Diplomats newly-appointed to posts with responsibility for the Commonwealth have been encouraged to take full advantage of opportunities to boost co-operation and connection among its 53 member countries.
They attended the 36th Diplomats’ Induction Programme, held at Commonwealth headquarters in London from 20 to 22 November. The programme introduced newly-arrived envoys to the broad range of Commonwealth initiatives and helped them understand how the Commonwealth operates in greater depth.
The three-day seminar was hosted by the intergovernmental organisations of the 53-member family of nations: the Commonwealth Secretariat, Commonwealth Foundation and Commonwealth of Learning.
Speaking at the seminar, Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “Today, our world faces many pressing challenges from climate change and gender inequality to poverty and insecurity.
“This programme will provide you with a valuable understanding of how you can build on new collaborative opportunities the Commonwealth opens up for the countries you represent.
“It is now in your hands to put the Commonwealth family on the forefront of global and regional forums.”
During the seminar, diplomats heard from a wide range of speakers from diplomatic missions, Commonwealth-accredited organisations and academic institutions, who urged them to leverage every opportunity the Commonwealth offers. Speakers covered areas of the Commonwealth work ranging from climate change and connectivity to youth development and education.
Malta’s High Commissioner to the UK, Joseph Cole, said: “The Commonwealth is all about the future, enabling us to put aside any difficulty we may have had in the past and help each of our member states.”
Started in 1977, the induction programme is designed to enhance the knowledge of diplomats from member countries about the relevance and impact of the Commonwealth’s work both in member countries and on the global stage.
Referring to the next the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to the UK, Yamina Karitanyi, said: “We will be the first country to host this biennial summit that is not a former British colony.
“We hope that the discussions in Kigali will be productive, as we look to help support and enhance peace and prosperity in all our member countries.”
Following the programme, diplomats said they have gained practical knowledge which will help them “better guide their capitals on Commonwealth affairs”.