Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) visits CPA Northern Ireland Branch at the Northern Ireland Assembly and delivers CPA Roadshows to young people

The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Mr Akbar Khan has visited the Northern Ireland Branch of the CPA at the invitation of Jo-Anne Dobson MLA, Chair of the Northern Ireland CPA Branch, Northern Ireland Assembly.

During his visit to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association met with the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Robin Newton MLA, who is also the President of the CPA Northern Ireland Branch, at the Parliament Buildings before meeting with Members of the CPA Northern Ireland Executive Committee and other Members of the Assembly. The Secretary-General discussed the range of parliamentary strengthening programmes that the CPA offers and is developing to support the professional development of Members of Parliament and parliamentary staff.

The Secretary-General of the CPA also met with the First Minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster MLA and discussed the work of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians that the CPA undertakes across the Commonwealth. 

The CPA is the only Commonwealth body that works to strengthen sub-national and devolved assemblies such as the Northern Ireland Assembly. The relationship between the Northern Ireland Assembly and the CPA is therefore key in providing a platform to develop good parliamentary practice within the Northern Ireland Assembly, and also to share good practice with other similar legislatures across the Commonwealth, from provincial legislatures in Canada, to sub-national legislatures in Pakistan or Nigeria. The CPA is keen to work with the Northern Ireland Assembly to share its innovative practices, such as the online Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series, with all legislatures of the CPA across the Commonwealth.

The CPA Secretary-General also visited two local schools in Northern Ireland - Lurgan College and Dromore Central Primary School - as part of the CPA Roadshows tour of the Commonwealth schools and universities. The Secretary-General was accompanied by Jo-Anne Dobson MLA, Chair of the Northern Ireland CPA Branch, Northern Ireland Assembly to Lurgan College and by Brenda Hale MLA, Member of the CPA Northern Ireland Executive Committee on the visit to Dromore Central Primary School. 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; and to meet local Members of Parliament and Parliamentary staff and to find out about the work of the CPA.

With the Commonwealth’s 53 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.

The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Robin Newton MLA said: “I am delighted on behalf of the Northern Ireland Assembly to welcome the new Secretary-General to Parliament Buildings today. The CPA plays an important role in developing, strengthening and sharing good parliamentary practice in legislatures across the Commonwealth. It is important that the Assembly has the opportunity to benefit from experience elsewhere but I also know that there are Assembly initiatives which others are keen to learn from including our research and policy partnerships with local academics. The fact that Mr Khan is visiting schools during the visit is also a recognition that the Assembly and all parliamentary institutions now recognise the importance of engaging with the community and schools to increase understanding of how decisions are made.”

The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Mr Akbar Khan said: “As the CPA approaches its 105th year, we are very excited about bringing the CPA Roadshow to Northern Ireland for the first time and to engage with local students on the values that unite the Commonwealth. I am delighted to visit the Northern Ireland Branch of the CPA and to talk about the important and innovative work they are undertaking to enhance the functioning of the Assembly and to empower Assembly Members to be more effective in their work. I would like to express my sincere thanks to Jo-Anne Dobson MLA for her invitation to visit the Branch and further strengthen relations between the CPA and the Assembly.”

Jo-Anne Dobson MLA, CPA Chair, Northern Ireland Branch at the Northern Ireland Assembly said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Mr Akbar Khan to the Northern Ireland Assembly today. It’s also significant that during his two day visit he is taking the time to bring the CPA Roadshows to local schools across Northern Ireland and to meet with pupils, teachers as well as Northern Ireland Assembly Members.”

To view images of the CPA Secretary-General's visit to the CPA Northern Ireland Branch please click here.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association connects, develops, promotes and supports Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and the implementation of the enduring values of the Commonwealth. 
 
For further information about the CPA, please contact: 

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Secretariat 
Westminster House, Suite 700, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA, United Kingdom 
T: 44-20-7799-1460 
F: 44-20-7222-6073 
Email hq.sec@cpqhq.org
 
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