Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) visits CPA Isle of Man Branch at Tynwald and brings CPA Roadshows to young people on the island

The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Mr Akbar Khan has this week visited the Isle of Man Branch of the CPA and Tynwald, the Island’s Parliament.

During his visit to the Isle of Man, the Secretary-General met with the President of Tynwald, Hon. Stephen Rodan MLC and the Speaker of the House of Keys and Chairman of the CPA Executive Committee, Hon. Juan Watterson SHK, at the Legislative Buildings in Douglas before meeting with Members of the CPA Isle of Man Executive Committee and other Members of the Parliament.

The Secretary-General congratulated the Isle of Man Branch for taking such an active role as a Branch of the Association and on the many innovations in Tynwald that have made for a more effective and modern legislature. The Secretary-General was pleased to share a range of parliamentary strengthening programmes offered by the CPA particularly for its small branches, such as the Parliamentary Fundamentals course for Small Branches which is designed specifically to meet the developmental needs of parliamentarians in smaller Commonwealth jurisdictions and being delivered in partnership with a top Commonwealth university.

The CPA Isle of Man Branch has been instrumental in forging important bi-lateral relationships with other CPA Branches such as Kenya, and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Legislature in Pakistan, from which a delegation was also visiting the Isle of Man at the same time as the CPA Secretary-General. The platform that the CPA provides for both national legislatures and also sub-national, provincial, state and territorial legislatures to network, share good practice and innovative work to strengthen the role of parliament as an institution, is essential in an age of greater scrutiny of parliament’s work.

During his visit to the Isle of Man, the CPA Secretary-General, alongside several parliamentarians from the Isle of Man, delivered a series of CPA Roadshows in schools across the Island. The CPA Roadshows provide an opportunity for young people to learn about the political values of the Commonwealth such as diversity, development and parliamentary democracy; to discuss issues of concern about the society in which they live. The CPA Roadshow also served to compliment the excellent outreach work being undertaken by Tynwald and enabled young people to meet their local parliamentarians and parliamentary staff.

During the CPA Roadshows, Mr Khan talked with the young people about the importance and relevance of Commonwealth values to people’s everyday life, such as respect for the rule of law, gender equality and the importance of education, especially for young people. He also talked about the need to ensure stronger adherence to these values that serve as a ‘glue’ that holds the Commonwealth together in spite of its vast diversity. The students also learned about how especially important the Commonwealth is at a time of uncertainty as a result of Brexit and the US Presidential results. The opportunity for a stronger focus on the Commonwealth is far greater now, as we navigate the ambiguities and unpredictability of the international landscape.

The Speaker of the House of Keys, the Hon Juan Watterson SHK said: “The Isle of Man Branch of the CPA was pleased to welcome the new Secretary-General, Mr Akbar Khan on his first visit to the Isle of Man. Tynwald’s links with other parliaments through the CPA have never been more important than they are today. Education is a key theme of the CPA, whether for parliamentarians or linking communities. I am glad that Mr Khan, through his school roadshows, has heled to convey this message to the Island’s young people. He also had the opportunity to attend a sitting, to meet Tynwald members and to see some of our interparliamentary work first-hand, thanks to the fact that his visit coincided with a visit from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in Pakistan.”

The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Mr Akbar Khan said: “I was very pleased to be able to visit one of the CPA’s most active Branches and to engage in a very productive dialogue about the excellent work Tynwald is doing to showcase and share some of the excellent work it has delivered as a legislature. The Isle of Man Branch is one of the CPA’s smaller jurisdictions, but it stands proud as part of the CPA alongside some of the biggest parliaments in the world, such as India, able to demonstrate some remarkable innovations that many other jurisdictions are learning from.

“During my visit here, I have been fortunate enough to visit many schools on the island to engage with local students on the values that unite the Commonwealth such as diversity, development and democracy. It was a pleasure to have shared a platform in many schools with local parliamentarians. Engaging young people in discussions on politics and issues that are directly relevant to them, has been a very rewarding opportunity for me as Secretary-General.”

The CPA Secretary-General visited four schools in the Isle of Man as part of the CPA Roadshows tour of the Commonwealth schools and universities. During the CPA Roadshows in the Isle of Man, the Secretary-General presented to over 200 young people. The CPA Roadshows tour visited:
St Ninian’s High School where the Secretary-General met A-level Politics students with constituency Members, Miss Clare Bettison MHK and Mr Ralph Peake MHK;
Dhoon Primary School to present to a group of primary age pupils accompanied by Hon. Stephen Rodan MLC, President of Tynwald;
King William’s College, a secondary school accompanied by Mr Geoff Corkish MLC, Member for the Department of Education and Children; and,
Castle Rushen High School accompanied by Mr Graham Cregeen MHK, Minister for Education and Children and local constituency Member.

With the Commonwealth’s 52 member countries having a combined population of more than 2 billion, of which more than 60% are under 30 years of age, the CPA Roadshows aim to engage with young people and education establishments to promote parliamentary democracy and participation in political life. 

For images of the CPA Roadshows and the CPA Secretary-General's visit to the CPA Isle of Man Branch please click here.

Updated 08.02.2017

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