You will find a full list of our Conversation Starters below and by scrolling through the numerous pages at the bottom of this page. You can also navigate through different topics using the ‘Topics of Debate’ box on the right-hand side of the screen.
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Title: Commonwealth Youth Forum Location: Caribbean Princess Cruise Ship, Port of Spain Date: 2009-11-26
On Thursday 26th November, the day that the emerging findings of the Commonwealth Conversation, Common What?, were published, representatives from the RCS presented the report to delegates at the Commonwealth Youth Forum.
Title: Launch of ‘Common What?’ at the Commonwealth People’s Forum Location: Cascadia Hotel, Port of Spain Date: 2009-11-24
The first public launch of the emerging findings of the Commonwealth Conversation – Common What? – took place during the Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF) in Port of Spain in the week before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Addressing a gathering of over 100 civil society representatives from across the Commonwealth and from Trinidad and Tobago, RCS Director Danny Sriskandarajah spoke about the process of the Commonwealth Conversation and the emerging findings printed in the report. He encouraged all participants to continue contributing to the Commonwealth Conversation online and to spread the word about it through their own civil society networks.
One of the major outcomes of the CPF was the Port of Spain Civil Society Statement which was drafted by the meeting and presented to Commonwealth Foreign Ministers on Saturday 28th November. The RCS was pleased that Commonwealth civil society acknowledged the Commonwealth Conversation in the final section of this statement about ‘revitalising the Commonwealth’ on page 31. The full civil society statement can be found here:
The CPF is organised in the lead up to each Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting by the Commonwealth Foundation. More information can be found here:
Title: Pre-CHOGM workshop at the University of the West Indies Location: Trinidad Date: 2009-11-21
On Saturday 21st November the RCS Commonwealth Conversation team took part in a pre-CHOGM discussion about the Commonwealth at the University of the West Indies. Organised by the Director of the Institute of International Relations, Professor Tim Shaw, the event looked at a wide range of issues to be dealt with by the Commonwealth.
During the event, Danny Sriskandarajah and Zoë Ware talked about the emerging findings of the Commonwealth Conversation – Common What? – and took part in a discussion. The assembled group of academics, civil society representatives and policy makers were supportive of the report and encouraged by its calls for a shake up of the Commonwealth to make it more relevant, particularly in the Caribbean.
India is under pressure to deliver a world-class Commonwealth Games in 2010. Some commentators feel it is a waste of money, like Sharda Ugra, the Sports Editor of the respected news weekly ‘India Today’:
“The Commonwealth Games are the most redundant and peculiar of sporting events.”
I think of the modern Commonwealth as a happy accident. If it did not exist it would neither be necessary nor perhaps possible to invent it. Not all member-states value Commonwealth membership for the same reasons or to the same extent. But neither of these truisms are a problem.
Title: Conversation Event at the RUSI Location: Royal United Services Institute of Regina, Canada Date: 2009-11-18
On Wednesday, November 18th, at the Royal United Services Institute of Regina, the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Canadian International Council hosted a Commonwealth Conversation event.
The speakers were the Honourable Don Toth, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and Greg Putz, Clerk of the Assembly.
They discussed the topic: “Does the Commonwealth Have a Future? The Commonwealth as seen through the 2009 conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in September 2009 in Tanzania.”
A video of a speech by the President of Tanzania was shown – calling for more support for the Commonwealth, and speakers emphasized the importance of the Commonwealth for parliamentarians and for promoting good governance.
Consensus at the meeting was that we have a lot to learn from African members of the organisation.
Martin Mulloy is the English-Speaking Union’s Director of Education. The English-Speaking Union is an international charity founded in 1918 to promote international understanding and friendship through the use of the English language.
This conversation-starter was provided by UNICEF UK.
In 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) became the first legally binding international convention to affirm human rights for all children. While great progress has been made on child rights in the past 20 years, much work remains to be done. The Commonwealth has an important part to play in ensuring that children’s rights are upheld and the CRC is implemented to create a Commonwealth fit for children.
In an interview with a Kenyan LGBT and human rights activist, the RCS hears the plight of the gay community in Kenya and Uganda and the potential role the Commonwealth could play in alleviating their problems. The interviewee claims she was attacked and ejected by Ugandan police officers from the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala, on account of her sexuality.