Diplomats Forum celebrates 75 years of Commonwealth’s impact

10 June 2024

Digital diplomacy and democracy in elections were two of the topics that took centre stage at the inaugural Commonwealth Diplomats Forum on 7 June 2024.

Held at the Commonwealth Secretariat’s headquarters, Marlborough House, diplomats from the Commonwealth and beyond attended the event which marked the 75th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth.

Convening under the theme, ‘75 Years of the Commonwealth and the Future of Diplomacy’, the event provided the diplomats with a unique opportunity to exchange knowledge with seasoned senior diplomats and experts.

Exploring the future of diplomacy, participants delved into the history, current role and future of the Commonwealth. Discussions focused on the Commonwealth’s ongoing contributions to global diplomacy and its adaptability in addressing contemporary challenges.

Celebrating 75 Years of the Modern Commonwealth

As the Commonwealth celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, this forum was a platform to explore the institution’s role in fostering international cooperation across its membership.

In a statement the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, said:

“The diplomacy of our institution is built on the Commonwealth’s unique ability to convene, to unite, and to tackle challenges. Our work to protect the process, institutions, and culture of democracy, as well as our quiet-but-essential work for peace serves not just the Commonwealth, but the wider world.

We recognise that new technologies have become critical to nearly every sector and are transforming the way international actors interact and offering new opportunities for international and bilateral cooperation.

Through our Artificial Intelligence Consortium, we are setting a new standard for the use of AI in government and throughout society. We remain committed to delivering a safer, healthier, more equitable and just Commonwealth in which none of our 2.6 billion citizens in our family of 56 nations are left behind.”

Moderating the discussion, Professor Luis Franceschi, Assistant Secretary-General of the Commonwealth affirmed the Commonwealth’s role as a facilitator of international collaboration and emphasised that the Secretariat is “open to all countries, not just member countries”.


Promoting Diplomacy and Democracy through Artificial Intelligence

With the rapid advancement of technology, digital diplomacy has become essential for diplomats. Diplomats exchanged their experiences on how artificial intelligence (AI) tools and platforms impact diplomatic practices, the challenges and opportunities they present, and strategies for effective digital engagement.

Suresh Yadav, Senior Director of the Secretariat’s Trade, Ocean and Natural Resources Directorate, emphasised the continued need to leverage AI in diplomacy.

He said:

“AI provides countries with an opportunity to gather evidence and data, irrespective of the capacity or size of the country.

At the Commonwealth, we have been harnessing the power of AI to provide solutions for our member states to aid diplomacy. We are working on AI tools to assist policymakers and diplomats in generating policies and guidelines that will help their countries compete in the digital world.”

In 2024, over 64 countries across the world will hold national elections. Linford Andrews, Adviser and Head of the Secretariat’s Electoral Support Section, highlighted the significant role of the Commonwealth in protecting democratic values and supporting fair and transparent electoral processes across member countries. 

"Since 1980, we have deployed more than 200 election observation missions in 40 countries across the Commonwealth. These missions contribute to the credibility, transparency and fairness of electoral processes.”

Media contact

  • Grace Adeniji Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

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