Commonwealth Watch: Move to close vital studies unit infuriates academics around the world

Academics from around the world are protesting against an “irresponsible“ and  “counter-productive” proposal by the University of London to bring to an end work at one of the Commonwealth’s best respected and most valuable research units – the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICwS). It comes at a time when leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement are demanding that historians remove the veils that cover hideous racial crimes against black people during the zenith of British imperialism in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. Eighty -one leading academics put their names to…Read more

Long-standing Voice of the Commonwealth dies

It is with the greatest sadness we report the unexpected death of Patsy Robertson, not only one of our Trustees but a valued friend and colleague. Patsy's contribution to the Commonwealth over the past 55 years cannot be underestimated and her wisdom and friendship were enjoyed and appreciated by many. Below, we reprint "An Appreciation" by long-time colleague Richard Bourne. She will be sorely missed. Patsy Robertson – an appreciation Richard Bourne The death of Patsy Robertson on 18 August 2020, only two years after the death of her friend Derek Ingram, is…Read more

Postponement of CHOGM 2020 due to Covid-19

As a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it is necessary to postpone the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda on 22 – 27 June 2020. The 26th CHOGM and associated events will be held in Kigali at a time to be announced in due course. This decision was made in accordance with the 2005 Memorandum of Understanding Establishing the Commonwealth Secretariat and the CHOGM Technical Manual, as well as with precedent. His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda said, “In the coming months, every…Read more

UPDATE: Coronavirus and the 2020 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda

The next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is scheduled for June 2020 in Kigali in Rwanda. The Commonwealth Secretariat and the Government of Rwanda are monitoring developments regarding the spread and impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We have been in constant communication with the Government of Rwanda and we have set timelines and milestones that will allow us to carefully monitor and assess different options for CHOGM depending on how the pandemic evolves. An announcement is anticipated as soon as our plans have crystalised. In all these conversations, we have given priority to…Read more

Commonwealth Day 2020

Message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth  Read the Commonwealth Day Message by Her Majesty The Queen Commonwealth Day 2020 was celebrated on 09 March with events across 5 continents including flag parades, church services, poetry mornings, dance performances and much more. This year’s event was centred around the theme 'Delivering a Common Future', highlighting how the 54 member countries in the Commonwealth family are ‘innovating, connecting and transforming’ to help achieve some of its biggest goals like protecting natural resources and boosting trade. Flag-raising ceremonies Many people mark Commonwealth Day with a flag raising ceremony,…Read more

Derek Ingram Memorial Service

Following the death earlier this year of renowned Commonwealth journalist Derek Ingram, there will be a memorial service at St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1AA at 11h30 on Thursday, 8th November,Read more

Death of Renowned Commonwealth Journalist

It is with great sadness that we learnt today of the death of Derek Ingram.  Derek - who had been unwell for the past few months - died peacefully at home on 17 June 2018, just three days short of his 92 birthday. Throughout the Commonwealth Derek has been a familiar and much loved figure for decades.  An outstanding journalist with a distinguished career in the UK newspaper industry before he embraced  the Commonwealth, he was deeply committed to press freedom and encouraging and mentoring young journalists.  He was also well known for his…Read more

A Gettysburg moment for CHOGM

Four score and seven years ago, the 1931 Statute of Westminster formally loosed Britain's Dominions from the bonds of Empire as sovereign states. It was, if not the birth of the Commonwealth, a new birth of freedom: enshrining democracy, essential rights and the rule of law. Today, the Commonwealth Charter offers 2.4 billion people – a third of humanity – a panoramic vision of liberty. Freedom of expression is at its core. Rightly, it is defined to include 'a free and responsible media.' Shamefully, by that test, this shining vision is a cruel…Read more

Commonwealth Day Message by Her Majesty The Queen

Towards a Common Future Commonwealth Day, 12 March 2018 We all have reason to give thanks for the numerous ways in which our lives are enriched when we learn from others. Through exchanging ideas, and seeing life from other perspectives, we grow in understanding and work more collaboratively towards a common future. There is a very special value in the insights we gain through the Commonwealth connection; shared inheritances help us overcome difference so that diversity is a cause for celebration rather than division. We shall see this in action at the Commonwealth…Read more

The Gambia rejoins Commonwealth

The Gambia rejoins the Commonwealth family today, almost five years after leaving it. A flag-raising ceremony, at Marlborough House, the London headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat, will mark its return. Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, the chair of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors, Norman Hamilton, members of the Committee, and The Gambian high commissioner, Francis Blain, will attend the ceremony. The decision to begin the process of applying for readmission was made in February 2017 by President Adama Barrow, who came to power following elections in December 2016. Last December, the…Read more