The Royal Commonwealth Society held its International Meeting for RCS Branches in October 2016 in London, the first after after five years. The next will be held on 15-17 October 2018 in London.
International Meetings were previously held every second year; earlier branch meetings had been held in the following locations: Malaysia (2011), Cyprus (2008), London (2006), Ghana (2004), London (2002), Malaysia (2000).
The 2016 meeting was preceded by a two day youth programme. The purpose of the week was to support the future of RCS networks, share experiences and knowledge and to facilitate interaction and relationship-building between branches, youth groups and the RCS in London.
The youth programme provided a platform for young people to connect with like-minded individuals, build leadership skills and identify how to instigate change in the Commonwealth. Opportunity was created to feed into the branch programme and to connect with branch members and RCS Regional Co-ordinators. Read the blog written by youth delegate and the RCS Youth Regional Co-ordinator for Africa, Gideon Commey.
The three day branch programme, attended by 81 delegates from 30 branches around the world and was opened by RCS President, Lord Howell and followed with a day of branch-lead sessions, kindly hosted by the High Commission of New Zealand. Day two addressed the programmes, research & policy and youth & education work of the Society and included speakers from RCS partners The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and Comic Relief. On the third morning, delegates were pleased to attend sessions, kindly run by experts on Communications, Fundraising, Brand and The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy.
Outside of the meetings delegates were invited to a magnificent concert given by ABRSM, to a tour of Westminster Abbey and to Afternoon Tea at the House of Lords, sponsored by RCS Ireland Branch.
The RCS is grateful to the High Commissions of Australia, Canada, Malta, New Zealand, Nigeria and Zambia for their support and hospitality.
The Youth Programme, Branch Programme and Speaker Biographies are available to read online or to download. Notes from the meeting are available to branch members on request as are some of the presentations.