Commonwealth Lecture

10 April 2015

'Youth, Innovation and Sustainable Development: the Commonwealth in a Post-2015 World'.

On Thursday 9 April the Rt Hon Helen Clark, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme and former Prime Minister of New Zealand delivered the 17th Commonwealth Lecture. 

The lecture took place at the 800 year old Guildhall, home of the City of London Corporation in the heart of London and was attended by over 500 guests. The theme of the lecture, 'Youth, Innovation and Sustainable Development: the Commonwealth in a Post-2015 World' ties in closely with the 2015 Commonwealth theme of ‘A Young Commonwealth’, a fact Mrs Clark highlighted:

“Three in every five Commonwealth citizens are under the age of 30. That fully justifies the choice of this year’s Commonwealth theme: “A Young Commonwealth”. And one cannot fail to be impressed by the major focus of the Commonwealth on developing youth potential through its programmes and forums.”

Rt Hon Helen Clark – UNDP Administrator
“Youth, Innovation, Sustainable Development and The Commonwealth in a Post-2015 World”

Full transcript

“It is a privilege for me to deliver the Commonwealth Lecture at this prestigious venue this evening. I thank Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma for the invitation to me, and I also acknowledge the presence of Sir Anand Satyanand, the Chair of the Commonwealth Foundation and former Governor-General of New Zealand.

As Prime Minister of New Zealand, I had the privilege of attending four Commonwealth Heads of Government Summits – or CHOGMs as they are known. For a New Zealand Prime Minister coming from the very far south of the South Pacific, CHOGM is an opportunity to meet counterparts not only from one’s near region, but from the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, the Indian Ocean, Europe, and Canada.

For the Commonwealth, like the United Nations, spans every region of the world. It constitutes nearly a third of the global population – some 2.2 billion people, and a quarter of our planet’s land area. But it has not relied on its size and geographical reach alone in making its mark in a world of many multi-country organisations. The Commonwealth’s unique value has been its commitment to development, democracy, and diversity." 

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Watch full length video of the lecture

Helen is the first woman to lead the UNDP.

Prior to her appointment with UNDP, Helen served for nine years as Prime Minister of New Zealand. As Prime Minister, Helen engaged widely in policy development and advocacy across the international, economic, social and cultural spheres. She and her government prioritised reconciliation and the settlement of historical grievances with New Zealand’s indigenous people and the development of an inclusive multicultural and multi-faith society.

The theme for 2015 is ‘A Young Commonwealth’ and Helen Clark will speak on Youth, Innovation and Sustainable Development: the Commonwealth in a Post-2015 World from the magnificent setting of the Guildhall, in the heart of the City of London.

View photographs from the 17th Commonwealth Lecture