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Europe

Europe consists of around 50 countries. Of these just three are in the Commonwealth, the United Kingdom, Malta and Cyprus. The population of Europe is around 733 million which is approximately 11% of the world’s population. It has a rich diversity of cultures and nationalities and includes a considerable number of people who have connections with Commonwealth countries elsewhere in the world. It is the intention of the RCS to work with the European branches to establish stronger links with other Commonwealth regions.

For administrative purposes the protectorates Gibraltar, Ascension Island, St Helena and Tristan da Cuhna will be included in this RCS region along with the Cayman Islands and the Channel Islands.

Regional Co-ordinator, Godfrey Hall MA. Dip.Ed. F.Coll.P.

GodfreyHall 220Godfrey has an extensive and distinguished career in education. His work has included youth and educational projects often linked with the Commonwealth. He has written over 140 children’s non fiction books for major publishers in the UK, US, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Godfrey has been a member of the Royal Commonwealth Society for over 35 years. During this time he has taken on several roles including 30 years as an examiner and group convenor for the essay competition. He is currently Chair of the Bath and District Branch of the RCS.

Regional Youth Co-ordinator, Hillary Briffa 

HillaryBriffa220Hillary is currently reading for a doctorate in War Studies at King’s College London, querying whether small states can have a Grand Strategy. She teaches second year undergraduates on the module ‘Grand Strategy and the Foundations of the Anglo-American Strategic Tradition’ and runs the annual KCL-University of Texas Maymester programme on World Order.

In her capacity as Youth Ambassador to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe for Malta, Hillary worked closely with the international institution for three years. In London she recently completed an internship at the Malta High Commission to the UK, and undertook research with FromOverHere strategic consultancy. In 2015 she was appointed an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society; in 2016 she became a recipient of the U.S. State Department’s inaugural Emerging Young Leaders award for her extensive efforts in counter-radicalisation, implementing grassroots educational projects in Malta and the UK and carrying out peace-building initiatives in the frozen conflict nations of Eastern Europe. Hillary was Regional Chair at the 2016 RCS Youth Summit and regularly participates in the Commonwealth Youth Programme ‘CommonTies’ initiative in the UK.

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REGIONAL CO-ORDINATORS, EUROPE

Godfrey Hall: godfrey.hall@thercs.org

What's happening in this region?

Cayman Islands Lem QBRCROP resize14 July 2017: Cayman Islands Branch President Mr Lemuel Hurlston and wife Marcia joined the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee, the visiting delegation accompanying the Baton and others in celebrating the Queens Baton journey at the Reception at Government House in George Town, Grand Cayman. The historic visit was subsequently celebrated at several venues including on the other two Cayman Islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, over the Baton's four day stay, before its departure for The Bahamas on 18 July.

 CayIsP1010038 CropRESIZECommonwealth Day 2017: Schoolchildren in the Cayman Islands parade with flags - just one of a number of activities organised for the day by the newly structured Cayman Islands Branch. Other activities included a flag-raising ceremony, a service, and various activities within schools. Read the report

 

 

Bath Uni studentsCrop12 March 2017: RCS Bath Branch and students from the University of Bath and Bath Spa University attended the Commonwealth Service at Bath Abbey during which the Affirmations were read. Pictured Christian, Buddhist and Muslim students Brioney May–Russ (UK), Siok Wah Tay (Malaysia) and Abdul Rahman-Adamu- Bukari.

 

 

BCS CW Day CROPCommonwealth Day 2017: The Bristol Commonwealth Society held their annual flag-raising ceremony on College Green Attended by (pictured), Chevening Commonwealth Scholar, Yvonne Tago with The Mayor, Marvin Rees (left) and The Lord Mayor of Bristol (right).

 

Bath P109076615 February 2017: Commonwealth Scholars and Global Studies students from the University of Bath, Bristol and Bath Spa University met together with RCS Bath members on February 15th at the Guildhall Bath. Hosted in conjunction with the mayor of Bath students had a chance to learn more about the mayor’s role in the city, meet with officials and examine some of the many valuable artefacts in the Mayor’s Parlour. Godfrey Hall, Chair of the Bath and District Branch, gave a short talk on the role of the branch and the work of the RCS worldwide. Students from as far away as Pakistan, Malaysia and Uganda had a chance to mix with UK students who are studying International Affairs. 

Rome Games Event 2024 CROPPED1st July 2016: The Commonwealth Club of Rome together with Rome 2024 organised a meeting focussing on sport as an opportunity for social and economic growth. The event had two objectives: the first, sharing the vision and key points in the dossier for Rome's 2024 bid and introducing the coming edition of the Commonwealth Games, a sport event organised by the Commonwealth Games Federation; the second, discussing the social and economic impact the events could have on the host countries.

May 2016: Tribute to the late Miss Margaret A Brayton, MBE

Margaret Brayton who died on 29th April at the age of 96 was a longstanding very active member, former Councillor and Vice President of the RCS. A retired nurse who trained in Edinburgh, she was one of the last surviving nurses who served on the ‘little ships’ at Dunkirk in the Second World War.  Margaret was the first Executive Secretary of the Commonwealth Nurses Federation (now Commonwealth Nurses & Midwives Federation) with an office in 18 Northumberland Avenue where very many nurses and allied professionals from across the Commonwealth came to visit. 

She travelled to many Commonwealth countries and was involved at local level with communities as well as participating in many Conferences and Committees concerned with the development of health and education issues.  She was a mentor to many and gave unstintingly of her time and energies to help others, particularly in women’s organisations and advancing the opportunities for young people. Margaret was a good raconteur, much loved and respected.

Her 80th and 90th birthdays were celebrated at the RCS’ Commonwealth Club.  She had been in a care home for several years prior to her death and is survived by her niece. She remained particularly close to the Caribbean nurses associations and The Commonwealth Nurses & Midwives Federation are likely to organise a thanksgiving or memorial service for her at which the Commonwealth and Women's organisations will wish to be represented.

The funeral was held on Monday 23rd May at 12 noon, at Golders Green Crematorium, London.

Cayman Islands CwDay resizedStudents of Sir John A. Cumber School display the flags of the Commonwealth. Courtesy Cayman Compass.

Commonwealth Day 2016: Cayman Islands Branch celebrated with the annual Church Service at the St. George’s Anglican Church with the Affirmations read by Martina Watler, Junior Runner-up in the 2015 Essay Competition; Scouts, Brownies and Girl Guides also participated. Governor Kilpatrick hoisted the flag in front of the Government Administration Building as part of the Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth initiative andthe Cayman Islands Youth Parliament held their annual meeting in the Legislative Assembly. Meanwhile schools shared in morning assemblies and participated in flag parades or storytelling. 

IMG 1323Bristol Crop resizedCommonwealth Day 2016: Bristol Branch David Osiany, a Masters postgraduate student from Kenya, studying at Bristol University, was invited to raise the Commonwealth Flag on College Green, with the Lord Mayor, Cllr Mrs Campion Smith, and Mrs Mary Prior MBE, HM Lord Lieutenant of Bristol, in attendance. The Queen's Message was read by the Lord Lieutenant, and the Lord Mayor read out the Affirmation to the assembled company of students, pupils from Cathedral School, members of the Forces, local MPs and RCS branch members. 

Guernsey4RESIZEDCommonwealth Day 2016: Guernsey Branch enjoyed a successful Commonwealth Flag raising ceremony at the Sea Mast in St. Peter's Port. It was an historic day too for Guernsey as the new Lieutenant Governor was sworn in - Vice Admiral Ian Corder read the Queens message to the Commonwealth as part of the installation.

 

 

Birmingham BCALogo web

February 2016: Birmingham Commonwealth Association (BCA) is delighted that the Royal Commonwealth Society has approved its application to join its International network committed to improving the lives and prospects of citizens across the Commonwealth. The BCA was established in March 2014 as an initiative of Birmingham City Council’s then leader, Sir Albert Bore. It has since grown to encompass three areas of focus: Trade and Business, Communities and Education.

Scholarships2020162028900 681 NM6th February 2016: Bath and District Branch were once again in the news as members were in attendance at the Scholarship Awards at the University of Bath when a number of Commonwealth scholars were presented with their certificates including scholarships provided by the branch.  

Photo: Godfrey Hall, Chair, meets with Commonwealth scholars.

 

Bath Feb163rd February 2016: Commonwealth scholars joined with international students from schools and universities in Bath at a special reception at the Guildhall.  Held in the presence of the Mayor of Bath, Councillor William Sandry, the students were given some background into the mayoral role and afterwards learnt more about the activities of the RCS branch in Bath from the local chair Godfrey Hall. Students from Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, Ghana and Barbados were amongst the guests. After the talk they had the chance to met local branch members and find out about more about the activities which have been arranged for 2016.

Photo: International students attend a special reception organised by the RCS Bath and District Branch and Mayor’s Office. It was held in the presence of the Mayor of Bath and branch members at the Mayor’s Parlour in the magnificent Guildhall.  

 Across the Europe region, 3 Queens Young Leaders have been announced - see the list

flag bearersCommonwealth Day 2015, RCS Cayman Islands: Celebrations for 2015 in the Cayman Islands took three forms – a Church Service, a Youth Parliament and the Schools’ celebrations and Essay Competition. The theme for this year’s celebrations was 'A Young Commonwealth'. Uniformed groups and schools attended the service, and participated in a colourful display of the flags of the Commonwealth member countries. All activities were coordinated by the Cayman Islands Branches of the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. 
Read the RCS Cayman Islands Branch report of the day's celebrations

Affirmation reading GuernseyCommonwealth Day 2015, Guernsey Branch: Reading the Commonwealth Day Affirmation in St Peter Port, Guernsey. His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, Air Marshal Peter Walker CB CBE, raised the Commonwealth Flag and read out Her Majesty The Queen's message at the celebratory breakfast that followed.

 


 

 BRDR20150309A 001 C RESIZEDCommonwealth Day 2015, Bristol Branch: Commonwealth Day celebrations included a civic procession and ceremonial raising of the Commonwealth flag on College Green, with the Lord Mayor Councillor, Alistair Watson reading HM The Queen's message. The flag was raised by a student from the Commonwealth, Ruman Banerjee (pictured). Pupils from Bristol Cathedral School joined the procession and flag-raising.

BathRCS 071 8th March 2015: RCS Bath Branch members were joined by local students at Bath Abbey to take part in the reading of the Commonwealth Affirmations. Featured in the photo with Godfrey Hall, Chair of the RCS Bath Branch, Alex Abaca from Uganda studying at the University of Bath, Alexandra Downie–Ngini from Kenya a pupil at Kingswood Senior School, Francesca Opoku–Gyamfi from Ghana studying at The Royal High School and Emma Kovalevsky, an Australian student at Bath Spa University.

RCS students Bathevent 201511th February 2015, Commonwealth students from the University of Bath and Bath Spa University joined together with sixth formers from Kingswood School to enjoy an evening reception in the Mayor's Parlour, at the Guildhall. Organised by the Bath and District branch of the RCS in conjunction with the mayors office they had the opportunity of meeting Her Worshipful the Mayor of Bath Councillor Cherry Beath and learning more about the mayoral role and the links between the RCS and the city.

Solomon Mugera the BBC Africa Editor19th November 2014- Solomon Mugera gave a lecture entitled 'The BBC Africa' at BRLSI, Queens Square, Bath. As BBC Africa Editor, he currently oversees the managerial and editorial direction of BBC Africa programmes. 

 

 

The Budiriro TrustOctober 2014: The Budiriro Trust presents a talk by David Coltart, Zimbabwean Senator and recent Minister of Education, on “Educating the Youth in Zimbabwe - Building for a Better Future” on 8th October at 6.30pm at the Free Word Centre, 60 Farrington Road, EC1R 3GA.

Since 1967, the Budiriro Trust has given grants to many hundreds of students in Zimbabwe in order to equip them to play their part in the professional, administrative and technical life of the country. The Trust is committed to support this vital work of education in Zimbabwe at higher secondary levels and in technical and vocational training. For full details please visit the Trust's website.

On 3rd October at 9:30am. A leading figure in the political opposition in Nigeria, Lai Mohammed, who is national spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress (APC) will talk about the party’s campaign in the run up to next February’s General Election in Nigeria. He will discuss Boko Haram and Africa’s fight against Islamic terrorism, the failure of the Nigerian Government to rescue the kidnapped girls, and the financial scandals that risk destabilising Africa’s largest economy. The briefing will take place at Award House, 7-11 St Matthew Street, SW1P 2JT, RSVP to briefings@fpalondon.org

In July, 21 students from Midsomer Norton Sixth Form are travelling to Kenya to undertake volunteer work in a deprived area of Nakuru. Working in two schools, giving help in the classroom, on building projects and on their feeding programmes, the students have received generous support from the Bath and District Branch of The Royal Commonwealth Society.

Godfrey Hall, Chairman of the local branch of the RCS said “In keeping with this most recent Affirmation, it is wonderful to see a team of young people from our local area going to Kenya to help in such a positive way. I am confident that the experience will lead the students to understand more fully, some of the difficulties facing our Commonwealth family members elsewhere in the world. We are delighted to be able to support them in this venture”.

LadiOn 25th June 2014, the Bath and District Branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society hosted Ladi Dariya from Nigeria, who told her amazing life story. Part of a very poor family of thirteen children she went from selling bean cakes on the streets of Jos to a Masters Degree in Management. Supported by the Commonwealth Countries League Education Fund between 1988 and 1991, Ladi now holds an important executive job in the UK and is married with two children.

 

 

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