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CPA Secretary-General discusses the future of democracy and governance with Commonwealth students in London

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) co-hosted a colloquium on the theme of representative democracy for postgraduate students at Goodenough College in London.

Scholars, students and Commonwealth representatives convened at the historic Goodenough College campus in Bloomsbury on 20 February 2024 to deliberate on the status of representative democracy worldwide.

Alice Walpole OBE, Director of Goodenough College and a former UN Assistant Secretary-General, welcomed students to the event before CPA Secretary-General Stephen Twigg chaired two student-led panel discussions.

The first panel examined the danger of democratic backsliding. Jacob Delorme from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and Lisa James from the Constitution Unit at University College London (UCL) offered analyses of key trends in electoral and democratic participation around the world whilst Bill Muriuki and Florence Côté, postgraduate students from Kenya and Canada respectively, discussed their experiences of activism in their home countries.

The second panel delved into the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and democratic governance. Anne Gallagher, Director-General of the Commonwealth Foundation, Dr Kiran Hassan, Coordinator at the Institute for Commonwealth Studies and Lennard Metson, a researcher from the Department of Government at the London School of Economics, shared insights on AI’s impact on elections, privacy and decision-making. The deliberations underscored the imperative for ethical AI frameworks that uphold democratic values.

The event concluded with a short talk by the CPA Secretary-General Stephen Twigg, who reflected on his career in Parliament and shared his thoughts on the future of democratic governance in the Commonwealth.

Goodenough College is a postgraduate residence and educational trust in Bloomsbury, London. It offers talented postgraduates from all over the world a supportive community in which to live, study and access outstanding opportunities.

Later in the week, the CPA Secretary-General also attended the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission in the UK’s (CSC) Connect and Collaborate 2024 Conference. CSC provides the UK government’s scholarship scheme led by international development objectives. It supports the co-creation of research, innovation and solutions to enact sustainable development priorities across the Commonwealth and beyond. At the conference, the CPA Secretary-General spoke to scholars during a panel event on security, democracy and governance on the Commonwealth.

-ENDS-

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. The CPA is an international community of around 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance.
For media enquiries, please contact communications@cpahq.org.

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