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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. 

UK votes to leave EU as Wales takes eurosceptic turn

On 23 June voters opted to leave the European Union with the Leave camp edging a 51.9% to 48.1% win. 

Wales' proved more Eurosceptic than England with 52.5% voting to Leave to 47.5% voting to Remain. 

This is despite Wales receiving high amounts of EU funding - an estimated net benefit at £245 million a year

This comes a month after UKIP members were elected into the Welsh Assembly for the first time, and the collapse of Tata Steel in Port Talbot, which some say is exacerbated by EU state aid rules.  

On 8 June, an EU referendum debate of three panels took place in Cardiff, run with Cardiff University’s Welsh Governance Centre and the WCIA. Society and law, internal and international relationships, and effects on jobs and economy were discussed.

Dr Jo Hunt, from Cardiff School of Law, expressed the rigidity of the EU in terms of the restrictions put in place, but also pointed out the value of communication with our surrounding European countries. 

Dr Hywel Ceri Jones, Baroness Julie Smith and Lord Dafydc Wigley expressed their views on the benefits of the EU - such as solidarity, foundation for improvement, and funding benefits to Wales. 

On the other hand the benefits of leaving the EU were discussed by UKIP's David Rowlands, Alex Moscovici, the Chair of Students for Britain Cardiff for ‘Leave', and Berwyn Davies. New trade agreements, politician accountability and diminishing British sovereignty were all topics of discussion. 

Despite a Leave win, the future still remains uncertain as we step into new territory. What benefit or disadvantage this will have to Wales is still unknown. 

Martin Pollard, Chief Executive of WCIA, said, "We are a nation divided on this issue, and the process from here on is uncertain. So it is more important than ever that we come together to promote the values that the WCIA stands for - peace, tolerance, human rights and international cooperation. 

Over the coming months and years, we will make sure we give the Welsh public plenty of opportunities to discuss the implications of Brexit and find shared ways to create a fairer, more peaceful world.”

To read more click here

Penygroes Celebrates 90th Anniversary of North Wales Women Peace Pilgrimage

More than a hundred women gathered at Penygroes Memorial Hall on May 27 to mark the 90th anniversary of the 1926 Women’s Peace Pilgrimage. 

Women across Wales, from Blaenau, Caernarfon, to Lleyn and Wrexham came together to remember and celebrate the North Wales peace march which took place in 1926. 

On 19 June 1926 a number of women’s groups gathered to organise a peace pilgrimage to London’s Hyde Park following widespread destruction as a result of the first World War. Women throughout Britain became activists for arms reduction and settling international disputes.

In North Wales, with the leadership of peace activists Gladys Thoday and Silyn Roberts, 2000 women from around the town of Penygroes in Caernarfonshire began the peace march at the market town carrying the blue flag of peace. After travelling and holding 15 meetings over 5 days throughout North Wales villages, the procession reached Chester before joining more than 10,000 women demonstrating for peace at Hyde park.

Marking the anniversary, 103 year old Dills O’Brien Owen unveiled a remembrance plaque at the spot from where 2000 women began their march. The Penygroes community came together in remembrance with local children showcasing songs and artwork as women shared and transferred stories.

The anniversary marked a celebration of Wales' peace heritage and Welsh women's hand in international peace.

For more information about the 90th anniversary click here. To read more about the 1926 North Wales Women peace march click here.

Durga Puja Festival Traces South Asian Heritage in Wales

The Wales Puja Committee, a charitable organisation, has begun a project to “celebrate the large Bengali community who have settled in South Wales and to the trace the history of the Durga Puja Festival - a tradition of celebrating the Goddess Durga’s status of the destroyer of evil and protector of her devotees.”

With community involvement and the aim of heritage preservation the ‘Preserving the Heritage of Durga Puja Festival and Clay Image Making in Wales’ will involve archiving collected information about the festival, its significance, and its heritage in Wales which traces back to the early 1970’s. 

The exhibition will be taking place in Cardiff until 5 July, where life size clay images will be made by two traditional clay artists from Kolkata, alongside various cultural events and discussion forums. 

The project is a significant step in celebrating the diverse cultures in South Wales.

To find out more information about the project and exhibitions details, visit the Wales Puja Committee website here.

Q&A Spotlight: Why is Assad Still in Power Despite Numerous Interventions?

Five years after the Arab Spring’s demonstrations across the Middle East and subsequent toppling of regimes, the question still remains on why Assad is still in power in Syria despite numerous interventions by the US, EU and Saudi Arabia - as an audience member asked at a recent WCIA event. 

On 28 April at the talk “ISIL, Syria and the Middle East: The US perspective”, guest speaker Thomas Williams, the Minister-Counsellor for Political Affairs at the US Embassy, stated that the evolution of views on the direction of Syria is a reflection of the ever changing ground situation.

“The US view is that there needs to be an agreed transition for a new and legitimate government without Assad.There are differing views on the direction Syria should take. It is hard to argue Russia has not strengthened Assad militarily.” 

“Positive action would be to take power away from government in Syria Via UN resolution. it is the US view that a diplomatic procedure will be best tool to use to come to a conclusion over the crisis. The transition must be negotiated globally.”

The Syrian conflict is in its sixth year with many refugees from Syria now living in host communities and refugee tents in Jordan and Lebanon (UNHCR).

To read more on this talk, click here for the event report.

Cardiff Stands in Solidarity For MP Jo Cox 

More than a hundred people gathered in Cardiff on 22 June to pay tribute to Jo Cox on what would have been the MPs 42nd birthday,

Hosted by the Welsh Centre for International Affairs in conjunction with Wales for Peace, Hub Cymru Africa and Oxfam Cymru, and organised by Cardiff South and Penarth MP Stephen Doughty, Cardiff was one of the many places across the UK holding ‘More in Common’ events in solidarity and celebration of Jo Cox. 

Stephen Doughty said to Wales Online: “It’s been an incredibly powerful event, full of positivity and hope that Jo exemplified in her life. 

“People stood in solidarity but they also built new relationships and learnt about some of the causes that Jo stood for."

Organisations such as Hope Not Hate, Welsh Women’s Aid and Oxfam were also in attendance.

Read more or see photos from the event. 

Remembering for Peace Exhibition to Mark Centenary of Battle of the Somme

The Remembering the Peace Exhibition will run throughout the summer to mark the centenary of the Battle of Somme - a reminder of how division, conflict and hatred led to the loss of a generation. 

The exhibition will be held at the Temple of Peace, Cardiff, a building built by Lord David Davies, First World War survivor, embodying hope, peace and unity.

Running from 29 June to 24 September,  the exhibition will tell the story of the Welsh National Book of Remembrance which holds the names of 35,000 men and women who gave their lives in the First World War, and how Wales has contribute to the search for peace. 

To find out more about the history of the Temple of Peace click here. To  see more information about the Remembering for Peace Exhibition, click here. 
Hire the Temple of Peace

Hire out the prestigious venue in the heart of Cardiff for conferences, exhibitions, wedding receptions and much more. 

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Our events

Peace Festival 2016 - 16 June 2016, Temple of Peace,find out more.

Remembering for Peace Exhibition – 29 June - 24 September, Wales for Peace. Find out more


Our training and CPD

Debate Training for Beginners, 4 July, National Assembly for Wales. Find out more and register.

Other dates for your diary


Blog

Political Tourist: The Final ChapterRead.

Political Tourist Part 6: Discovering and Sharing Heritage for Truth and Peace. Read.

Political Tourist Part 5: Checkpoint Duty. Read.

Political Tourist Part 4: AVP – Gazan Style. Read.

Political Tourist Part 3: First Impressions of Gaza. Read.

Political Tourist Part 2: Room for Celebration. Read

Political Tourist Part 1: Walking the Line of Non-violence. Read.

North Wales Women Peace March 1926, Stephen Thomas. Read.

The EU Referendum: A Welsh Debate. Georgia Marks. Read.

Read the latest blogs from our contributors.

Event resources

EU Referendum: The Issues Debate Wales, 8 June. View event report.

‘Charity begins at home?’ Talk from the Chief Executive of Oxfam GB, Mark Goldring, 24 February. Post event report, photos, video of routable discussion, video of Mark Goldring talk.

‘The Role of the Commonwealth in the 21st Century’ Talk from Baroness Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, 22 March. Event story.
 
‘Contextualising Islam in 21st Century Britain’ Talk from Professor Grace Davie, 13 April. Event report and pictures

'Syria, ISIl, and the Middle East: The US Perspective' Talk from Thomas Williams, Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the US Embassy, 28 April. Event pictures and report

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