Opportunity Through Enterprise: The Commonwealth Theme for 2013
Every year the Commonwealth chooses a theme to provide a focus for its activities. The theme is celebrated throughout the year, with special events taking place during Commonwealth Week, including the Commonwealth Day Observance and the Commonwealth Lecture. This year the theme will be Opportunity through Enterprise.
Commonwealth Day Observance 2013
Tuesday 12 March 2013
On Monday 11 March, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma, The Rt Hon The Lord Howell of Guilford and Commonwealth High Commissioners joined 2,000 guests at the Commonwealth Day Observance at Westminster Abbey.
Her Majesty The Queen's traditional Commonwealth Day message was played in the Abbey, in which The Queen celebrated the 2013 Commonwealth theme, 'Opportunity through Enterprise'.
Entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Richard Branson spoke, highlighting the role the Commonwealth has played in the expansion of many Virgin companies, he said: "The Commonwealth is all about creating opportunities to spread good ideas across geographical barriers, nurturing talent and encouraging collaboration. It thrives through unity, but also encourages dynamism and diversity." To read the full address, click here.
Award-winning soul singer Beverley Knight, indie-rock duet The Noisettes and dance group Living The Dream performed at the Observance, Britain's largest annual inter-faith gathering.
Founding President and Executive Director of Avaaz, Ricken Patel delivered a thought-provoking speech and children's poet, John Agard, read a poem specially commissioned for the event. The last lines of which, reminded listeners that opportunity is created through hard work and enterprise.
There were 1,000 young people present in the Abbey, all of whom had won their tickets because of their involvement in enterprise, whether that was through this year's Commonwealth Essay Competition which focuses on enterprise or through projects such as Young Enterprise or the 'Ladder for London' apprenticeship campaign.
Commonwealth Day also marks the launch of the Commonwealth School Enterprise Challenge; a business competition for young people who want to make a difference in the world. The attending schools and thousands of their peers across the Commonwealth will be invited to take part.
Prince Charles Meets Essay Competition Participants
Monday 18 February 2013
On Monday 18 February, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales met students taking part in this year's Commonwealth Essay Competition
As part of an exciting day-long seminar on the 2013 Commonwealth Theme 'Opportunity through Enterprise', students aged 12 - 18 years-old attended a creative-writing workshop, where they used the Commonwealth Essay Competition as a vehicle to explore different ways of expressing their views. The students then presented their opinions on tackling youth unemployment in the Commonwealth to The Prince.
Schools that took part include Hellesdon High School, Norfolk; Impington Village College, Cambridge; Parkside Community College, Cambridge; Southfield School for Girls, Kettering; and Westminster Academy, London.
The day coincided with the recent launch of an online submission platform, through which students across the Commonwealth can quickly and easily submit their essays here.
Run by the Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883, the Commonwealth Essay Competition is the world's oldest and largest schools' international writing competition. For 2013 the competition is being run in partnership with Cambridge University Press, who will help attract new audiences to the competition.
This event comes in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Day Observance which will be taking place in Westminster Abbey on Monday 11 March, and will formally launch the Opportunity through Enterprise theme in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen and 2000 guests.
The Commonwealth Charter
Monday 18 February 2013
On 11 March, the Commonwealth marks its annual Commonwealth Day when we will celebrate this unique organisation of 54 states, representing 30% of the world's people.
This year we have an extra special reason to celebrate. For the first time in the Commonwealth's 64-year history, all of the Heads of Government belonging to the organisation have agreed to adopt a Commonwealth Charter. This means that the Commonwealth now has a single document which sets out basic values that the people of the Commonwealth believe in and which they expect their governments to support and protect.
By outlining 16 core values in the Charter, Commonwealth leaders are committing themselves to upholding democracy and human rights, promoting tolerance and respect, protecting the environment, providing access to health, education and food and recognising the positive role of young people in promoting these and other values. We hope that all people in the Commonwealth can continue to enjoy the values which their leaders have agreed to.
We are looking forward to events during Commonwealth Week (11-15 March) when the Charter will be officially launched. On Commonwealth Day, the Commonwealth Secretary-General will present a special copy of the Charter to The Queen, who is Head of the Commonwealth. British MPs and Lords will also be able to debate the Charter in Parliament.
Keep an eye on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's website for news and pictures marking the launch of the Charter, read it on the Commonwealth Secretariat's website, use the lesson plan - and tell your friends about it!
Secretary-General announces the Commonwealth Theme for 2013
22 January 2013
The Commonwealth Secretary General announced the 2013 Commonwealth Theme, Opportunity Through Enterprise, that will formally be launched at the Commonwealth Day Observance in March. Click here for more information.