A group of Swansea University students has written this year’s Peace and Goodwill Message, which focuses on equality for women and girls.

Now in its 99th year, this year’s message was launched in video form at 8am on Tuesday, 18 May.

With the Covid-19 pandemic deepening pre-existing inequalities, the young people of Wales have decided to use the 2021 Urdd Peace and Goodwill Message as a platform to express their vision for a gender-equal generation. In a powerful message, they call on young people across the world to use the “new normal” to create a better future by ensuring equality for women and girls.

On 18 May for the past 99 years, the young people of Wales have shared a unique message of Peace and Goodwill, which has been received far and wide. The Urdd succeeded in getting 2020’s peace message, ‘Stop the Clock and Start Again’ further across the world than ever before. By translating the message into 57 languages and with a little help from their Welsh friends, such as Catherine Zeta-Jones, Matthew Rhys and Michael Sheen, over 37 million people in over 40 countries were able to see the almost century-old Message of Peace and Goodwill.

The 2021 Urdd Peace and Goodwill Message has been co-written by 21 Swansea University students after attending the organisation’s ‘Equality for Women and Girls’ workshop. It is available in more than 60 languages, which makes it the Urdd’s most translated Peace Message to date.

Professor Paul Boyle, Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, said: “We are extremely proud of the inspirational Peace and Goodwill Message created by Swansea University students this year. We are the first university to participate in drafting Urdd Gobaith Cymru’s annual message, and are delighted that our students have chosen to exemplify Swansea University’s global outlook and our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusivity. We hope that this international message, which has been translated into more than 60 languages, will bring together children and young people around the world, in shared optimism for a better future for us all.” 

The Peace and Goodwill Message is unique to Wales and has been relayed each year without fail since 1922, overcoming wars and major changes in methods of communication, from Morse Code to radio and television broadcast to the digital networks of today.

Urdd Gobaith Cymru’s CEO, Siân Lewis, said: “The Urdd is leading by example and ensuring gender equality on all levels, proving that this year’s Peace Message is more than a hashtag. Gender equality and girls’ and women’s rights are all important to a future that delivers for everyone.

“We are very grateful to Academi Hywel Teifi, Swansea University for supporting the Message. It has been a privilege to work with the University given its clear commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusivity. The students’ enthusiasm and commitment to the Message and to making a difference is infectious – I am confident the Message will strike a chord across the world, and result in action.”

Shannon Rowlands of Newcastle Emlyn, who contributed to writing this year’s Peace and Goodwill Message, said: “As a medical student, I’ve experienced and heard about instances of discrimination against women in medicine. Patients have taken for granted that I’m a student nurse instead of doctor because I’m a woman, and some of my female friends who aspire to be surgeons have unfortunately been told they should reconsider it as a career if they want children.

“I’ve been so fortunate to meet incredibly inspiring women while on work placements, proving that women can work in any area they want. Things are certainly improving, but there is still work to be done – and I am sure the same is true of other professions.”

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