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Youth Engagement

CPA celebrates 110th anniversary with launch of Youth Creativity Competition and asks: ‘What will Parliaments look like in the next 110 years?'

On 18th July 2021, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) will celebrate its 110th anniversary. As the CPA celebrates this anniversary and reflects on the evolution of Parliaments over the last 110 years, it must also look forward and consider what the next 110 years may hold for Parliaments, democracy and the Commonwealth.

To help us think about the future, the CPA is turning to those who will define it: young people. On the day of our 110th anniversary, we are launching a Youth Creativity Competition for under-18s, asking them to submit their creative response to the question: ‘What will Parliaments look like in the next 110 years?’

Hear more about the competition from 2020's Commonwealth Youth Parliament delegation

Parliaments across the Commonwealth are encouraged to reach out to their young people to enter the competition by writing an essay, filming a video, designing a piece of art or creating any other piece of work that responds to the question above.

The judges will be looking for creative and imaginative entries that also show a good understanding of what a Parliament/Legislature is, why it is important now and how it might evolve in the future. One winner in each of the three age categories will win the equivalent of GBP £100 in book or gift vouchers. Winners and runners up will also have their submissions published by the CPA online.

Enter the Competition

Find full details, including the entry deadline, submission guidelines and application form
Find out more

Enter the Competition

Find full details, including the entry deadline, submission guidelines and application form
Find out more

Enter the Competition

Find full details, including the entry deadline, submission guidelines and application form
Find out more

The CPA was founded on 18th July 1911 as the Empire Parliamentary Association by Members of Parliament from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Newfoundland and South Africa. 110 years later, the membership of the CPA, which succeeded the Empire Parliamentary Association in October 1948, has grown to more than 180 Parliaments and Legislatures across the 54 countries of the ‘modern’ Commonwealth. Physically, in their composition and in the way they operate, the Parliaments of today are virtually unrecognisable from the Parliaments of 1911.

Since the founding of the CPA, the Parliament of Canada has been rebuilt after a devastating fire, the Parliament of Australia has relocated to Canberra and the UK Parliament has suffered bomb damage in the Second World War. In 2021, India, Jamaica and Eswatini are just three Commonwealth jurisdictions currently constructing new Parliament buildings as institutions continually adapt to meet the requirements of the modern world.

Interested in what the Parliaments of the Commonwealth look like today? Keep an eye out for the CPA's forthcoming 110th Anniversary book, showcasing Parliament buildings around the Commonwealth and giving an insight into their varied histories.

The membership of Commonwealth Parliaments has also undergone a transformation in the last 110 years. In 1911, there was not a single woman Member in any of the CPA’s founding Parliaments. Now, globally 25.5% of MPs are women. Rwanda leads the Commonwealth and the world with 61% women MPs, and women occupy leadership positions in many Parliaments. For example, there are now nine women Speakers across the CPA Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic Region.

In response to technological changes, Parliaments have also drastically changed how they interact with the public, becoming more open and transparent institutions. In 1977, Canada became the first country to televise live broadcasts of Parliamentary proceedings to the public. Now, Parliaments use social media, video, podcasts, email newsletters and even virtual reality to support their public engagement.

Just as its Members have undergone many transformations in the last 110 years, so has the CPA itself. Amongst its many achievements, the Association has established three formal networks, a renowned post-election seminar programme and, most recently, an online learning platform as part of the CPA Parliamentary Academy. For over 100 years, the CPA has published The Parliamentarian, the quarterly Journal of Commonwealth Parliaments. Throughout the digital era, the CPA has expanded its communications outputs, which now include online toolkits, video masterclasses and podcasts.

To find out more about the CPA 110th Anniversary Youth Creativity Competition, including the entry deadline, submission guidelines and application form, visit the competition page.

Related Resources

Engagement, Education and Outreach Handbook for Commonwealth Parliaments

This Handbook provides guidance to Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures on how to increase public engagement and outreach, to ensure the public get a greater say in how they are governed.

Commonwealth Day Youth Engagement Handbook

This Commonwealth Day Youth Engagement Handbook serves as a toolkit on how the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s branches can use Commonwealth Day as a means of public outreach and engagement for young people.

CPA Strategic Plan 2022-2025

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Strategic Plan for 2022-2025 sets out its support for our membership of 180 Commonwealth Parliaments as well as how the organisation will advance and develop support to CPA Members through focusing on six core objectives and cross cutting themes that will be mainstreamed across CPA operations and workstreams.

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