On 20 April, Professor W. John Morgan, Leverhulme Emeritus Fellow at WISERD, gave an invitation Zoom lecture on Ben Bowen Thomas, Wales, and UNESCO to the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, a London Welsh learned society founded in 1751.
The focus of Professor Morgan’s Leverhulme research is the use of the United Nations and its specialised agency, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as sites of ideological struggle, using propaganda, ‘soft power’ or cultural diplomacy, exploiting the arts, sciences, and intellectual life after the Second World War. The Lecture is one outcome of that research.
Sir Ben Bowen Thomas was a prominent Welsh adult educator, Warden of Coleg Harlech, and later Permanent Secretary, the Welsh Department, of the post-war Ministry of Education. He was also a cultural diplomat who represented the United Kingdom at UNESCO, was a member of the Executive Board (1954-1962) and its Chair (1958-1960).
The Lecture explores the relationship between Thomas’ personal experience of adult education, social service, and liberal internationalism in Wales and his career at UNESCO.
You can read more and watch the recording of the lecture on the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion’s website. A fuller version of the Lecture will be published by the Transactions of the Cymmrodorion.
Following the above lecture, Professor W. John Morgan contributed an account of the life of Sir Ben Bowen Thomas to the Welsh Political Icons podcast; a site of Welsh political audio-biographies.