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What is the Commonwealth Youth Exchange?

In partnership with Clarion Futures the Society has been delighted to deliver this pilot social action exchange programme which is designed to foster connections between young people in the UK and Cyprus whilst also seeking to identify and celebrate our common values, share learning on the global impact of COVID-19 on young people, and lead on social action projects that can change the world.

Launched in December 2020 participants took part in a virtual residential programme via zoom which included sessions with inclusions from Associate Fellows on: The Commonwealth and ‘Active Citizenship’, Social Media, Social Action and Community Change concluding with a Model CHOGM simulation.

Between January and May 2021, the Society and Clarion held monthly training workshops via zoom to assist participants with the development and delivery of their social action projects. Workshops focused on refining your message, mental health, engaging in the Commonwealth space, storytelling, video editing and what to consider in project planning.

In September 2021, we were finally able to convene all participants in London for a two-day residential programme. This began at Clarion’s Head Office where participants were joined by representatives from the RCS and partners at Clarion, the #iwill Fund, the National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. This session provided an opportunity to discuss the programme so far and serve as an introduction to some of the projects which focused on various issues including mental health, LGBT rights, intergenerational dialogue, culture and heritage and sustainable fashion. A visit to the Cyprus High Commission and meeting with the High Commissioner presented a similar opportunity. During the residential participants also visited Westminster Abbey, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Houses of Parliament.

Next steps: between January and April 2022 participants will have the opportunity to engage in monthly workshops/ webinars to further their knowledge of the Commonwealth and key global issues such as climate change before convening in Cyprus for the second residential at the beginning of May. In Cyprus participants will be presented with the opportunity to meet members of the diplomatic and political community, share their learnings with one another and experience Cypriot culture.