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In Commonwealth member countries, 2023 is the Year of Youth. At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2022, leaders declared 2023 as a year dedicated to youth-led action for sustainable and inclusive development. Leaders of the 56 Commonwealth countries have demonstrated their commitment to tackling the endemic challenges facing children and young people. Their landmark declaration at the end of the 2-day Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) came on the heels of the devastating global pandemic that released a tsunami of health, education, economic, employment and safe-guarding challenges, and aimed to get youth development on track for global-agreed development goals deadlines.


Their 22-page communique included commitments which will specifically benefit young people such as the landmark Kigali Declaration on Child Care and Protection Reform. Among ten key commitments in the bold, standalone declaration, Heads pledged to: make health systems strong enough to withstand the shocks of future pandemics - particularly with a specific focus on protecting children; boost child protection and safeguarding resources and tackle the root issues that lead to children needing to be put into care and protection; collaborate with development agencies to boost aid and development assistance for children and young people; and support data collection so that interventions are targeted, and evidence-based.


Other key commitments at the end of their meeting included: To implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and tailoring support to those with disabilities to address the unique challenges of Covid-19. To prioritise the education reforms agreed at the 21st Commonwealth Conference of Education Ministers, which focused on resilience and sustainability; learning technologies; leadership in education; transitions within and outside the education system; addressing disparities; and financing of education. Critically, they are committed to offering 12 years of quality and inclusive education and ensuring children can catch up on the learning they lost during the pandemic.


The Commonwealth Secretariat’s youth development work is delivered through the Commonwealth Youth Programme, which has been supporting member countries for 50 years. The Commonwealth sees young people aged 15 to 29 as assets to a country’s development who should be empowered to realise their potential. Young people have a proven capability to lead change, and are a vital and valuable investment for now and the future.

In the feature picture, Malawi High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Thomas Bisika, interacts with Pierre- Emeric Aubamayeng, a striker for Premier League side Chelsea Football Club.

The Commonwealth Diplomatic Reception was held in the Jubilee Room at Westminster Hall. Organized by the Conservative Friends of the Commonwealth (CFOC), the event brought together diplomats and politicians from all over the Commonwealth to discuss important issues and strengthen relationships.


The reception provided a platform for open dialogue and mutual understanding between Commonwealth countries. Attendees discussed a range of topics, including trade, investment, and cultural exchange. The importance of cooperation and collaboration in tackling global challenges such as climate change and economic inequality was also emphasized.


Among the attendees was the Malawi High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Thomas Bisika. He spoke passionately about the need for closer ties between Commonwealth countries. He highlighted the many opportunities for partnership and collaboration that exist within the Commonwealth, and encouraged attendees to explore these opportunities further.


The event was also attended by members of the CFOC, who spoke about their organization's mission to promote trade, investment, and cultural exchange between Commonwealth countries. They emphasized the importance of building strong relationships between Commonwealth countries in order to achieve shared goals and objectives.


In conclusion, the Commonwealth Diplomatic Reception was a truly inspiring event. It brought together diplomats and politicians from all over the Commonwealth to discuss important issues and strengthen relationships. The event showcased the many opportunities for cooperation and collaboration that exist within the Commonwealth, and provided a platform for important discussions and relationship building. #Commonwealth #CFOC #WestminsterHall


Ben Delo Opening Remarks 


On Thursday, May 11th, 2023, the Malawi High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Thomas Bisika attended the launch of the Ben Delo Scholarship for Civil Servants.

The Ben Delo Scholarship for Civil Servants is a new programme that aims to provide mid-career civil servants of Commonwealth member states with the opportunity to study online short courses at the International School for Government at King’s College London. The programme is funded by British entrepreneur, mathematician and philanthropist Ben Delo, who believes that the Commonwealth is an increasingly important international network that strengthens connections, shares knowledge and skills, and spreads prosperity.

The programme offers civil servants from across the Commonwealth the chance to study from the diverse curriculum of post-graduate level, online, four-week short courses, all designed to build impact and effectiveness across policymaking and good governance. The courses blend academic rigour and practical application to equip Commonwealth civil servants with the skills they need to optimise their professional impact and effectiveness, and advance in their careers. Each course has been developed by leading academics in partnership with digital entrepreneurs, politicians, policymakers, design experts and other practitioners.


The programme aims to support as many as 100 students in the 2023 calendar year. In order to be eligible, candidates must be civil servants of Commonwealth countries (which includes British Overseas Territories) and have at least three years’ relevant work experience.

The Ben Delo Scholarship for Civil Servants is a testament to Ben Delo’s vision and generosity, as well as King’s College London’s commitment to providing opportunities for talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required to advance in their careers. The programme is expected to have a positive impact on the development and career prospects of some of the Commonwealth’s most promising public sector professionals, as well as on the quality and effectiveness of public policies and services in their respective countries.

Amongst the invited dignitaries was Her Excellency Kisha Abba Grant, High Commissioner for Grenada and Ms Janet Charles, Acting High Commissioner for Dominica. Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, Secretary General of the Commonwealth was the Guest of Honour.

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