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Introducing the Olympic Refugee Team, from war to glory

As more than 200 countries compete at the Olympic, it is the 10 member team that is being celebrated for more than its sporting accomplishments. 

The Refugee Olympic Team (ROT), formed from members who fled from South Sudan, Ethiopia, Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, was announced in March by the International Olympic Commission. 

Yusra Mardini pushed a sinking dinghy across the Aegean Sea, saving 20 lives including her own. A year later, after fleeing Syria at 17, Mardini is now an Olympic swimmer. 

“We were the only four who knew how to swim. I had one hand with the rope attached to the boat as I moved my two legs and one arm. It was three and half hours in cold water.”

She joins fellow swimmer Rami Anis, 25, who fled Syria in an inflatable dingy. “I hope to convey a nice image about the world’s refugees,” he said. 

He achieved just that when he recorded his personal best time for the 100m freestyle heat on 9 August, which was met with a standing ovation.

To read more about the Refugee Olympic Team, visit the Welsh Centre for International Affairs Facebook page, where we will be introducing each member of the ROT, or read the blog

Wales remembers the conscientious objectors of WW1 

The bravery of more than 900 men from Wales who objected to fighting in WW1 has been celebrated and honoured with a register of conscientious objectors. 

When military conscription was introduced in 1916, many objectors were imprisoned for their views. Now 100 years on, those very men have been celebrated as the ‘register of conscientious objectors’ was unveiled to the public on 4 August, at the National Eisteddfod, as part of the Heritage Lottery funded ‘Wales for Peace’ project, supported by the Welsh Government’s Wales Remembers programme.

Craig Owen, Head of Wales for Peace at the Welsh Centre for International Affairs said:

“Anti-war movements today are an integral part of society and democracy. But in WW1, objectors to war had to display incredible bravery and endure major hardships to stand up for their beliefs. 

This user-friendly register we hope will help Welsh communities, schools and students to research and unlock the hidden histories of these conscientious objectors from across Wales through WW1.”

The database, collated from newspaper cuttings, personal recollections and letters, allows users to search names and reasons for objecting. It will go live online from 1 September, in time for the upcoming academic year. 

For more information about the register of conscientious objectors click here.

Wales at the World School Debating Championships

The 2016 World School Debating Championships, held in Stuttgart between 19-29 July, saw Wales rank 11th after the preliminary rounds. 

The global annual debating tournament includes over 45 national teams. 

Wales achieved wins against Argentina, Barbados and Indonesia on motions ranging from criminalising all hate speech to the effectiveness of President Obama’s administration. However, Wales bowed out of the championships on 26 July after a loss to Peru. 

George Clay, Coach for Team Wales, was full of praise for his team. 

“From the beginning of the round this morning Wales were smashing their material; they were engaging, they were compelling, they did everything I have asked of them.

“Team Wales this morning showed themselves the remarkable young women and men I have always known them to be.”

To find out more visit Team Wales Facebook and Twitter

Hub Cymru Africa lead discussion on International Youth Day

Hub Cymru Africa, joined by representatives from UNA Exchange, The Safe Foundation, and Fair Trade Wales, held a Twitter panel to celebrate International Youth day on [date]. 

Youth Leading Sustainability was the theme for 2016, focusing on the leading role of young people in ensuring poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development through sustainable production and consumption. 

Encouraging young people to ask important questions via Twitter, discussions ranged from proposals of work camps to teach people about responsible consumerism to encouraging young people to speak up in Wales. 

For a summary of the discussion click here

Refugees embrace Welsh culture at National Eisteddfod

Refugees and asylum seeking families, originally from conflict torn countries such as Syria, Pakistan and the Ivory Coast, were given a warm welcome at the National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny, as they embraced Welsh culture. 

The families, who are now living in Wales, dug in to all aspects of Welsh art and culture, including attending a Welsh language taster session. 

First Minister Carwyn Jones was in attendance to welcome the refugees and asylum seekers.

"Wales has a proud history of offering a warm welcome to asylum seekers and refugees from all over the world and, in return, we have gained a culturally enriched Welsh society. I am pleased to continue this tradition today by welcoming asylum seekers and refugees to Wales' largest celebration of Welsh language and culture.”

The trip was organised by Oxfam Cymru and supported by the National Eisteddfod.

Temple of Peace Tour Review

By Fflur Jones

The Temple of Peace is an important building in Cardiff born out of the tragedy of the First World War and hope for the future, yet it is often overlooked. It is for this reason that the Wales for Peace team have started doing tours of the building to shine some light on its history and its purpose today.

The tour started outside the main entrance where friendly volunteers led us to the Peace Garden at the back of the Temple. On the way, they gave us a sneak peak of the Welsh League of Nations post-box, uncovering a past function of the building and underlining the rich and complex history of the place. We then headed inside to gaze in awe at the stunning Marble Hall and share a moment of silent contemplation down in the crypt as the team taught us more about the Book of Remembrance and Wales’ legacy following the First World War.

It was stunning to learn this was only their second tour, the knowledge of the building was impressive and covered all the main aspects of its history.

The team were friendly, open to all questions from their audience and contributed to creating a relaxed atmosphere within the group. Hopefully the project will grow, with the tours covering more and more of the building’s rich story whilst also growing in popularity.

Hire the Temple of Peace

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

More information and availability.

Our events

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

Other dates for your diary

International Development Summit, 1 November, Liberty Stadium Swansea. Find out more.


From war to Olympic glory, the Refugee Olympic Team are competing for tolerance. Read.

The Orlando Mass-Shootings: Homophobia or Terrorism. Read.

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.

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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