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

US Embassy Minister-Counsellor of Political Affairs leads talk on Syria

On 28 April, Thomas Williams, the Minister-Counsellor for Political Affairs at the US Embassy, led a talk discussing US foreign policy on Syria, ISIS and the Middle East. 

Thomas Williams stated that in an increasingly connected climate there is a need for partnership to avoid further widespread instability in a region already battling unemployment and economic shortfalls.

“Instability in one part of the planet can significantly affect other areas. We need to work in partnership; the US cannot solve the problems on its own, it needs the help of countries like the UK.”

Focusing primarily on Syria, Thomas Williams outlined President Barack Obama’s top three priorities; to mobilise partners to defeat Daesh, work towards a political rather than a military solution to the Syrian civil war, and to continue providing humanitarian assistance to refugees and the millions of Syrians displaced.

But while recognising the importance of US foreign policy, Thomas Williams also acknowledged complications of western involvement, and the increasing threat of sectarianism and ISIL in and beyond the Middle East.

After taking audience questions, which varied from the Security Council’s right to veto which has delayed action in Syria and the issues facing the international community from threats from the Middle East, Thomas Williams was impressed by ideas introduced into the debate.

“The questions asked showcased a range of academic and real world ideas. The audience were very kind and extremely well informed. It has been a very positive experience to speak at the WCIA and would encourage other speakers to come here.”

To learn more about Thomas William’s talk, read the event write up and view pictures, head to our post event resources page.


Original footage of the Temple of Peace opening in 1938

The original footage of the opening of the Temple of Peace on 23 November 1938 has been uncovered by a volunteer on the Wales for Peace project.

The Temple, home to the WCIA, was opened by Mrs Minnie James of Dowlais, who had lost 3 sons in the First World War and represented the war-bereaved mothers of Wales.

The rare footage shows Sir Charles Bird opening the proceedings with a speech, followed by the architect, Mr Percy Thomas, who hands a golden key to Mrs James.

The building itself was a gift from Lord David Davies of Llandinam to the Welsh people. He wanted it to be “a memorial to those gallant men [and women] from all nations who gave their lives in the war that was to end war” and so it was dedicated to the memory of the loss of life as a result of the 1914 - 1918 War.

Read more about the history of The Temple, and explore peace heritage around Wales and how you can get involved. 

EU Referendum In or Out?

With only a month left before we head to the polls for the EU Referendum, both the 'In' (Vote Leave) and 'Out' (Stronger In) campaigns are heating up public debate. Is leaving the EU going to be detrimental or beneficial for the UK economy? Is it going to boost or halt trade? 

But despite campaigning from both sides many are still undecided as both camps rebuke one another. Although recent data from the British Election Survey show Remain has a narrow lead of 43 to 40.5 per cent, polling has shifted regularly with neither side securing a convincing lead. So we've put together a list of helpful sites to bring clarity to a somewhat confusing discussion. 

What is the EU and how does it work?

Why the Government thinks we should remain

Vote Leave Website

Stronger In Website

BBC: All you need to know about EU Referendum

If you haven't registered to vote, you can register here by June 7.

4 July: Debate Training Day For Absolute Beginners

This debate training day, to take place in Cardiff, will offer debate training to complete beginners on the basic principles of debating, how to build and structure an argument, and debate practise on the theme of ‘threats to democracy’.

Eight students from the debate training days will be selected to go to Vilnius in Lithuania to join groups from across Europe from the 18th – 23rd of August, 2016.

Introductory offer:
First five schools to book can have one student place for free.

Find out more

Teach in Africa!

The Lesotho Teacher Placement Programme, now in its 12th year, is offering a: "fantastic opportunity to work in the mountainous Kingdom of Lesotho, in Southern Africa." After returning, participants will share their experience with schools in Wales.

The placements are five and a half months involve teaching in primary or secondary schools in Lesotho, and supporting some teacher training workshops.

Starting January 2017

Who is it for?
The programme is open to newly qualified or experienced teachers who are living or were trained in Wales, and who will be returning to work in Welsh schools.

Deadline 29 July 2016

For more information and how to apply, visit the website here.

Job Vacancy

Outreach Education Officers

Size of Wales are looking for passionate educators to help expand their delivery across Wales. This will be delivered through the provision of assemblies and workshops in Welsh to primary and secondary schools.

The ideal candidate will be an excellent communicator in both English and Welsh, with a proven track record of working with children and an understanding of the education sector (including ESDGC) in Wales. The candidate must have an interest in conservation issues; creativity and excellent organisational skills.

Deadline: 5pm 2 June

For more information and how to apply click here.

WCIA Volunteering Opportunities

The WCIA are recruiting volunteers from across Wales to contribute to its mission and vision.

Kathryn Ruffles, Communications Volunteer for the WCIA said: "Volunteering at the WCIA has provided me with a unique insight into working for a charity organisation that provides a forum for human rights, peace and justice, sustainability and international development...

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time volunteering at the WCIA and found the staff to be very friendly and accommodating. It has been an invaluable experience."

Susie Ventris-Field, who coordinates volunteers at the WCIA said: "We have some really exciting opportunities available from communications to peace heritage research. We welcome volunteers of all backgrounds and abilities.

"Many of our volunteers use their experiences with us to meet people, enhance their CVs or learn more about the sector."

Available opportunities in communications, events, administration, research, school assembly delivery and volunteer coordination. 
For more information on volunteering visit our website, read our volunteer blogs to find out what a day volunteering with us is like, or email
Hire the Temple of Peace

Hire out the 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 and Events, 30 April – 20 June, Wales for Peace. Find out more

Belgian Refugees in Wales and Rhyl WW1, 24 May, Little Theatre, Rhyl, Find out more.

European Referendum Event in partnership with ‘The UK in a Changing Europe’. 8 June, The Old Library, Cardiff.

European Referendum Event in partnership with Bangor University. 17 June, Bangor University Main Building.

Launch of 'Peace and Goodwill' Exhibition, 30 May, Eisteddfod Maes. 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
What happened in the 2016 Election? Talk by Professor Roger Scully, 26 May, Institute of Welsh Politics, Aberystwyth. Save the date.


Read the latest blogs from our contributors.

Event resources

‘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, pictures and video.

'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, report and video. 

Support the WCIA 

Find out more.

Volunteer With WCIA

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

Other Volunteering Opportunities

UNA Exchange provides a range of international volunteering opportunities including; work camps; step by step programmes; medium to long term projects; European voluntary service; and group projects.

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