The origins of the IWA lie in the industrial and political crisis that Wales faced in the 1980s, following the rejection of democratic devolution in the 1979 referendum and the trauma of the miners’ strike of 1984-85.
In 1986, a paper produced by TV Executive Geraint Talfan Davies and Cardiff lawyer Keith James set out the case for ‘a body that can provide a regular intellectual challenge to current practice in all those spheres of Welsh life and administration that impact on its industrial and economic performance’. An initial £50,000 grant was provided by the Welsh Development Agency Chief Executive David Waterstone, and the Institute was incorporated on 22 July 1987.
The IWA’s first Chairman was Henry Kroch, President of AB Electronics; his Deputy Chairman was Sir Donald Walters, a prominent lawyer and businessman. Its Board of Trustees has always been drawn from across the full spectrum of civil society.
The think-tank was established as – and remains – an independent charity owing no allegiance to any political or economic interest group, and was the first think tank to develop on the basis of a membership model.
Until 1996 the IWA functioned as a purely voluntary body under the chairmanship of Geraint Talfan Davies. However, with a combination of funding from the WDA, the Hyder group and Sir Julian Hodge, the IWA was able to appoint a full-time Director that year. Journalist John Osmond oversaw the production of the IWA’s well-respected journal, Agenda, and a prodigious output of research and analysis.
Where is Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA)