple of Peace. Save the date.


Our training and CPD

Shared Learning Event: Working with Communities – Strengths and Challenges, 15 February, Hub Cymru Africa, The Mount Centre, Carmarthen. Find out more and register.
 
Level 1 Philosophy for Children, 16 March, Pontypridd. Find out more and register

 
Other dates for your diary

Pilgrim of Peace, Jen Llywelyn's Book Launch, 2 March, National Library of Wales Aberystwyth.

Public Seminar Series: ‘The shifting sands of anti-Muslim hatred: from the far right and the margins, to the mainstream’, 16 March, Cardiff University John Percival Building. Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, Cardiff University. Find out more and register.


Event resources

Mock Cop, 16 November in partnership with Size of Wales. Photos and social media.

Media workshop and debate, 3 December in partnership with Cardiff School of Journalism. Photos, social media story, workshop tips, event report. 

Good COP? Bad COP? Have your say on climate change, 27 January, Stop Climate Chaos Cymru partnership event. Photos, post event story/report and other past climate change event resources

Support the WCIA 

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Volunteers

Gain skills and experience, meet people and support the WCIA. We’re looking for a website volunteer and general volunteers.


 
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