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UK Foreign Secretary Launches Commonwealth Conversation

Jul 23, 2009, 7:07 AM

The UK Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon. David Miliband MP, and the Director of the RCS, Dr Danny Sriskandarajah, on Monday 20th July 2009, launched the Commonwealth Conversation at the Royal Commonwealth Society.

As the Commonwealth celebrates its 60th anniversary, the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) is kicking off an ambitious public consultation on the future of the 53-member association. Using online discussion forums, focus groups, opinion polling, and events around the world, the consultation will generate ideas for how to re-vitalise the Commonwealth for the 21st Century. The conversation is sponsored by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, but independently managed by the RCS, the oldest and largest civil society organisation devoted to the Commonwealth. Findings will be presented to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago in November.

"Our polls show that not enough people know much about the Commonwealth or have reason to love it. The Commonwealth Conversation is a rare and important opportunity for people to shape the future of their association", said Dr Danny Sriskandarajah, Director of RCS

"There are two billion people out there who are members of the Commonwealth family and I don't think we have done a good enough job talking to them about the future of the Commonwealth. I welcome not just the substance of the Conversation but the process as well", David Miliband MP, UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs said.

"It is very important that there is a continuing dialogue about the Commonwealth among its peoples. I therefore welcome the Commonwealth Conversation, and look forward to the new ideas that it will bring," H.E. Kamlesh Sharma, Commonwealth Secretary-General stated.