Dr Rowan Williams FLSW to become Chair of Academi Heddwch Cymru

Academi Heddwch Cymru has announced that the former Archbishop of Wales and Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams FLSW, will be its first Chair.

On making this announcement, Dr Rowan Williams said: ‘Wales has a long tradition of international vision and of commitment to social and international reconciliation.  It is a delight and an honour to be part of this new venture, which seeks to give new life to this tradition at a time when our world is in such desperate need of models for collaborative and creative peacemaking’.

Precisely one year ago, Academi Heddwch Cymru came into being, drawing together representatives from all the universities of Wales, the Learned Society of Wales, the Welsh Centre for International Affairs and the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. Academi Heddwch partners will make sure peace is on the research and policy agenda in Wales, collaborating to extend Wales’ strong tradition of peace-making and peace-promotion. Its recently appointed co-ordinator, Ameerah Mai, works from the Academi’s home in the Temple of Peace and Health in Cardiff.

Dr Mererid Hopwood FLSW, Academi Heddwch secretary said: ‘Welcoming Dr Rowan Williams to Academi Heddwch’s chair marks an excellent end to Academi’s first year of activity. We thank Dr Aled Eirug and Dr Einir Young for their excellent work in filling the position in the interm, and look forward to working with all three as we develop the Academi’s programme’.

Academi Heddwch’s overall aims are to ensure that:

  • Wales makes an internationally recognised contribution to peace research and practice
  • a focus on peace is seen in relevant Welsh Government strategies and policies
  • there is strong public engagement with peace research and practice in Wales

The concept of an Academi Heddwch for Wales was supported in principle by the Senedd/National Assembly in 2014 which recognised that it could “add value to both the Assembly’s work and wider civic society”. This led to establishing the Wales Peace Institute Initiative (a small charity formed in 2015). The Initiative’s aim in turn, was to establish Academi Heddwch Cymru, which was achieved last year on September 21, 2020.

By developing and coordinating an independent community of researchers in related fields, Academi Heddwch Cymru has started work to place peace firmly on the national agenda. On the international stage, it has already established links with some organisations in the global network of peace institutes.

Recent work includes:

  • working with Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod to host 6 events in the virtual ‘Peace Pavilion’, including the Peace Lecture given by Begoña Lasagabaster from the United Nations; panel discussions with experts from Wales and the world; a performance in remembrance of Srebrenica and readings from PEN Cymru and Basque poets;
  • hosting the Young Peacemakers’ Awards ceremony, during which young people across Wales were celebrated for their contributions to peace. The awards included the ‘Young Peacemaker’ and ‘Young Global Citizen’ awards;
  • co-ordinating a Wales/North America multi-faceted partnership project to celebrate the centenary of the Women of Wales for Peace Petition 1923-4 (signed by almost 400,000 Welsh women).