UNA Exchange celebrates 45 years of global exchanges to and from Wales
In December 2018 UNA Exchange held an event at the Welsh National Assembly to celebrate the charity’s 45th anniversary and demonstrate the impact of global exchanges to and from Wales, coinciding with International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development.
Driven by a mission of peace and international solidarity, UNA Exchange empowers individuals to participate in international voluntary service projects that develop communities, protect the natural and historic environments and promote intercultural understanding.
The charity was formed in 1973, as the United Nations Association for International Youth Service (Wales), with origins in the 1950s/1960s, when young people from Wales were motivated to volunteer their time and energy, in solidarity, to help rebuild communities, largely in Europe, in the aftermath of the Second World War. These young peace-builders were part of a pan-European movement of international voluntary service that persists today in the Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organisations of which UNA Exchange was a founding member in 1982 and continues to actively engage.
Together, Alliance members:
‘promote intercultural understanding, peace, democratic participation and equality, in the spirit of respect for universal human rights’.
In December 2018 UNA Exchange celebrated its 45th anniversary with an event in the Welsh National Assembly, kindly sponsored by Shadow Secretary for Housing, Heritage, Culture, and Media, David Melding CBE OStJ, AM.
Very proud to have sponsored such an important event, so the pleasure was mine! An amazing organisation. https://t.co/F7LyOW1ObR— David Melding (@DavidMeldingAM) December 6, 2018
As part of a ‘human library’, young people shared their formative and life-changing experiences of volunteering with UNA Exchange on projects around the world.
THANK YOU to everyone who joined us yesterday @AssemblyWales – we've received many kind words of appreciation for our 'human library'. We're so pleased that guests enjoyed hearing directly the life-changing stories of @UNAExchange volunteers. #InternationalVolunteerDay pic.twitter.com/XHe2d3V0Rg— UNA Exchange 🏴 (@UNAExchange) December 5, 2018
Partnership working is at the core of the UNA Exchange mission. Marco Gil-Cervantes, CEO of ProMo-Cymru, and Grant Poiner, COO of Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of Wales, shared their experiences of long-term partnering with UNA Exchange to host European Voluntary Service placements through the EU-funded Erasmus+ programme.
Thank you @MarcoGilCer from @ProMoCymru for speaking at our celebratory event yesterday: it was great to hear more about the benefits of hosting long-term European Volunteers and your own experience as an international volunteer with @UNAExchange #InternationalVolunteerDay pic.twitter.com/ocg4m6Oz0z— UNA Exchange 🏴 (@UNAExchange) December 5, 2018
Thank you to our partners @BGCWales and @GrantPoiner for taking part in our showcase event at the Senedd yesterday. Partnership working has been at the core of our mission for the past 45 years and will remain so as we strategically plan for the big 5-0 #InternationalVolunteerDay pic.twitter.com/oMFMg3eHuW— UNA Exchange 🏴 (@UNAExchange) December 5, 2018