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Gender Based Violence in Kenyan Universities

Faith Nafula WafulaGender based violence is a pandemic perpetrated mainly against women and children, resulting in physical, sexual, or psychological harm. The United States Agency for International Development and UNICEF research uncovers the following staggering statistics: Read more...

Moving into the Commonwealth Hub

5. Commonwealth House CROP BorderIt is often said that the Commonwealth and the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) within it must be continuously evolving to change with the times and to find new ways of working even more effectively to bring change to people’s lives. Read more...

Bringing the Family Together: Reflections on the RCS International Meeting

Colin Milner CW Voices As reported elsewhere on this website, the 2016 International Meeting of the RCS was held in London on 5-7 October (preceded by a two day youth programme on 3-4 October). I offer here some personal reflections on this event. Read more...

 

Lost at Sea: Efforts to Support Climate Change Refugees

Caitlin Brown CW VoicesOver the last century, climate change has increasingly come to the forefront of many political and public debates. One symptom of the increasing impact of climate change is the number of people who must flee their homes due to climate change making them uninhabitable. Read more...

 

Winners’ Week Day Three: The Big Day!

Outside Palace resizedWinners’ Week for The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2016 continues, with three action-packed days already completed and just one more to go. Day three brought with it perhaps the highlight of the whole week; a special Award Ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Read more...

Winners’ Week Day Two: A Journey across Genres

DSC 1041 croppedGauri Kumar, Esther Mungalaba, and Tan Wan Gee, three of the Winners and Runners-up of The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition today enjoyed the second day of Winners’ Week in London, learning about literature, print media, Parliament and more. Read more...

Winners’ Week is launched by pushing out the boat

Outside Marlborough house croppedThe week of 24-27 October is Winners’ Week for The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2016. Three of the Winners and Runners-up of this year’s competition will be exploring the cities of London and Cambridge through a series of educational and cultural visits, organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society and partners. Read more...

The Youth Meeting: The Future of the Commonwealth through our Lens

Gideon Commey blogThe 2016 International Meeting of the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) took place in London from 3rd-7th October. The meetings were hosted by High Commissions of various member countries and brought together members from RCS Branches and networks to share experiences and plan for the future. Read more...

The Victoria Cross and the Commonwealth

Tara FinnThe Victoria Cross (VC) is Britain’s highest award for gallantry. Of the 1,358 Victoria Crosses issued since 1856, over 600 were issued in the First World War. 175 of these were awarded to men from overseas. Of these, only 14 were not born in Britain or other parts of the Commonwealth. Read more...

 

Literacy, A Vital Skill for the Commonwealth

boy 921808 1920Today, 8 September, has been designated as International Literacy Day, the day when the world focuses its attention on this most basic of linguistic skills. Despite the inevitability with which most of the world views literacy, an estimated 760 million adults across the globe remain unable to read. Read more...

The Progressive Case for the Commonwealth

Mark Stanford Cw VoicesWhen Joseph Muscat, Malta’s Labour Prime Minister, attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2013, he expected ‘a condescending approach by… the British’. To his surprise, he found nothing of the sort. Read more...

 

Poverty: A Truly Pan-Commonwealth Problem

Philomena Taylor Cw VoicesFollowing her recent appointment as Secretary of State for International Development in Theresa May’s first government Priti Patel spoke about the need to tackle poverty across the developing world as one of the greatest challenges of our time. Read more...

 

Calling for a Commonwealth Consensus on Capital Punishment

Jeannine Bringmann CW Voices“The death penalty has no place in the 21st century”, declared UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon in 2014, calling on all countries to abolish this practice. Ironically, Amnesty International recorded the highest number of executions since 1989 the following year – 2015 saw the execution of 1,634 individuals. Read more...

Judging Panel for The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2016

Essay Competition panelIt is not often that six remarkable people gather in a room to discuss a body of young people’s writing. It is perhaps even less often that an adult defends the merits of an essay by admitting that it made her gasp. Read more...

 

Commonwealth Conversation: Brexit Challenges and Opportunities

EU Commonwealth for blogAfter a long campaign the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union through a historic referendum on 23rd June. The decision to leave will have ramifications for all aspects of UK policy and politics. Read more...

 

The RCS Welcomes new Foreign and Commonwealth Ministers

FCO 196x186The Royal Commonwealth Society welcomes the new appointments to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). The new Secretary of State, Boris Johnson has previously made a number of comments on Commonwealth affairs during his previous role as Mayor of London. Read more...

DFID can end Child Marriage by 2030. Here's how:

Rob HendersonI first started working on the issue of ending child marriage three years ago, supporting my colleagues through Parliamentary advocacy as we sought to highlight how the practice can be eliminated through working with children and their communities. Read more...

 

Girls' Education in the Commonwealth

Girls EducationThe Commonwealth is home to one third of the world’s population, and nearly two thirds of these individuals are under the age of 30.Therefore, it is reasonable to suggest that education is, or should be, a top priority for Commonwealth countries. Read more...

Peacekeeping and the Commonwealth

Peacekeeping menuThe 29th May is the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, a day designated to remember those who have lost their lives in the service of peacekeeping operations and pay tribute to those who have served and continue to serve in such missions. Read more...

Promoting Prosperity in the Commonwealth

Patricia Scotland at Inne temple SQUAREThe Royal Commonwealth Society and the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple hosted a seminar on the 18th April 2016 on the important topic of Promoting Prosperity in the Commonwealth. The keynote speaker was the Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. Read more...

 

‘A Commonwealth Toolkit for Policy Progress on LGBT Rights’ Report Launch

LGBT Toolkit resized blog imageThe Royal Commonwealth Society has launched a new report providing a range of good practice from policies that uphold the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) people around the Commonwealth. Read more...

 

The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition: My Journey of Judging

Sidra Zulfiqar CW VoicesI have been a part of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition for four years now. The past few years have posed many challenges for me and a lot has changed in my personal and professional lives. Amongst all these changes in a short span of time, one of the very few things that didn’t change was my association with The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition. Read more...

Young People Celebrate the Commonwealth from Wales to Westminster Abbey

CW schools V2 copyOn Monday, 14th March 2016 hundreds of British children joined the Royal Family, High Commissioners and specially invited guests in Westminster Abbey, London to celebrate Commonwealth Day at The Commonwealth Service. From Cardiff to Cambridge, London to Liverpool, children from across the UK united to learn about what it means to be part of An Inclusive Commonwealth. Read more...

Embracing an Inclusive Commonwealth

Lord Singh CW VoicesThe Commonwealth is a unique alliance of countries, once ruled by Britain and now united by a common desire to work together as equals with their former ruler. The word ‘Commonwealth’ is something of a contradiction as the countries involved are in markedly different stages of economic development with huge disparities in wealth. Read more...

Communicating in an Inclusive Commonwealth

Jan Sheldon CWDeaf people are often isolated both socially and within mainstream society. The majority of Deaf children are born to hearing parents and grow up in homes where not everyone uses a signed language. Further, few mainstream providers deliver services in a Deaf person’s first language, which in the UK, is usually British Sign Language (BSL). Read more...

Youth perspectives on 'An Inclusive Commonwealth'

Kishva CW VoicesOver the recent years, we have been experiencing a shift in the demographic profile of our populations, tilting towards favouring young people, and there are increasing concerted efforts to engage youth within socio-economic development. Read more...

 

Getting more Women into Science

Katherine Mathieson CW Voices copy11th February 2016 is the first ‘International Day of Women and Girls in Science’. It is in response to the persistent underrepresentation of women in science disciplines and careers. For example, a 2013 study found that in most countries, women published significantly fewer than half of all research papers. Read more...

Africa Question Time: Agency, Power, Past and Future

Africa Flags resizedAcross international politics, narratives and understandings of contemporary situations are constantly shifting and contested. In many ways, discussions of Africa exemplify this trend more than any other region. Read more...

 

What does Australia Day mean to you?

David Corbett blog picture copyTo me, Australia Day mainly means a day off at the beach with mates, probably enjoying a beer, a barbecue and having Triple J’s ‘Hottest 100’ playing on the radio in the background. In one sense, that’s about it - and that’s what I think is brilliant about it. Read on...

 

A week I will never forget

Nathan SwainI was so amazed when I heard that I was the Junior winner of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, and the prize was a trip to London for educational and cultural activities with many other exciting things to do. Read more...

 

 

 

5 Reasons why schools and youth groups should attend the Commonwealth Service 2016

Commonwealth in 2016This year on 14 March (Commonwealth Day), the Royal Commonwealth Society will be celebrating in Westminster Abbey with HM The Queen, High Commissioners, and specially invited guests, all in support of An Inclusive Commonwealth. This annual Service, formerly the Commonwealth Day Observance, sees nearly 1,000 young people attend. Read more...

The Commonwealth in 2016

Commonwealth Secretariat Logo No WordsAs a New Year dawns there is much to reflect on and look ahead to in the Commonwealth. In this blog we look at the themes and events that will shape 2016. Read more...

 

Promoting Gender Equality at the CHOGM Youth Forum

Jacob Thomas CWAs a member of the Commonwealth Youth and Gender Equality Network (CYGEN) I chose to take part in the Social Agenda working group at the CHOGM Youth Forum in Malta. The priority for me was to ensure that matters relating to gender equality and young people – all young people and people of all gender identities – are immersed deeply into the outcomes and recommendations of the Youth Forum. Read more...

A Winner’s Perspective: Paraschos Cant Describes His Experience in London for The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition

Paraschos Cant copyI was very excited to learn I was senior winner in the 2015 essay competition and the prize – a ‘winner’s week’ in London – proved I was right to be! The RCS arranged not only a very interesting week leading up to the ceremony in Buckingham Palace, but also a rewarding collection of experiences that I think will prove important in my future. Read more... 

Commonwealth Posts Come Together for the First Time

Maxine Cannon CW VoicesIt was an ambition come true for me and the Isle of Man Stamps & Coins division of Isle of Man Post Office to produce a sheet of stamps featuring 27 postal administrations within the Commonwealth. Read more...

 

 

CHOGM 2015: Did it Add Global Value?

CHOGMlogoCROPFrom the 21st to the 29th November the Commonwealth descended on Malta for the 24th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. As Leaders, Ministers, civil society, business people, youth leaders and officials return home there will be much reflection. Read more...

Launch of the Commonwealth Oral Histories Project

Sue Onslow CW65 major interviews with leading figures in the recent history of the Commonwealth are now available online, hosted by the School of Advanced Study. This major project is an essential research tool for anyone investigating the history of the Commonwealth. Read more...

 

China, Commonwealth, and Trade - A New Phase Opens

Lord Howell blogI want us to be nothing less than the modern world’s most open, trade-minded nation. To do that, we must tap into markets outside Europe; to look to the Commonwealth and beyond. Read more...

 

Out of the Blue – Judging Day

OoTB for blog menuThe Out of the Blue competition received a staggering number of photographs of great diversity, both thematically and geographically. We received images from all over the Commonwealth, of all different subjects and with many interesting stories. Read more...

Hosting the Commonwealth Equality Network

Blog The Commonwealth Equality Network copyThe Commonwealth is a network of diversity. From the difference in size between the giant of India and the tiny Nauru to the multitude of religions and cultures that Commonwealth people follow, the Commonwealth binds all together. Read more...

 

Adding Global Value: Women’s Views on CHOGM

Womens View to CHOGMThis month the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Royal Over-Seas League convened the panel discussion, ‘Adding Global Value: Women’s Views on CHOGM’.  It was chaired by Catherine Mayer, founder of the Women’s Equality Party and brought together female leaders to discuss issues affecting women throughout the Commonwealth. Read more...

Winners' Week Days Three and Four - #CWEssayComp 2015

20151015 153440 CROPOn Wednesday, after two days taking part in very London-centred activities, it was a refreshing change for the Winners, Runners-Up and their families to visit the city of Cambridge.

Read more... 

 

 

Winners' Week Day Two - #CWEssayComp 2015

IMG 0037day2 2015CROPsquare2Joining the rush of morning commuters, Paraschos, Tawanda, Nathan and Martina kick-started their Tuesday by making their way to Westminster for a walking tour of the UK’s Houses of Parliament. Read more...  

 

 

Winners' Week Day One - #CWEssayComp 2015

Winnersweek1Today we were delighted to welcome to London the Winners and Runners-Up of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2015. Read more ... 

 

 

 

Sri Lankan General Elections: What was missing?

CW Voices Chapa PereraIt is generally opined that Sri Lankan politics had its phoenix moment as the presidential election came to pass earlier this year; and as a young person living in Sri Lanka, I consider it a privilege to have witnessed and to have been a part of that ‘democratic revolution’. Read more...

 

Aboriginal Health and Well-being: A Canadian Example

Michelle Amri CW Voices copyThe Commonwealth hosts a multitude of countries that each face unique challenges. Some Commonwealth countries, such as Australia and Canada, are comprised of many people of varying backgrounds, including Aboriginals, that interplay to create a distinctive society and culture. Read more...

 

 

Talking Atrocities and Addressing Insecurity

Kigali Genocide memorial CROP ResizeAt the recent 'A View to CHOGM' event convened by the Royal Commonwealth Society, a prominent panellist described an 'arc of conflict' stretching from North Africa to Eastern Ukraine. In the midst of these conflicts civilians are frequently targeted in massacres and acts of terrorism. Read on...

Commonwealth Secretary-General Leadership Race

Marlborough HouseA recent discussion convened by the Royal Commonwealth Society, ‘A View to CHOGM’ drew attention to the election of a new Commonwealth Secretary-General in November. It highlighted the need and desire amongst the Commonwealth community to establish a clear set of qualities that a new Secretary-General should possess in order to lead a contemporary Commonwealth. Read more...

Preventing Child Marriage in the Commonwealth: New report by the RCS and Plan UK

CCEM child marriage report launchChild marriage has gained significant traction in the international community in recent years. It is now globally recognized as a harmful practice, a human rights violation, a development inhibitor, and a consequence and a cause of negative social norms. Read more...

 

 

1215 to 2015: Magna Carta Celebrates 800 Years

1215 Today resized copyMonday 15th June 2015, marked the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta by King John at Runnymede in 1215. Over the centuries Magna Carta has gained huge symbolic influence being, for many the foundation of their constitution and the basis of their rule of law. Read more...

Reflections on CYGEN: What does the Facebook generation really have to offer?

Milena Bacalja“Human rights are not a gift or charity. No one is giving you anything.” On the first day of a gathering of youth experts from around the world these words permeate through a room of passionate, youth activists. Read more...

 

 

The UK General Elections: A View through the Commonwealth's Lens

Mahua Moitra copyWe arrived in the UK on 2nd May, 22 parliamentarians and officials from 12 Commonwealth nations, to be a part of the second Election Assessment Mission of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK and observe the UK’s electoral process and make recommendations. Read more...

 

Final day of CYGEN

EstherandAnokahThe final day of the Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network (CYGEN) forum saw the culmination of 5 days of hard work from young experts from 22 countries. Read more... 

 

 

 

Day Three and Four: CYGEN

KemiDays three and four of the Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network Forum kicked off with high profile speakers on gender in the Commonwealth. Read more... 

 

 

 

Day Two: CYGEN

AlistairStewartDay two of the Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network launch forum saw some more in depth discussions, drawing on learning from day one, but also incorporating new perspectives. Read more... 

 

 

Launch Day: Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network

CYGENblog1Today we launched the Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network (CYGEN), the first youth network in the Commonwealth dedicated to working towards gender equality. Read more... 

 

 

 

Migration in the Mediterranean Region and Policy Implications

Bobby Brooks blog post Commonwealth VoicesThe UK’s The Telegraph newspaper has reported 1,750 people as having died attempting to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea by boat this year. Read more... 

 

 

The Commonwealth's Call to Duty

Tim Hewish CW VoicesThe Commonwealth and global security concerns are scarcely mentioned together and yet they share a strong heritage and the latter increasingly affects these nations in the modern day. That is why we at Commonwealth Exchange produced the report: The Commonwealth’s Call to Duty whose foreword was written by Rt. Hon Dr Liam Fox MP. Read more...

2015 General Elections in Nigeria

Prince Musa CW VoicesThe 2015 general elections in Nigeria started gradually from the beginning of last year 2014. Fourteen political parties participated in the election. The presidential and National Assembly election was to take place on February 11th 2015 but was postponed to March 28th 2015. Read more...

 

 

What it Takes to Lead the Commonwealth

Marlborough HouseA recent meeting convened by the Royal Commonwealth Society drew attention to an important, but largely unrecognised, Commonwealth event. In November, as part of a broader agenda, the Heads of Member States will consider candidates to succeed HE Kamalesh Sharma as Secretary General. Read more...

Remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew: Rage against the dying of the light

Selina XuLast week,  Mr Lee Kuan Yew, first Prime Minister of Singapore, died at the age of 91. Selina Xu from Singapore, Senior Runner-up of the 2014 essay competition, writes about his legacy. Read more... 

 

 

Collaboration and Consensus: New report on LGBT Rights in the Commonwealth

Collaboration Over the past ten years calls to improve the rights and opportunities of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people have increased globally. Commonwealth member states have come under particular scrutiny for their treatment of LGBT people. Read more...

Junior Runner-up of the essay competition blogs about winners' week

Leah Annia Plante WienerOn the 1st of May 2015, The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition will close for entry. Commonwealth young people enter each year in the hope to being one of the overall winners and experience winners’ week in London as Leah Annia did last November. Read more...

 

 

Nobel Peace Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi calls for a Commonwealth free from child slavery

WA CWD15 21CROP.RESIZEEarlier today, Her Majesty The Queen and Their Royal Highnesses The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duchess of Cambridge marked Commonwealth Day in Westminster Abbey.

The Observance marked the launch of the 2015 Commonwealth theme ‘A Young Commonwealth’. Read on and watch the video

 

Commonwealth Youth – Next Generation Stewards for the Oceans?

Barkha MossaeOne could almost be forgiven for thinking that we currently live in the era of the ‘big’ judging from the number of analyses devoted to big players on the world stage, ranging from the rise of giants such as China and India to the “lions on the move”, the African continent; from financial institutions which ought to be ‘too big to fail’ to trans-national corporations whose value chains span several countries. Read more...

Health and Social Care in the Commonwealth

Martin Green CW Voices copyWe are all lucky as members of the Commonwealth to share the same core values and to be part of an organisation that is about mutuality and support in times of challenge and need, as well as in times of celebration and joy. One of the most outstanding things about the Commonwealth of Nations is our openness to share our experiences and learn from them. Read more...

Senior Runner-up of the essay competition: the unique experience of winners’ week

Selina XuIn September 2014, Selina Xu was announced to be the Senior Runner-up of the Commonwealth Essay Competition. In November, she travelled to London for a week of activities that culminated in the Award Ceremony. Read more...  

 

 

Magna Carta to Commonwealth Charter Conference Day 3

CW Voices Julia BeckThe final day of CPA UK’s conference ‘Human Rights in the Modern Day Commonwealth: Magna Carta to Commonwealth Charter’ saw the current leaders and legislators of the Commonwealth arguing issues morality and human rights with those of the future. The parliamentarian participants and Commonwealth Scholars debated the motion ‘Can you legislate for a moral issue?’ Read more...

Magna Carta to Commonwealth Charter Conference Day 2

CW Voices Julia BeckYesterday UK Commonwealth Minister Rt Hon. Hugo Swire MP opened day two of CPA UK’s Magna Carta to Commonwealth Charter conference. He stressed that whilst the Commonwealth Charter built on Magna Carta to improve the lives of Commonwealth citizens and protect their rights, the Commonwealth community can and should do more. Read more...

Magna Carta to Commonwealth Charter Conference Day 1

CW Voices Julia Beck Last night, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) UK’s conference ‘Magna Carta to Commonwealth Charter: Human Rights in the Modern Day Commonwealth’ opened with a lecture delivered by Rt Hon. John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons and Rt Hon. Baroness Scotland of Asthal, former Attorney-General on the modern legacy of Magna Carta. Read more...

The Trial of a Former Child Soldier

LRA Blog Pic for WebA few days ago a former commander in the notorious Ugandan armed group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) appeared before a Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands, following his capture in the Central African Republic. The challenge the ICC will face in trying Dominic Ongwen is that he is a former child soldier. Read more...

Max de Bourcier's visit to London for the essay competition winners' week

Commonwealth Voices Max de BourcierMax de Bourcier, Junior Winner of the Commonwealth Essay Competition 2014, took part in winner’s week in November. Read more...  

 

 

action/2015 Launch: 15 January 2015

action2015 SQUaction/2015 is a global campaign calling for concrete actions and ambitious agreements for people and the planet in 2015. On 15th January, action/2015 will launch its international awareness campaign to mobilise and empower the public around the world, and help ensure their voices are heard on the post-2015 development agenda. 

Read on... 

The Commonwealth in 2015

Mike and Dr Joseph Musct Commonwealth in 2015 Crop2015 is set to be a busy and important year for the Commonwealth. Our blog takes a look at the big events coming up. Read more...

 

 

 

Opportunity for Schools and Youth Groups to attend the Commonwealth Day Observance at Westminster Abbey!

Observance 2015 08.01.2015 We’re looking for 1,000 young people who would like to attend the Commonwealth Day Observance at Westminster Abbey on 9th March to help celebrate A Young Commonwealth. Read more...

 

 

6th Commonwealth Youth Parliament

MeeraThe 6th Commonwealth Youth Parliament, organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. titled “Deepening the Commonwealth’s Commitment to Democracy and Youth Development” was held in the rural provincial North West legislature in South Africa in November 2014. Read more...

 

 

Essay Competition winner recalls her experience of winners' week

Raniya HosainIn November 2014, Raniya Hosain, Senior Winner of the 2014 Commonwealth Essay Competition was invited by the Royal Commonwealth Society to attend the winners’ week in London along with the other winners of the competition.  She recalls her once in a lifetime experience. Read more...

 

Human Rights 365

human rights 36510th December marks Human Rights Day, set aside annually to mark the date on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. This year, the theme of Human Rights Day is ‘Human Rights 365’, reflecting that whilst it is important to mark the anniversary of the adoption of the UDHR, its relevance lies in its application every day of the year, for all citizens of the world, without exception or preference. Read more...

Civil Society Week: What does Civil Society mean to the RCS?

Title Wordcloud Civil Society edited Last week was international civil society week. This initiative, championed by Civicus, seeks to ‘connect the forces that nurture positive social change, share the tools that enhance citizen action, and celebrate inspiring examples of people power’. Read More...

Winners’ Week Day Four - #CWEssayComp

Visit to the RCS archivesAfter a busy week of activities, meetings and a visit to Buckingham Palace, Thursday was the concluding day of an exciting week for the Winners and Runners-up of the Commonwealth Essay Competition 2014.

Leaving the hustle and bustle of central London behind, the young writers boarded a morning train to Cambridge, where they would be spending the day with competition partner, Cambridge University Press. Read more...

Winners' Week Day Three- CWEssayComp

IJP 19 11 14 RCS 021cropThroughout Winners’ Week anticipation had been building for Wednesday, when HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, on behalf of HM The Queen, Patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society, would host a Reception at Buckingham Palace in honour of this year’s winners. Read more...

Winners' Week Day Two - #CWEssayComp

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Visit to the Houses of Parliament - Day Two

Tuesday was a wet and windy start to the second day of Winners’ Week, but the damp London weather did nothing to discourage this year’s Commonwealth Essay Competition Winners and Runners-up, who were up bright and early for a tour of the UK Parliament, Westminster. Read more...

Winners' Week Day One - #CWEssayComp

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Writing Workshop, Day One

On Monday 17th November, we were delighted to welcome the Winners and Runners-up of the Commonwealth Essay Competition 2014 to the Royal Commonwealth Society offices in Victoria, London. Read more...

One Million One Hundred Thousand

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Today, we mark the centenary of the First World War, and remember all of those who gave their lives in combat. On this day it is important to highlight the value of the contribution of soldiers from across the Commonwealth who fought in WWI. Over 1,100,000 Commonwealth soldiers died fighting in the war. Today is a day to pay homage to their memory and to acknowledge that many of them died fighting based far from home. This makes their sacrifice all the greater. Read more...

Review: How to Solve a Problem like a Visa

Menu Image Visa Blog 06 11 14

 

The Commonwealth prides itself on its familial relations, its shared language and its common history and values. Across the Commonwealth, organisations have a chance to draw on these links to build consensus and share good practice. Read More...

Sharing Canada's anguish - How to evaluate Oct 22 shooting events in Ottawa

Diane WalshAs Canadians, on most people's minds is that a member of our Armed Forces, Corporal Nathan Cirillo, has been killed at the War Memorial only steps away from Parliament Hill. The Sergeant at Arms, Kevin Vickers, shot and killed the armed man inside Centre Block. The gunman's name was Michael Bibeau-Zehaf, also known to police as, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. Read more...

 

Blog Action Day: Inequality and the Commonwealth

BlogGlobalDay 2014 BlogThe name of the ‘Common-wealth' suggests from the outset that those within enjoy equality or a mutual stake in its resources. The topic of ‘inequality’ provides an opportunity to examine whether this name truly reflects that assumption. The Commonwealth of Nations is over 60 years old and made up of formal political members and 2.2 billion citizens whom they represent. Read more...

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, Cameroon: Parliaments and the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Commonwealth Voices Blog Baroness HooperThe Commonwealth is an association of nations that links fifty-three sovereign states, six continents, and one third of the world’s population. Despite the vast dichotomies in geography, economy and culture, one characteristic of the Commonwealth that never fails to amaze me is that whenever its citizens convene they always find that they have more in common than separating them. Read more...

International Day of the Girl 2014: Continuing the Fight to End Child Marriage

International Day of the Girl 2014 BlogThe Royal Commonwealth Society became a member of Girls Not Brides in September this year. Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of more than 400 civil society organisations from over 60 countries working to address child marriage. Members are based throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas and are united by a commitment to end child marriage and enable girls to fulfil their potential. Read more...

Setting the Commonwealth on the Road to Succeed in Life

Common Voices Usman Ali BlogI recently attended the 33Fifty Programme where Ahmed Adamu, Chair of the Commonwealth Youth Council, was speaking. He talked about an issue which interests me very much and is close to my heart. Ahmed told the audience that the biggest issue affecting young people right across the Commonwealth today is employment. Read more...

The Fiji Elections: Observations from Nausori

Commonwealth Voices Fiji Election ObservationI'm a politician who loves election days – the campaigning stops and voters make their choice at the ballot box – but on the 17 September I swapped my rosette for a ‘high-vis’ jacket with ‘Observer’ on the back. My job was not to persuade people who to vote for, but to watch the election process as Fiji went to the polls for the first time since the 2006 coup. Read more...

World Leaders Gather to Discuss Climate Change

Climate change summit blog photoGlobal leaders gathered in New York on Tuesday, ahead of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly, to discuss arguably the pre-eminent question facing the world – how to tackle climate change? The UN Climate Summit 2014 in New York followed demonstrations on the weekend, with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets, from Manhattan to Melbourne to Mumbai, calling on leaders to take bold action to curb climate change. Read more...

Scotland votes No to Independence but says Yes to Greater Democratic Debate

Scotland Blog Referendum Sep 2014 Blog picIn a week of democratic decisions in the Commonwealth, the most headline grabbing has been the Scottish Independence Referendum. On Thursday the 18th September the Scottish people voted in a historic referendum to decide whether Scotland should have split from the United Kingdom to become an independent country. After a dynamic campaign, 55% of voters chose to vote no to independence and thus in favour of remaining in the union. Read more...

The Power of the Vote: Fiji, New Zealand and the Scottish Independence Referendum

The power of the voteThe first lines of Article One of the Commonwealth Charter read, “We recognise the inalienable right of individuals to participate in democratic processes, in particular through free and fair elections in shaping the society in which they live.” The free ability of Commonwealth citizens to meaningfully participate in the political shaping of their society is central to the values of the Commonwealth. Read more...

Ebola Crisis

Ebola Crisis BlogThe Royal Commonwealth Society has just met with Sierra Leonean and Liberian diaspora groups to discuss the outbreak of the Ebola virus, which in the last two months has had a devastating impact in West Africa. Around 2,300 people have died so far this year in the worst Ebola outbreak on record which has mostly affected Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, although cases have also been found in Nigeria and Senegal. Read more...

Judging Day Blog - A View from the Chair

Vicki Weinand BlogThe results of the 2014 Commonwealth Essay Competition were announced on the 9th September 2014, and we asked Vicki Wienand, Chair of both the Junior and Senior Judging Panels, to share her thoughts on the judging process and this year's top entries.

As I make my way to the aptly named Award House, The Royal Commonwealth Society’s headquarters in London, I muse on the task ahead. The 131st Commonwealth Essay Competition has attracted over 9,500 entries this year. Approximately 60 volunteer judges have spent hours reading and assessing their batch of essays and today it is up to the judging panels to decide on the winner and runner up in each category. Read more...

Reconciliation Inspired by Young People

Lockie Cooke BlogOver the years of immersing myself on the road to reconciliation in my hometown Perth, Western Australia I have had the good fortune to connect with many amazing Indigenous and Non-indigenous people. This has built my level of understanding on how we can best create the right ecology for healing our histories and progressing forward with equity and mutual respect. Read More...

Ugandan Court Invalidates Anti-Gay Law

Ugandan Court Invalidates Anti Gay Law BlogThe Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014 has grown in notoriety from its tabling in Parliament to its passing this year. But only a few weeks ago the bill was declared null and void by the Ugandan Constitutional Court who cited procedural problems in the passing of the law. The original bill first became infamous for including the death penalty as punishment for some homosexual acts. Read more...

The Commonwealth Games as a platform for equality, development and youth

Carl Konadu Blog PostThe XX Commonwealth Games 2014 took place in Glasgow, Scotland from July 23rd through to August 2nd, in what has been described as ‘The best games ever’ by the Commonwealth Games Federation. With a record-breaking 50,811 applicants, over 15,000 ‘Clydesiders’ were accepted as volunteers for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games along with 3,000 dancers on the stage of the Opening Ceremony. Read more...

Commonwealth Business Council is dead: will a bankable entity arise?

Commonwealth Voices Ronald Sanders BlogIIAmid the success of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland, there has been a troubling development for the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) went into liquidation. CBC was mandated by a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in another Scottish City, Edinburgh, in 1997. Read more...

33Fifty a ‘great experience’ for young leaders from across the Commonwealth

33Fifty Blog CoverYoung leaders from around the Commonwealth gathered in Scotland for the RCS and Common Purpose’s 33Fifty – The Commonwealth Young Leadership Programme. Almost 100 participants from 31 Commonwealth countries were present for an inspirational 4-day experience. Read more...

The Commonwealth Games go from Glasgow to the Gold Coast

Commonwealth Games 2014 CoverThe XX Commonwealth Games are now over and Glasgow has handed the ‘baton’ over to the Gold Coast in Australia, who will be hosting the XXI Games in 2018. Read more...

Team Commonwealth – Celebrating the Values of the Commonwealth Games

Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 BlogThe XX Commonwealth Games, hosted in Glasgow, have officially come to an end after 11 days of strong and friendly competition. Seventy-one Commonwealth teams participated in this year’s Games, with over 4,900 athletes competing in 17 different sports. Values of unity, teamwork, discipline and effort were on display in Glasgow, as athletes from around the Commonwealth competed to their best ability in front of thousands of spectators. 
Read more...

The Achievement of the Girl Summit

Girl Summit 2014 Blog Post CoverThe Girl Summit took place on 22nd July, fittingly, in a school with a student population from diverse backgrounds in South East London. The Summit aimed to mobilise efforts to end female genital mutilation / cutting (FGM/C) and child and forced marriage (CFM) within a generation. Read more...

How successful have Commonwealth nations been in reaching the Millennium Development Goals?

Commonwealth Voices Spencer Harvey BlogThe 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which were established by the United Nations to address internationally pressing development issues – is fast approaching. The eight goals set were: 1) eradicate poverty and hunger, 2) achieve universal primary education, 3) promote gender equality and empower women, 4) reduce child mortality, 5) improve maternal health, 6) combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, 7) ensure environmental sustainability, and 8) develop a global partnership for development. Read more...

The issue: Abuse of domestic workers in Malaysia

Commonwealth Voices Elaine Sim IIII was born and raised in Malaysia until I was 19 years old. For the majority of my childhood, I had maids in my household to help out with daily chores such as cooking and cleaning, caring for young children and the elderly. The use of domestic workers is particularly common in Malaysia by lower and upper middle class families; sometimes due to necessity (for households with two working parents) but largely due to the affordability and availability of these services. Read more...

Can aid donors help support LGBT rights in developing countries?

Can aid donors help support LGBT rights in developing countries CoverThe issue of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender rights is a contentious one in the world. In recent years homophobic trends in countries such as Nigeria, India and Russia have triggered a hostile reaction from the USA and western allies. In particular Uganda’s anti-homosexual act and the United States’ resulting cuts to aid, cancelation of military exercises and restrictions on visas for certain Ugandans have exacerbated a debate which was already polarised. Read more...

On Ending Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage in a Generation

Girl Summit 2014 CoverOn 22nd July the UK government and UNICEF will hold the Girl Summit, aimed at mobilising efforts to end female genital mutilation / cutting (FGM/C) and child and forced marriage (CFM) within a generation. The Home Secretary Theresa May and Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening will host the event. Read more...

 

Judging Begins for the Commonwealth Essay Competition 2014

Commonwealth Essay Competition 2014 first stage of the judging process Cover.jpgAs in previous years, the 2014 Commonwealth Essay Competition run by the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) has been a great success. Over 8,000 young people have participated in the world’s oldest and largest schools’ international writing competition this year. The chosen theme for this year was ‘Team Commonwealth’, directly linked to the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which take place this July. Read more...

RCS Condemns Assaults on Press Freedom

RCS Condemns Assaults on Press Freedom CoverOn Monday 23rd June, the world was shocked by an Egyptian court’s decision to hand down substantial jail terms to three Al Jazeera journalists detained in the country. Australian journalist Peter Greste and Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohamed Adel Fahmy were given seven-year terms for ‘broadcasting false reports’ and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. Read more...

 

The Legal and Judicial Legacies of Empire

The Legal and Judicial Legacies of Empire CoverThe experience and legacy of the British Empire is central to the shared history of the Commonwealth. With a few exceptions almost all member states were either colonies or protectorates of the British Empire at some point. Understanding this legacy is crucial as the Commonwealth continuously adapts. With a strong emphasis on the rule of law in the Commonwealth Charter, an understanding of the ‘Legal and Judicial Legacies of Empire’ is of crucial importance. Read more...

Day Three of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict

Day Three of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict CoverThe final day of the fringe at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict saw discussions on the Post-2015 agenda, a screening of Angelina Jolie’s recent film In the Land of Blood and Honey, and a performance of the play written for Human Rights Watch: Breaking The Silence. Lynne Featherstone, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development, announced the UK government’s support for a target on ending violence against women and girls. Read more...

Day Two of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict

End Sexual Violence Summit Day TwoDay two of the Global Summit had all of the buzz and excitement of the first day, but with a greater air of steely determination and getting down to business. The Department for International Development launched their new 5-year programme: ‘What Works in Preventing Violence against Women and Girls?’, pledging £25 million towards research in a number of African countries. Read more...

Day One of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict

End Sexual Violence Summit Day OneThe fringe is an incredible array of performance, art installations, silent cinema, intense discussion, research exhibitions, artisanal goods, people and presentations. The free event at London´s ExCeL saw politicians,journalists, NGOs and members of the public from the UK and around the world convene to browse the exhibits, attend events and participate in the largest event of its kind ever staged. Read more...

New Leader for World's Largest Democracy

ResizedImage218186 Narendra Modi IIOn Monday, Narendra Modi will be sworn in as Prime Minister of India, following the biggest elections in history. The Bharatiya Janata Party has won an outright majority for the first time in India's 543-seat Lok Sabha - the lower house of Parliament - with 282 seats. It displaces the Congress Party, which has ruled for over three decades. What does this striking change mean for India? Read more...

Shivani Wazir Pasrich, RCS Asia Regional Co-ordinator, on the Indian Election

ResizedImage196186 Shivani Wazir Pasrich CROP IINarendra Modi has run a successful campaign that has reached out broadly across India. Despite this, he has managed to maintain a solid local support base in the state of Gujurat, where he previously served as Chief Minister. He was so confident in his reputation that he actively chose not to campaign there, however his commitment to Gujarat was evident in his choice to make his first speech there after the election, and in his decision to fly back home to Gujarat to recharge during his campaign. Read more...

Brunei: a Looming Issue for the Commonwealth?

Beverly Hills City Council IWith the Beverly Hills City Council condemning the Sultan of Brunei for introducing Sharia Law in the country, and a mass celebrity-led exodus from the Sultan’s Beverly Hills Hotel, the issue has come to the forefront of the news in recent days. The penal code violates a number of human rights – including the right to privacy, equality before the law, and to freedom from arbitrary arrest, with stoning to death constituting torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Read more...

Safeguarding the right to education in Nigeria

Safeguarding the right to education in Nigeria IIToday, the shocking news has been revealed that in addition to the 270 girls taken by Boko Haram in the northern Nigerian state of Borno three weeks ago, a further eight girls have been abducted. This week, their leader Abubakar Shekau addressed the world on camera to accept responsibility for the kidnapping.    Read more...

Commonwealth Secretariat response to RCS report on recent human rights summit

Commonwealth Secretariat response to RCS report on recent human rights summitOur approach at The Commonwealth Secretariat regarding human rights issues is to build sustainable national traction in a climate of trust and mutual respect, especially in supporting the establishment, operationalization and strengthening of national human rights institutions, a key component of a national human rights protection system. Read more...

Rwanda- Twenty years on

Rwanda Twenty years onLast Monday the world remembered one of the most terrible events of the late 20th Century. The date marked 20 years since the start of the Rwandan genocide when in just 100 days approximately 800,000 ethnic Tutsi and their Hutu and Twa sympathisers were massacred. It was a massacre where neighbour turned on neighbour and basic weapons including machetes and clubs were used with devastating effect.                 Read more...

Global Coalition to End Child Marriage Launched

Global Coalition to End Child Marriage LaunchedThe UN Special Envoy on Global Education, Gordon Brown, yesterday launched the Worldwide Emergency Coalition for Education, calling for an end to child marriage, child labour, discrimination against girls and exclusion from education. The Commonwealth includes four of the top ten countries with the highest prevalence of early and forced marriage globally, despite statements from Heads of Government to combat this practice. Read more...

Baroness Warsi on Human Rights in the Commonwealth

Baroness Warsi on Human Rights in the Commonwealth IVBaroness Warsi was scheduled to address guests at the Royal Commonwealth Society's event on 'The Commonwealth and Human Rights' on the 24th of March 2014. Unfortunately she was unable to attend owing to parliamentary business, but was kind enough to allow us to publish the speech that she was going to deliver at the event. I am delighted to welcome you all to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Read more...

What are the Commonwealth's Human Rights Priorities?

What are the Commonwealths Human Rights PrioritiesAn event on human rights, held at the Foreign Office, and including eminent speakers from across the Commonwealth and with a range of policy backgrounds, is always going to be popular. Last night’s occasion ticked these boxes, sporting a full house from academia, government and civil society who all came with serious questions about the role of the Commonwealth in pushing forward a human rights agenda. Read more...

Around the World in Commonwealth Week

Around the World in Commonwealth WeekCommonwealth Week saw celebrations across the regions of the Commonwealth, with many RCS branches organising observance ceremonies, receptions and round-table discussions. The week provided the opportunity for all the branches to reflect on the theme for 2014, 'Team Commonwealth', New Zealand, Dominican Republic, Australia, Hong Kong, Cameroon, Canada, Jersey, Mauritius and Nigeria. Read more...

Glasgow Games 2014: Investing, Empowering and Believing in People

Glasgow Games 2014 Investing Empowering and Believing in PeopleIn Glasgow we realise that the Games gives us an opportunity to be ambitious. There are 2.3 billion people in the Commonwealth, and 1.2 billion of them are young people. We need to be investing, valuing and believing in them, empowering them. It hardly seems possible that almost two years have passed since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It was an unforgettable time where we had the chance to witness and reflect upon the power of sport. Read more...

Royal Visit to open Award House marks New Beginnings

Royal Visit to open Award House marks New BeginningsOn Wednesday 12 March we received a special visit to our new offices from Her Majesty The Queen, and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. Her Majesty listened to a presentation on our education programmes, met a former Essay Competition winner, and took the time to talk to all of the staff. The occasion was a joint visit to their respective charities as we are now co-habiting with the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation. Read more...

Comments by Lord Howell, President of the Royal Commonwealth Society, at the High Commissioners’ Banquet

Comments by Lord Howell President of the Royal Commonwealth Society at the High Commissioners Banquet"2014 is a year in which we re-establish our position as champion of the value of the Commonwealth to the individual, the communities and the wide variety of the nations and states that give this family its enduring strength and to the values, as enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter, that underpin the Association." Read more...

Malala Yousafzai gives an Impassioned Address at Commonwealth Day Observance

Malala Yousafzai gives an Impassioned Address at Commonwealth Day ObservanceEarlier today, Her Majesty The Queen and Their Royal Highnesses The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Earl and The Countess of Wessex marked Commonwealth Day in Westminster Abbey.

The Observance launched the 2014 Commonwealth theme ‘Team Commonwealth’. Read more...

Bath Literature Festival Hosts Vanessa Able

Bath Literature Festival Hosts Vanessa AbleA reception was hosted by the Bath and District Branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society at the Bath Literature Festival. Vanessa Able discussed her brilliant debut travelogue, based on her 10,000 kilometre drive across India in the world’s cheapest car. The event was attended by a number of branch members who were able to meet her afterwards. Read more...

Hugo Swire reflects on Team Commonwealth

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“Team Commonwealth” expresses perfectly the real spirit of friendship, unity and of working towards the shared goals and values that are at the heart of the Commonwealth. We are a unique, hugely diverse team - but therein lays our strength.

Singer-songwriter Laura Mvula to perform at Commonwealth Day Observance 2014

Laura Mvula

We are excited to announce that Laura Mvula will perform at the Commonwealth Day Observance on Monday 10th March.

Reception in Melbourne for 2013 Commonwealth Essay Competition award winners

Cocktail Reception Feb 2014

Left to right: Mr. Lloyd Byrne, President RCS Victoria; Catherine Hronakis (Sr Silver award); Mrs. Inga Peulich, MLA and Parliamentary Secretary for Education in the Coalition Victorian Government; Freya Boltman (Jr Bronze award); Monica Elliott (Sr Bronze award)

Courts, Criminals and Constitutional Rights

Manak Matiyani, a young activist and RCS Networker in India, gives his views on the recent recriminalisation of homosexuality.

Nova Scotia's Essay Award winner

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On Friday Feb 7th the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia received Miss Elizabeth Waye and her family for Morning High Tea at Government House to recognize Elizabeth's Bronze Award in the 2013 RCS Essay Contest. Attached please find a photo of Miss Waye and His Honour, Brigadier General J.J. Grant. 

Commonwealth Teacher Exchange Programme 2014–15 for Canada and Australia

Teacher exchange 2012

Australian and Canadian teachers and their families meeting up at the Commonwealth Day Observance at Westminster Abbey.

Opportunity for professional development internationally!

Are you a UK teacher looking for professional and personal development in an international setting? Is your school interested in receiving an exchange teacher from Canada or Australia on a reciprocal post-to-post basis? 

Applications for 2014-15 academic year are being accepted on a rolling basis until Friday 28th February 2014. Please submit your application as soon as possible.

The RCS in Hong Kong AGM

RCS Hong Kong AGM 2014

RCS in Hong Kong AGM, 23rd January 2014

On 23 January 2014, the Royal Commonwealth Society in Hong Kong held its 31st AGM. The Chairman, Mrs Joan Campbell, reported that 2012 had been a very fruitful year given regular lunch meetings with interesting guest speakers and other events.

Young New Zealanders meet with CPA Chair

CYNZ meeting with Sir Alan

Back row L to R Dean Jackson [2013 SCHOGM Secretary-General], Katherine McIndoe, Cassandra Shih [Policy Intern BHC], Yvonne Davidis [BHC], Darryl Stevens, Rt Hon Sir Alan Haselhurst MP, Aaron Hape, HE Vicki Treadell. Front row L to R, Chloe Oldfield, Sandra Ivanov, Christian Hermansen.

Commonwealth leaders united recently in Wellington, New Zealand, for the 22nd Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC). The host and Speaker of New Zealand’s Parliament, David Carter, opened the meeting under the theme of keeping Parliament and politics relevant in a digital age.

Seb Coe and Tanni Grey-Thompson to speak at Commonwealth Day Observance

Seb Coe and Tanni Grey Thompson to speak at Commonwealth Day ObservanceWe are delighted to announce that Lord Coe, one of Britain's most celebrated middle-distance runners, Executive Chairman of CSM Sport and Entertainment and Chairman of the British Olympic Association, and Baroness Grey-Thompson, one of Britain's greatest paralympic athletes and crossbench peer, will speak at the Commonwealth Day Observance on Monday 10th March. Read more...

Latest 33Fifty Baton Book message: QBR reaches Tanzania

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UNICEF child advocate Abu Bakar is the latest to write his message in the Baton Book.

Tanzanian Abu Bakar is the latest young person to sign the 33Fifty Baton Book. At a reception held by the British High Commissioner H.E. in Dar es Salaam on Saturday 18 January 2014, Abu spoke about the violence he has witnessed against children in his community. 

An evening of celebration in Seychelles

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Seychelles’ Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam with award winners of the 2013 Commonwealth Essay Competiton

Recipients of gold, silver and bronze awards for the 2013 Commonwealth Essay Competition were celebrated in Seychelles alongside the arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay.

33Fifty Baton Book advances on its 190,000km journey

33Fifty Baton Book advances on its 190000km journeyThe Baton Book, an initiative promoting the 33Fifty Commonwealth Youth Leadership Programme, is currently making its way across Africa as part of the Queen's Baton Relay; a tremendous 190,000km journey across the 70 countries and territories taking part in this year's Commonwealth Games. Read more...

RCS Hong Kong Christmas Drinks

 

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RCS Hong Kong Christmas Drinks 2013

 The Royal Commonwealth Society in Hong Kong had its Christmas drinks party on Tuesday 10th December at the Helena May. 

My Commonwealth Essay Competition Experience

Tabitha being interviwed by the BBC

Tabitha being interviewed by the BBC during winners' week

I have had a wonderful awards week in London from going to Buckingham Palace, seeing the Queen in her car and Darleks in the state rooms to being interviewed at the BBC about Selfies!

Nelson Mandela and the Commonwealth

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Nelson Mandela at the Royal Commonwealth Society

It is with sadness that the Royal Commonwealth Society joins South Africa and the international community in mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela. The Commonwealth has lost an extraordinary and inspirational champion of the values that are its strength . He will be remembered for his innate dignity, his compassion and his unbounded capacity to draw a quality of forgiveness out of hatred 

Commonwealth Carol Service 2013

RCS Carols 2013 DFlynn Photography 6

The RCS held its annual Commonwealth Carol Service at a packed St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square. The service has become well-established as a colourful and vibrant celebration of Christmas in a uniquely Commonwealth setting. 

Towards a Corruption-Free Caribbean: Ethics, Values, and Morality

The University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) is currently inviting submissions and registration for their 2014 Caribbean Conference 'Towards a Corruption-Free Caribbean: Ethics,Values, and Morality' which will be held from 19th - 21st March 2014.

Katherine McIndoe writes her message in the 33Fifty Baton Book

Right on the heels of a week spent in London to celebrate her winning the top prize in this year’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, 19-year-old Katherine McIndoe attended a reception on Friday morning in the Grand Hall at Parliament House in Wellington, New Zealand.

The reception was held to welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) team, who recently arrived on New Zealand shores. Along with the Queen’s Baton, the QBR team has also been carrying a Baton Book through every country and territory they pass through. This Baton Book, which is a beautifully illustrated symbol of Commonwealth citizenship, will be delivered to the 100 participants of the 33Fifty programme, which was just launched yesterday at the University of Edinburgh.

 baton book

Post-CHOGM Briefing 2013

Post CHOGM breakfast briefing

Guest speaker Richard Uku, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Commonwealth Secretariat, led a conversation on the policy outcomes of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that took place from 15-17th November in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Commonwealth Essay Competition Awards Evening 2013

Awards Evening Katherine McIndoe Tabitha Carr Rt Hon Sir Lockwood Smith KMZM PhD

Awards Evening, Katherine McIndoe, Tabitha Carr, Rt Hon Sir Lockwood Smith KMZM PhD

Last night in the penthouse of New Zealand House, Katherine McIndoe and Tabitha Carr mingled with writers, judges, government officials, educationalists, students, and representatives from across the Commonwealth who all came out to celebrate their achievements. Katherine and Tabitha stood out among the 11,000 plus other young writers for their poignant and imaginative essays, and earlier this year, were announced as the senior and junior winners of the 2013 Commonwealth Essay Competition.

CHOGM 2013 Communique

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The biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 15 - 17th November 2013.

Coleg Gwent students attend Buckingham Palace reception

On Friday 18th October, two students from Coleg Gwent's Crosskeys campus attended a reception at Buckingham Palace on youth, education and the Commonwealth.

Samuel Preece and Danielle Oak, both 18 years old, were nominated to attend after their Commonwealth Essay Competition entry earned them a special mention from this year's judges. To read their entry, click here.

Communique from 2013 New Zealand Youth CHOGM

Commonwealth Youth New Zealand, in partnership with the Royal Commonwealth Society Wellington, held a New Zealand student CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) at the New Zealand Parliament from 5th-6th August.

Speaking about the model CHOGM, Chloe Oldfield, Commonwealth Youth NZ Deputy Director, said: "This year's conference was one of the best I've had the pleasure of being involved with. Congratulations to all the delegates who spoke so well on the issues with which they were faced."

To view the New Zealand Youth CHOGM communique, click here.

Empowering Girls: What the Commonwealth can do to end early and forced marriage

Mr Mike Lake Ms Nazma Kabir Ms Naana Otoo Oyortey Ms Alanna Armitage Baroness Prashar 26th June 2013

Commonwealth High Level Meeting on Child Marriage 26th June 2013, L-R, Mr Mike Lake, Ms Nazma Kabir, Ms Naana Otoo Oyortey, Ms Alanna Armitage, Baroness Prashar

On the 14th and 15th of October, the Royal Commonwealth Society, Plan UK, and the Commonwealth Secretariat co-hosted a Commonwealth Roundtable on Early and Forced Marriage. The two-day roundtable, held at Marlborough House, brought together senior officials from across the Commonwealth to explore the legal and cultural barriers inhibiting progress and to exchange best practice.

Junior Essay winner recognised for her outstanding achievement

Tabitha Carr Blanchelande

12 year old Tabitha Carr, the Junior Winner of this year's Commonwealth Essay Competition, has been recognised by her school, Blanchelande College, Guernsey, for her outstanding achievement. Tabitha's name has been added to the school's board of honour and Tabitha has now given several performances of her winning entry.

RCS Hong Kong explores the dangers for journalism in the region

RCS Hong Kong

On Wednesday 9th October, the Royal Commonwealth Society in Hong Kong welcomed 30 members to the Hong Kong Club for a talk on 'The dangers for journalism in Hong Kong'. The talk was given by Steve Vines, a founding editor of the Eastern Express, and a regular contributor to the South China Morning Post and Radio Television Hong Kong. In the past, he has also worked in Asia for The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Independent.

RCS Youth Leader to represent New Zealand in India

Commonwealth Youth New Zealand Deputy Director, Aaron Hape, has been chosen to represent New Zealand at the 6th Commonwealth Youth Parliament in India. The annual conference will be held on 20 - 26 October in the Andhra Pradesh Legislature, Hyderabad.

Senior winner of Commonwealth Essay Competition meets British High Commissioner to New Zealand

Katherine with the British HC to New Zealand

Katherine McIndoe, the Senior Prize Winner of the 2013 Commonwealth Essay Competition, recently met with HE Vicki Treadell, the British High Commissioner to New Zealand.

Having read Katherine's prize-winning entry, the High Commissioner wished to extend her congratulations and to discuss the inspiration for the entry, which focuses on the 100 million+ lost girls across the globe. To read Katherine's entry, click here.

The meeting follows widespread media coverage of Katherine's achievement. Click here to see Katherine interviewed on 3News and click here to read an article covering her win in the Dominion Post.

Results of 2013 Commonwealth Essay Competition Announced

This year has been a record-breaking year for the Commonwealth Essay Competition. Not only has the competition received in excess of 11,000 entries, but over 70 judges have been involved in the judging process and the standard of entries has been excellent.

Scottish Government investment announced for Commonwealth youth leadership programme

Today, the Scottish Government announced £60,000 of investment for "33Fifty: The Commonwealth Youth Leadership Programme", delivered by the Royal Commonwealth Society and Common Purpose.

The four day programme will see 100 18-25 year olds – from Scotland and the Commonwealth – develop their leadership skills, networks and Cultural Intelligence to help them in their studies, careers and civic life. Senior leaders from across the Commonwealth will act as mentors, growing the participants' confidence to lead change and make a difference in their countries.

Click here to see the full announcement.

Click here to see articles in the Evening Times and The Herald

Europe and the Commonwealth: How can Britain make the most of both worlds?

Europe and the Commonwealth

The Royal Commonwealth Society, in association with the European Commission, brought together policymakers, civil society, diplomats, and businesspeople on the 17th of July for a conference on the EU and the Commonwealth.

Chaired by Peter Kellner, President of YouGov, discussion ranged from the massive potential for increased trade between the EU and Commonwealth countries to the sources of Euroscepticism in the UK. Panellists looked at the differences between Commonwealth and European identity and examined what each organisation could learn from its counterpart.

 

The future of the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Club

As announced on 28 February 2013, the Council of the Royal Commonwealth Society has exchanged contracts to dispose of leases on Northumberland Avenue. On Friday 28 June the Commonwealth Club will close to members at 25 Northumberland Avenue. The Society has had its home in Northumberland Avenue since 1922 and naturally there is a great affection for the premises. The Council has not taken these steps lightly, however, the first duty of the Trustees is to secure the viability of the Society.

The Club has hosted many important events and people over the years, from Nelson Mandela addressing his first UK press conference, post release, to Her Majesty The Queen being presented with the Jubilee Time Capsule. It is in this vein that the Society will continue with a full programme of educational and advocacy projects on the horizon for 2014. For example, the Commonwealth Essay Competition has had its busiest year ever in 2013 and we will look forward to continuing this work with our teachers around the Commonwealth in 2014. Our new piece of research, "Commonwealth Compared" has been well received and we are planning our next release for the autumn 2013, along with a new international membership for the Society which is currently undergoing consultation. Our full events programme will continue in London and in cities around the Commonwealth, so too will our advocacy work, including the current campaign to end early and forced marriage in the Commonwealth.

As we look forward, it is with excitement and a strong belief in the values of the Commonwealth that we hope members, Commonwealth colleagues and partners will embark on this journey with us.

For any enquiries, please contact Michael Lake, Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society on 0207 766 9200.

United call to end child marriage

Child Marriage Canada House

Global figures united on 26th June in a call to help end child marriage across the Commonwealth.

They were speaking at a central London event co-hosted by the Royal Commonwealth Society and global children's charity Plan UK.

 

Vancouver Island branch represents the RCS at 150th Highland Games

Vancouver branch at the Highland Games

The Royal Commonwealth Society was recently represented at the 150th Highland Games by the Vancouver Island branch.

Rt Hon. Hugo Swire MP speaks at Commonwealth Youth Ministers' Meeting

Foreign Office Minister, the RT Hon Hugo Swire MP, has attened the Commonwealth Youth Ministers' Meeting to discuss the involvement of young people in current affairs.

The Minister joined Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, and Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, for the opening of the meeting in Port Moresby.

For more information, click here.

Commonwealth Poem Commissioned

A poem was specially commissioned for Commonwealth Day 2013 by Afro-Guyanese poet John Agard. 'From Over The Mountain Came News' is based around the 2013 Commonwealth Theme of 'Opportunity through Enterprise'.

Read the poem here.

Sir Richard Branson interviewed by essay school

Branson School Report

Students from Lincoln Castle Academy recently interviewed Sir Richard Branson, asking him questions about education, enterprise and his 16 year old self.

Commonwealth School Enterprise Challenge is launched!

Indeco School Commonwealth School Enterprise Challenge 2012

The Royal Commonwealth Society was proud to support the launch of the Commonwealth School Enterprise Challenge on Monday 11 March, timed to coincide with the Commonwealth Day celebrations and the launch of the 'Opportunity through Enterprise' theme.

The Commonwealth School Enterprise Challenge is a business competition for young people who want to make a difference in the world. The competition asks school students to start an environmentally friendly enterprise that will solve a problem in their local community.

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