News and publications News & Blog Commonwealth Day: Celebrations across the globe Alongside the Commonwealth Service organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society in London each year, Commonwealth Day is marked across the 54 countries through the coordination of many of RCS branches. Their work and commitment to the Commonwealth theme: Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming, is a testament to how the Commonwealth truly is a connected community. Commonwealth Society of Bangladesh The Commonwealth Society of Bangladesh organised a seminar on Commonwealth Day (Monday, 9 March 2020), at Baridhara Diplomatic Club in Dhaka. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. A. K. A. Momen MP was present as Chief Guest whilst the High Commissioners for Canada, the Maldives, the United Kingdom were also in attendance. Vice-President of the Commonwealth Society of Bangladesh and former State Minister for Foreign Affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury presented the keynote paper on this year's theme, Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming. The seminar began with a welcome address from A. J. M. Enamul Islam, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Society of Bangladesh and the seminar was presided over by M. Mokammel Haque, President of the Society. RCS Auckland Branch The Commonwealth Day Service 2020 was held in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland as a joint celebration by the Cathedral Community and the Royal Commonwealth Society Auckland Branch. President of the RCS Auckland Branch reads Her Majesty The Queen's Commonwealth Day Message. The Service included the Band of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, A Colour Party provided by a New Zealand Defence Force Cadet Unit, the Auckland Girls Choir, the Cathedral Choir and a troupe of Sri Lankan dancers. The Band of the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Cathedral Choir The Auckland Girls Choir led by Leonie Lawson ONZS (previous president of the RCS Auckland) Four members of faiths took part in the Service alongside members of the New Zealand Parliament, City Councillors, and twelve members of the Auckland Consular Corps. A special guest was former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Sir Don McKinnon ONZ GCVO. RCS Canberra Branch The richness of Canberra's diverse community was on display at a joyful and uplifting multi-faith, multi-cultural celebration of Commonwealth Day attended by the Governor-General of Australia, H.E. General David Hurley and Mrs Hurley in the chapel of the Centre of Christianity and Culture. The 2020 theme for The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition, Climate Action and the Commonwealth, was addressed by the Centre's Executive Director, The Rt. Reverend Professor Stephen Prickard, whose message was made all the stronger by reference to the recent bushfires that ravaged much of the Eastern coast of Australia, including one-third of the Australian Capital Territory, thousands of hectares of forest and an estimated one billion animals. Canberra's faith communities at the celebrations included Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Sikh, Baha'i, Jain and Buddhist on whose behalf statements pertinent to their core beliefs were read by two of their members. More cultural performances came from the Gujarat Samaj Indian Women dancers, the African Gospel Choir, the Chorus of Women singing Lament for Gala and the Canberra Men's Choir with What a Wonderful World, ending with all those present singing the Australian National Anthem, and, after the Blessing and Dismissal, We are Australian, the chorus of which matched the occasion so aptly: We are one, but we are many,And from all the lands on earth we come. We'll share a dream and sing with one voice, I am, you are, we are Australian. RCS Cayman Islands Branch Celebrations to commemorate Commonwealth Day in the Cayman Islands were launched with the annual Observance Church Service at St. George's Anglican Church. Nationals of Commonwealth member countries who are resident in or visiting the Cayman Islands were especially encouraged to attend. The church was filled to capacity. Mr Lemuel Hurlston, CVO MBE JP, the Honorary Representative for the RCS Cayman Islands Branch, gave the welcome. His Excellency Governor Martyn Roper, OBE, read The Queen's Commonwealth Day Message. Priest-in-Charge, the Reverend Father Jerome Small (above), presided over the service. He was assisted by the Reverend Ruth Stephenson of the Covenant Moravian Church. Uniformed youth groups such as the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Brownies and Girl Guides and students participated in the service, preceded by a brief march led by the Scouts Band. The collection was donated to the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre. Elsewhere, the Cayman Islands Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association hosted the thirteenth annual meeting of the Cayman Islands Youth Parliament in the Legislative Assembly. Twenty-five secondary and post-secondary students had the opportunity to act as members of the Legislative Assembly for a day, debating two motions: the regulation of the use of e-cigarettes in the Cayman Islands and changing the voting age from 18 to 16 years and introducing a political studies course in high schools. Meanwhile, schools across the Cayman Islands were invited and encouraged to participate in The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition 2020, shared in morning assemblies, hosted exhibitions, and participated in flag parades or storytelling. RCS Nigeria Branch RCS Nigeria Branch's Commonwealth Day celebration was hosted by the Federal Ministry of Education in Abuja. Guests at the event included the Honourable Minister of Education, Honourable Minister of State for Education, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, High Commissioners of Malaysia, Jamaica, Australia, Tanzania, India, Canada (Acting), the United Kingdom (Deputy) and Executive Secretary, National University Commission. Director, Education Support Services Department, of Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs Giginna read Her Majesty The Queen's Commonwealth Day Message at the event. Other speakers at the event included Honourable Minister of Education, Honourable Minister of State for Education, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, High Commissioners of Malaysia, Jamaica, Australia and India. The flags of the Commonwealth member states were paraded at the event and there was a cultural dance performed by students representing different schools. RCS Dominica The Roundtable of the Commonwealth countries in the Dominican Republic held a meeting with managers of chambers of commerce and other business entities for Commonwealth Day. during which its president Fernando González Nicolás, highlighted the influence that these nations exercise over the local economy, as a source of investment as a destination for exports. In the commemorative meeting, which was chaired by British Ambassador, Chris Campbell, González Nicolás stressed that national exports to the countries of the Commonwealth are the second most important destination, after the United States. Roberto Herrera, Chris Campbell, Fernando González, Collin Holditch, Fracesca Ortiz, Dharmendra Basita, Leonel Melo, Norman De Castro, Gustavo De Hostos, Edmundo Gil. This event was attended by Collin Holditch, Consul General of Canada; Leonel Melo, president of the British Chamber of Commerce; Gustavo de Hostos, President of the Canadian Dominican Chamber; Dermendra Basita, President of the Chamber of Commerce of India and Edmundo Gil, President of the Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago. González Nicolás said that the chambers of commerce play a leading role in the development of trade, investment and exports between countries. He said: "It's also worth noting that the main exporters have been companies from the countries of the Commonwealth, especially in the mining sector." The President of the Roundtable of Commonwealth Countries in the Dominican Republic expects the nation to continue increasing its relations with Commonwealth countries, for mutual benefit. He said: "For this reason, we urge the current Dominican rulers and future ones to come, to continue taking measures to protect foreign investment through guaranteeing legal security and establishing legislation that is attractive to international investors, who in the end are the ones to invest". (Adapted from Dominica Today for the purpose of this post. Read the full article). RCS Vancouver Island The Royal Commonwealth Society Vancouver Island (RCS VI) celebrated Commonwealth Day with an opportunity for 100 people. Dr. David Spence, President, acknowledged the meeting gathered on L'kwungun Territory. The CHOGM theme, Delivering a Common Future, was highlighted with 14 literary achievements by B.C. youth that were submitted to The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition. Certificates were presented by the B.C. Lieutenant Governor, who also read The Queen's Commonwealth Day Message. With over 60 branches active worldwide, the Royal Commonwealth Society and its international networks champion the improvement of livelihoods and prospects for people across the Commonwealth. Commonwealth Day allows us to come together and celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of this global community. Across the globe, we re-commit ourselves to delivering a common future as we continue to connect people to each other for the betterment of their communities. Find a branch in your local area and learn more about how you can get involved.