The first annual Commonwealth Conference was held from 10-12 November 2010, at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, UK.
Jointly organised by the CSC, the Commonwealth Foundation and the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICS), the conference explored what it means to be a citizen of the Commonwealth in the 21st century, and brought together academics from across the Commonwealth as well as Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows to think about issues relevant to the Commonwealth.
Citizenship and the Commonwealth: The Active Commonwealth Citizen, a report based on papers presented at the Commonwealth Conference, was published in October 2011, to be presented to the Commonwealth People’s Forum preceding the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia, later that month.
Rouan Wilsenach (2010 Commonwealth Scholar from South Africa, MA Creative Writing, University of East Anglia) noted that:
The concept of “active citizenship” arose early on, and this idea of educating and empowering people living in Commonwealth countries became the major thrust of discussion during the conference.
Natasa Mavronicola (2010 Commonwealth Scholar from Cyprus, CPGS Human Rights, University of Cambridge) said:
To call the Commonwealth Conference illuminating would be an understatement. Far from a traditional academic conference, this provided the platform for multidisciplinary discourse. Moreover, it enabled discussion amongst people from an enormous range of backgrounds, allowing us to face issues that divide and unite us and to address them with mutual respect and support.
Above all, we left the conference with an appreciation of how fortunate we are and a real sense of duty to those who have been less fortunate than us – it is by reaching out to them in every way possible that we will be able to fulfil the true meaning of citizenship.
Photos from the conference are up on Flickr