World's First Department of International Politics celebrates opening of new building

Rt Hon Rhodri Morgan and Sir Emyr Jones Parry

Rt Hon Rhodri Morgan and Sir Emyr Jones Parry

01 July 2006

World's First Department of International Politics celebrates opening of new building
The new home of the world's first Department of International Politics was opened on Tuesday 25 July by the First Minister of the National Assembly for Wales, the Rt Hon Rhodri Morgan, and the UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Sir Emyr Jones Parry.

The new 4 storey building, designed by award winning Ellis Williams Architects and built at a cost of over £5m, will be formally known as the International Politics Building and brings together a range of features that are designed to reduce energy consumption and ensure low maintenance costs. Very high levels of insulation, controllable natural ventilation and extensive use of natural light combine to provide an airy atmosphere, providing an excellent working environment.

Speaking at the opening, Professor Noel Lloyd said;
“The University is proud of the work that the Department of International Politics does and of the esteem in which it is held. It is, of course, the oldest such department in the world, but it has in recent years achieved pre-eminence it its field.  Its members have a wonderful record of academic achievement and I am especially proud of its engagement with policy and policy makers.”

“It is therefore fitting that it is moving into this magnificent new building.  Having been involved in the planning of the building from the earliest stages, it is a particular pleasure to be involved in this opening ceremony.  But it is also a pleasure to see such a superb building –  aesthetically,  functionally and in terms of its environmental friendliness,” he added.

Head of Department, Professor Colin McInnes, commented ‘The presence of the First Minister and Sir Emyr at the official opening reflects the Department’s commitment to and role in Wales, and its global significance in the study of International Politics.’

The Department of International Politics was established in 1919 when the Woodrow Wilson Chair was endowed by David Davies, the Liberal MP for Montgomeryshire, as a memorial to the students of the College who had fought and died in the First World War.

Davies’s vision, which expressed both the Welsh radical and internationalist traditions, was that the Department would be Wales’ democratic contribution to the world’s future. He believed that by accumulating knowledge about international politics, especially the causes of war, the world could prevent a repeat of horrific conflicts like the First World War. 

From small beginnings, the Department has established itself as a world famous centre for research and teaching in the field of International Relations. The new International Politics building, bringing together over one hundred researchers and support staff, reflects the Department’s existing global reputation and aspiration to remain pioneering and excellent in everything it does.
Sir Emyr honoured as Fellow
Following the opening ceremony Sir Emyr Jones Parry was presented with an Honorary Fellowship of the University.
A native of Carmarthenshire, Sir Emyr was educated at Gwendraeth Grammar School, Cardiff University, where he read Theoretical Physics, and St Catharine’s College, Cambridge where he gained a PhD in Polymer Physics. He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1973 and during a distinguished career has held posts in Canada, at the European Parliament in Brussels and Madrid. In 2001 he was appointed UK Permanent Representative on the North Atlantic Council, which was followed in 2003 by his appointment to his current post of UK Permanent Representative to the UN, New York.
Sir Emyr was presented by Dr Catrin Hughes, Registrar of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.