Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, has told young leaders meeting in Honiara, Solomon Islands, that he was inspired by their involvement in the Commonwealth.
The Prince and his wife Catherine paid a special visit to the Commonwealth Youth Programme regional centre at the start of their Diamond Jubilee Tour of the South Pacific today.
In a short speech to representatives attending the Commonwealth Pacific Youth Leadership and Integrity Conference, the 30-year-old Prince said: “I find it inspirational that young people like you, coming from all over the South Pacific, have chosen to become involved with the Commonwealth. We are its heirs and successors. We must take on the responsibility, the mantle of leadership for the future. I applaud you for being here, and I wish you well in your work in Honiara over these days.
“What you are doing, and the friendships that you make, are critical for your future as young leaders, both in your own countries and in the global family that is the Commonwealth.”
Commenting on the value of the association, the Duke added: “The Commonwealth reminds us of what we have in common, what our responsibilities to one another are, without this ability to cross the boundaries of nationhood, race and creed, humanity in the future would find it very much harder to advance toward greater harmony and sustainable co-existence.”
During the royal visit, the Duke also presented six young people with Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards: Bryan Anga, Hudson Oeta, Harry James Olikwailafa, Ray Richard, Ashley Watson from Solomon Islands and Rebecca Solomon from Vanuatu.
Around 40 youth representatives are attending the six-day conference, run by the Commonwealth Youth Programme as part of its work to engage and empower young people and enhance their contribution to development. The conference will build the leadership skills of young people and focus on democracy, parliament, leadership models, conflict resolution and effective communication.
Commonwealth Youth Programme Regional Director, Pacific, Afu Billy said that it was an honour to host the Duke and Duchess at the start of the conference.
“The royal couple are an inspiration to young people in the Commonwealth. We are delighted that the Duke has been inspired by the young leaders he met in Honiara,” she said.
Young leaders attending the conference represent 14 Pacific countries: Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Niue, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.