Focus on Peace-Building Commonwealth as Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) celebrates Commonwealth Day 2017 

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) has marked Commonwealth Day 2017 both in London at the CPA Headquarters Secretariat and across the CPA Regions and Branches.

Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth and Patron of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association attended celebrations in London to mark Commonwealth Day 2017 and attended one of the largest multi-faith celebration services in Westminster Abbey along with Hon. Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP, Chairperson of the CPA Executive Committee and Speaker of the Parliament of Bangladesh, accompanied by Mr Akbar Khan, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), together with Commonwealth High Commissioners, the Commonwealth Secretary-General and dignitaries from around the Commonwealth as well as senior politicians and 1,000 school children. To read Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Commonwealth Day Message 2017 please click here. 

Also attending the Commonwealth Day service were 31 young people from across the Commonwealth who were attending the CPA Commonwealth Day Youth Programme on the theme of ‘A Peace-Building Commonwealth’. The young people represented the following CPA Branches: Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, NSW, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Jersey, Malta, Northern Ireland, St Helena, United Kingdom, Wales, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos.

On Commonwealth Day 2017, the Secretary-General of the CPA, Mr Akbar Khan said: “The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association has continued its long tradition of celebrating Commonwealth Day with young people from across the Commonwealth in 2017. Building on the Commonwealth theme of ‘A Peace-Building Commonwealth’ for this year, our engagement between Parliamentarians and young people promotes peaceful resolution, dialogue and shared understanding. The promotion of a greater understanding of parliament and its role in society as well as parliamentary strengthening are key objectives of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and we look forward to continuing this in the future.”

The CPA Youth Programme on Commonwealth Day 2017 was opened by the CPA Chairperson, Hon. Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP who spoke of the importance of this year’s 2017 Commonwealth theme of ‘A Peace-Building Commonwealth’ for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association which promotes peaceful dialogue between Branches and the strengthening of Commonwealth Parliaments to achieve democratic solutions. The CPA Chairperson emphasised the need for young people to participate in politics in order to have a voice in the democratic process and also the need for all Commonwealth Parliamentarians to listen to young people in their respective jurisdictions to ensure that they represent youth voices.

The CPA Youth Programme participants heard from keynote speaker, Hon. Babirye Kityo Sarah Breeze MP, a young MP from Uganda who spoke of her experiences in parliament and working with the Youth Parliament in Uganda to build peaceful solutions to common problems. The Uganda MP was one of five visiting Members from Uganda who joined the CPA Headquarters Secretariat’s Commonwealth Day Programme.

This was followed by a round table discussion on the theme of ‘The Role of Youth in ‘A Peace-building Commonwealth” led by Hon. Vicki Dunne, MLA, CPA Treasurer and the Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory. The round table discussion included a wide range of views on the theme and different definitions of peace-building and peaceful solutions from CPA Commonwealth Day Youth participants; and Members of Parliament from across the Commonwealth, including New Zealand Parliamentarian, Hon. Paul Foster-Bell, MP, Hon YB Tuan Khoo Soo Seang, MP, House of Representatives, Parliament of Malaysia and Hon. Imran Ahmad, MP, Member of Parliament from Bangladesh. The Commonwealth Initiative on Freedom of Religion or Belief (CIFRoB) also joined the discussion. The key outcome from the round table discussion was that dialogue promotes peace and a peaceful society.

During the evening of Commonwealth Day 2017, HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall met Hon. Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP, Chairperson of the CPA Executive Committee and Mr Akbar Khan, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), together with seven of the CPA Commonwealth Youth Programme participants at the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Commonwealth Day 2017 reception at Marlborough House, London, UK.

In addition, CPA Branches and Regions across the network of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association marked Commonwealth Day in many different ways. Reports of these activities will feature on the CPA website and future issues of The Parliamentarian.

Commonwealth Day has been celebrated around the Commonwealth on the second Monday in March every year since the 1970s.

For images of the CPA Youth Programmes on Commonwealth Day 2017 please click here.

Updated 13th March 2017.

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. 
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Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
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