As we near the end of a week of activities to celebrate the achievements and potential of the Commonwealth, the undeniable value, power and critical importance of this unique grouping of 56 countries spanning five geographical regions become even more evident.
Blog by Layne Robinson, Commonwealth Head of Social Policy
Reflecting on the events that started on Commonwealth Day, 13 March, we see our youth, representing more than half of the Commonwealth's population, shining like a beacon and illuminating a pathway to a sustainable and peaceful future.
For fifty years, the Commonwealth has prioritised youth development and empowerment, working with our governments and development partners on strategies and initiatives to ensure the participation of young people in decision-making and to create policies carefully designed to improve their prospects. But 2023 is a particularly special year for our young people.
Recognising the impact of the global pandemic on our 1.5 billion strong youth population, Heads of Government declared 2023 the Year of Youth. This extraordinary commitment to accelerate youth development with targeted initiatives was undeniably evident in this year's Commonwealth Day theme and activities.
And as part of our commitment to youth empowerment, we gave youth leaders from our valued partner, the Queen's Commonwealth Trust, who participated in our 'Flag for Peace' initiative, raising flags on Commonwealth Day, the opportunity to share a message about the Commonwealth.
Here is what they said.
Taibat Hussain from United Kingdom:
The theme for Commonwealth Day 2023, 'Forging a sustainable and peaceful common future', reminds us of our shared responsibility to create a better world for present and future generations. As future leaders, young people must be empowered and engaged to contribute to the global efforts towards achieving a more equitable, just, and common feature. By partnering with young people, we can create a brighter and more prosperous future for the Commonwealth.
Qin Yunquan from Singapore:
As we face uncertain and troubling times ahead of us in both Europe and Asia, I am reminded that the core values of what the Commonwealth represent, such as 'the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism and world peace' are even more relevant and important than ever. May the Commonwealth countries stand together as a beacon of hope and direction for humankind to strive to promote and preserve.
Sadia Jafrin from Bangladesh:
As we celebrate Commonwealth Day, let us renew our commitment to promoting and protecting the values that unite us. Let us work together to create a more peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world for all, particularly for the most vulnerable among us. At the Grow Your Reader Foundation, we believe in the power of education to transform lives and communities. We are proud to be a part of the Commonwealth family, and we look forward to continuing to work together to ensure that every child has access to quality education, no matter where they live.
Jodie Dennie from St. Vincent and the Grenadines:
Thank you for amplifying the voice of our nations by working on our behalf to promote peace and prosperity. Happy Commonwealth Day!
Nadir Mendoza from Belize:
Breaking barriers despite borders and embracing our differences, we stand strong. We are the Commonwealth.
Lamzy Jarret from Sierra Leone:
"Forging a sustainable and peaceful common future". Peace is not the absence of conflict and unrest; it goes way beyond; peace and unity must be fostered within the homes, community, and the nation as a whole. Surrendering our weapons of war to authorities does not guarantee peace and stability, but we humans must first work on our minds, behaviour, and attitudes by being tolerant and expressing love to one another for a sustainable and peaceful common future.
Drucila Meireles from Mozambique:
As a young leader and citizen of a country that is part of the Commonwealth of Nations, I feel honoured to raise the flag of peace because I believe in peace in the world, non-discrimination, and equal opportunities for all.
Learn more about Commonwealth Day
About Year of Youth 2023
- Amy Coles Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat