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  • Statement on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society

    8 September 2022 The Royal Commonwealth Society is immensely saddened to learn of the passing of our Patron, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We express our deepest sympathies and condolences to His Majesty The King, The Queen Consort and all Members of the Royal Family at this time. From her public commitment to the Commonwealth family in Cape Town, South Africa, as a young princess in 1947, and throughout her long life and reign, The Queen was an instrumental figure in nurturing and inspiring this unique, voluntary association of independent, and sovereign nations. Since becoming the Head of the Commonwealth and Patron of the Society in 1952 at the age of 26, The Queen’s dedication to the Commonwealth has been unparalleled. From her numerous official visits to nearly every Commonwealth country, to lending her name and support to programmes and events of which the Society has been honoured to deliver and support, including The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy and The Queen’s Young Leaders, Her Majesty’s commitment to the value, and values, of this network of nations and peoples is humbling and irreplaceable. Executive Chair of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Dr Linda Yueh, said: “No-one has made a greater contribution to the Commonwealth over the decades than The Queen. As Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty personally reinforced the links by which this unique network brings peoples and countries from around the globe together in common cause. Her life and tireless efforts will forever be linked to this voluntary association of 56 independent and equal, sovereign states, which encompass over 2.5 billion people, and to whom The Queen displayed an unwavering dedication. As Patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society, The Queen was unstinting and gracious in her support, attending many of our highest-profile events, including the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey and the High Commissioners’ Banquet. She also lent her name to a number of programmes that the Society has been honoured to deliver, including The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, the world’s oldest international schools’ writing contest, The Queen’s Young Leaders, and most recently The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. Her Majesty’s lifetime of indefatigable and selfless commitment to the Commonwealth and the Society will be truly missed.” NOTES TO EDITORS: About the Royal Commonwealth Society: The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) is a network of individuals and organisations committed to improving the lives and prospects of Commonwealth citizens across the world. Through youth empowerment, education and high-level advocacy, the Society champions the importance of literacy, equality and inclusion, the environment and connected communities across the Commonwealth’s 56 member nations. The Society’s unique position within the Commonwealth family allows it to play a pivotal role in convening and connecting the Commonwealth’s political and diplomatic representatives, as well as industry, civil society, academic and business leaders, on a wide range of issues. Founded in 1868, the RCS is non-partisan, independent of governments and relies on public generosity to achieve its mission. https://www.royalcwsociety.org/ The Commonwealth Service Each year, on the second Monday in March, the Royal Commonwealth Service organises the Commonwealth Service, the UK's largest, annual inter-faith celebration and premier public event to celebrate the Commonwealth at Westminster Abbey. The aim of the Commonwealth Service is to celebrate the unity, diversity, and linkages of the modern Commonwealth and to foster greater understanding of the Commonwealth’s achievements and role, particularly amongst its young people. The Commonwealth Service had the support of Her Majesty The Queen who attended the event each year since becoming Head of Commonwealth on all but three occasions. Over the years, the Service has featured contributions from Nobel Laureates Kofi Annan, Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi as well as UN Patron of Oceans, Lewis Pugh, entrepreneur, Richard Branson and British world heavyweight boxing champion, Olympic gold medallist and RCS Ambassador, Anthony Joshua OBE. https://www.royalcwsociety.org/commonwealthservice The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition (QCEC) is the world’s oldest international writing competition for schools and has been proudly delivered by the Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883. In the past decade alone, this high-profile competition has engaged over 166,000 children, over 5,000 schools and around 1,000 volunteer judges. Past winners have gone on to become leaders in their fields, including the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Mei Fong, and the renowned author, the late Elspeth Huxley CBE. The Commonwealth Essay Competition was renamed The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition in 2015 in honour of our Patron Her Majesty The Queen’s dedication to the Commonwealth. https://www.royalcwsociety.org/essay-competition The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy (QCC), was launched at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta in 2015. It presents a unique opportunity to unite the whole Commonwealth family and save one of the world's most important natural habitats - our forests. By creating a pan-Commonwealth network of forest conservation projects across all 56 Commonwealth countries, the QCC will mark Her Majesty The Queen's service to the Commonwealth while conserving indigenous forests for future generations. The QCC is the first environmental initiative in The Queen’s name and involves all but two Commonwealth nations, Togo and Gabon, who joined in the Commonwealth at the Rwanda CHOGM in June 2022. The QCC is a partnership between the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Commonwealth Forestry Association and Cool Earth. https://www.royalcwsociety.org/qcc The High Commissioners’ Banquet The Royal Commonwealth Society has been the custodian of the High Commissioners' Banquet since it held its first 'conversazione' in 1874. It quickly became the highlight of the London social scene - by 1882, over 2,000 people attended. The event ceased in the 1960s, but with the encouragement of High Commissioners was revived in 2011 and has since been an annual event for High Commissioners and senior Commonwealth representatives. For the last few years, the High Commissioners' Banquet has been held at Guildhall, in partnership with the City of London Corporation, and is an opportunity to bring together the Commonwealth's London-based diplomatic representatives and UK and Commonwealth thought and business leaders. Queen's Commonwealth Canopy Announcement - YouTube The Queen's Young Leaders (QYL) Between 2015-2018, 240 exceptional young people from across the Commonwealth received a Queen’s Young Leaders Award in recognition of the work they were undertaking to transform their lives and the lives of those around them. The now complete network of Queen’s Young Leaders, many of whom are Associate Fellows of the Society, is a unique, dedicated and powerful group of young people from Commonwealth countries who are connecting, collaborating, and changing lives together. http://www.queensyoungleaders.com/ Social media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook: @RoyalCWSociety Press contact: Elizabeth van der Valk, Head of Public Affairs E: elizabeth.vandervalk@royalcwsociety.org | T: +44 (0)20 3727 4309

  • Join our next Commonwealth Youth Exchange: Malta & the UK 2022-2023!

    Are you an inspiring young leader who is passionate about creating positive changes in your local community? In partnership with Clarion Futures, we’re offering six young people from Malta, aged 18-25 the exciting opportunity to take part in a six-month youth exchange programme, which aims to embed meaningful social action on a global scale. As part of the programme, you’ll have the chance to take part in social action projects and campaigns that make a difference, whilst receiving the training to support you along the way. As part of this programme, participants will also have the opportunity to travel to the UK (30 September - 2 October) and stay at Cumberland Lodge, a former Royal residence in Windsor Great Park, and now home to an educational foundation that seeks to empower people, through open dialogue and debate, to tackle the causes and effects of social division. An exchange will also take place in Malta in January 2023. All reasonable costs will be covered, including flights, accommodation and expenses. Bursaries to assist with the delivery of social action plans will also be considered. So if you’re passionate about making a difference in your community, we want to hear from you! Timeline: How can I apply? Applicants should submit their answers to the following questions, together with a copy of their CV and details of two references to communications@royalcwsociety.org by 23:59 BST on Monday, 29 August 2022. All applications will be acknowledged, and a member of the team will contact you if you have been successful to arrange an informal interview and provide you with more information about the programme. Please note that individual feedback will not be provided for unsuccessful applications. Please note all participants should be: 18-25 years old; A Maltese citizen; Passionate about creating positive change in your community; Have some previous experience of engaging in social action, volunteering or activism; Awareness of grassroots organisations and social action opportunities in your local area; Knowledge of young people in your community and the issues that affect them; Good communication skills; Enjoy meeting new people and would be excited to attend a 3-day residential programme in September/ October in the UK, and a 3-day youth exchange in Malta on a shared room occupancy basis; An active team member who will commit to attending all meetings and virtual training/exchange activities, as well as participate in the programme for assigned period. Have the ability to travel internationally (i.e. holder of a valid passport).

  • CYGEN: Open Call for Applications!

    The Commonwealth Youth Gender & Equality Network (CYGEN) is a youth-led network that actively promotes and supports the meaningful inclusion of youth voices on gender equality issues in local, national, regional, Commonwealth and international agendas. We seek to improve the position of young people, and advocate for increased meaningful youth engagement and participation in existing structures, processes and governance. As a Network, we facilitate opportunities for young people to voice their concerns on gender equality issues that not only affect them, but that impact the variety of communities in which they live. CYGEN is supported by the Royal Commonwealth Society, which serves as the Secretariat of the Network. Objectives 1. To ensure youth voices (from the commonwealth, and beyond) are represented in national, regional, Commonwealth, and international agendas and forums on gender equality issues. 2. To advocate for the development and implementation of policies which promote the well being of all young people. 3. To provide a space for young people living in the Commonwealth to share information and experiences related to gender equality. 4. To conduct research by youth, on youth issues from a gender equality perspective. 5. To provide technical advice on how to integrate youth voices into the development of programmes. 6. To engage with existing networks, advocacy efforts, and campaigns to increase the visibility of youth perspectives. All applicants are required to fulfill the following criteria: - Be a citizen of a Commonwealth country - Be between the ages of 18 and 29 by 31st December 2022 - Have a proven and verifiable track record of working on gender issues (academic and/or professional) - Have a genuine commitment to combating gender inequality - Identify strongly with Commonwealth values and the values of CYGEN as expressed in the Gender Agenda The deadline for membership applications is at 23:59 BST on Monday, 15 August 2022.

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  • Vacancies | Royal Commonwealth Society

    VACANCY: PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND PROGRAMME OFFICER Job location Royal Commonwealth Society 40-41 Pall Mall London SW1Y 5JQ Line Manager Chief Operating Officer Working Hours Full time 35 hours a week (flexible, but including the core hours of 10am - 4pm) Duration Permanent (six months probation) Salary £26,000 p.a. About this role: To lead on the Society’s public affairs activities, including the delivery of key Commonwealth events such as the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey, the development of a public affairs programme for the Society’s international network and the delivery of the Society’s newest programme, the Commonwealth Youth Exchange. ​ About the Royal Commonwealth Society: The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) is a network of individuals and organisations committed to improving the lives and prospects of Commonwealth citizens across the world. Through youth empowerment, education and high-level advocacy, the Society champions the importance of literacy, equality and inclusion, the environment and connected communities across the Commonwealth’s 56 member nations. The Society’s unique position within the Commonwealth family allows it to play a pivotal role in convening and connecting the Commonwealth’s political and diplomatic representatives, as well as industry, civil society, academic and business leaders, on a wide range of issues. Founded in 1868, the RCS is non-partisan, independent of governments and relies on public generosity to achieve its mission. ​ Duties and Responsibilities ​ Public Affairs and Events Assist the Chief Operating Officer to deliver the Society’s events, including the Commonwealth Day Service and Celebration at Westminster Abbey, the High Commissioners’ Banquet, and an Award Ceremony for The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition. To promote the range of Society events and initiatives to Society branches in the Commonwealth and to key contacts. To build close working relationships with stakeholders including High Commissions in London and abroad, the Commonwealth Secretariat and Royal Households. To work on building links with Accredited Commonwealth Organisations and other key contacts in governmental and voluntary sectors working on the Commonwealth and international issues. To contribute to the effective development and distribution of press releases, newsletters and other public relations material and initiatives. Responsible for the RCS website and social media accounts. ​ Commonwealth Youth Exchange Programme Lead on the Society’s development and delivery of the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Programme, including but not limited to: Work with partners to recruit participants (aged 18-25) from the UK and partner country. Develop and deliver programme content including the delivery of residential programmes in the UK and abroad. Work with a diverse group of young leaders to develop impactful social action. Stakeholder management; and Budget development and management. ​ International network Plan and deliver engagement with the Society’s International Network Support Structure (INSS), including co-ordination of INSS members in the RCS’s programmes and activities Manage the maintenance and development of database assets, online platforms and engagement mechanisms for the INSS; and Co-ordinate the identification, development and delivery of meetings, events and networking / advocacy opportunities for INSS members. ​ Other Contribute to the development of funding proposals; Contribute to the publication and dissemination of communication materials and public affairs activities, including publications, website and social media content; Provide logistical, diplomatic and event management expertise and services support to programmes where required; Represent the RCS at meetings, functions and events; and Perform any other duties and tasks as required. ​ Person Specification ​ The Public Affairs and Programme Officer should have the following characteristics: ​ Work experience / education: At least two years of experience in the workplace. A university degree or higher in a relevant field. ​ Public Affairs experience/skills: Experience of high-level and sensitive relationship and stakeholder management. Experience of working with a diverse range of people, e.g. governments, civil society and young people. Experience of delivering high profile events and projects. Experience of budget development and management. Demonstrated good decision-making ability in high pressure environments. ​ Media/communication experience/skills: Experience in addressing and engaging with individuals, clients and other target groups through meetings, presentations, the media and other events to enhance the public image of the Society. Experience in producing high quality communication materials. Communications experience, in particular social media platforms (e.g. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) as tools to market, engage and influence. Experience of using web-based content management systems. Experience of creating engaging content through use of software such as iMovie & InDesign. ​ Organisational experience/skills: Strong organisation skills, effective workload prioritisation and issue resolution. Proven ability to manage multiple, complicated projects simultaneously while meeting competing deadlines. Lateral and logical thinking and problem solving, flexible, reliable and achieves results. Experience of CRM systems/databases. ​ Please note that it will be necessary for the Public Affairs and Programme Officer to travel or attend events outside normal working hours. ​ Please be aware that applications can only be considered from individuals with the existing right to work in the United Kingdom. In line with the Society’s safeguarding policies, all applicants should be willing to undergo an Enhanced DBS check and complete all applicable security checks. To Apply Applicants should send a CV (1-2 pages) and covering letter (1 page) explaining why you would like to work for the Society and how you meet the above person specification to Bradley Sisson at bradley.sisson@royalcwsociety.org with Public Affairs and Programme Officer – (your last name)’ as the subject of your email. ​ Applications must reach us by the opening of business on Monday, 27th March 2023. Interviews will be held week commencing Monday, 10th April with a second potential interview in the following weeks for a start on Tuesday, 2nd May 2023 (flexible). We regret that, due to constraints on our capacity, we are unable to provide feedback to candidates who are not invited to interview. ​ ​

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  • Royal Commonwealth Society

    THE QUEEN'S COMMONWEALTH ESSAY COMPETITION 2022 This year, we were delighted to receive a record-breaking 26,322 entries to The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2022 from every region of the Commonwealth! We are thrilled to announce the winners as: Sawooly Li from New Zealand , Madeleine Wood from Australia , Amaal Fawzi from the United Kingdom and Maulika Pandey from India . Read their winning entries and find out more about them. Up Up The Royal Commonwealth Society is a network of individuals and organisations committed to improving the lives and prospects of Commonwealth citizens across the world. Find out more about our vision and how we aim to achieve this. OUR VISION AND MISSION OUR HISTORY Founded on 26 June 1868 as a ‘literary and scientific body’ the Society was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria a year later. Since our establishment the Society has welcomed speakers including Nelson Mandela and evolved to meet the changing nature of the Commonwealth. Up COMMONWEALTH VOICES 'Commonwealth Voices' is the Society's magazine containing observations on Commonwealth-wide news, developments and concerns, and includes high-profile guest contributions, research pieces and contemporary news. Read the latest edition. Up Sep 8, 2022 Statement on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society Aug 4, 2022 Join our next Commonwealth Youth Exchange: Malta & the UK 2022-2023! Aug 1, 2022 CYGEN: Open Call for Applications! NEWS AND BLOGS UPCOMING EVENTS QCEC AWARD CEREMONY 17 NOVEMBER 2022 A special Award Ceremony for the Winners and Runners-up of The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition 2022 will take place during Winners' Week (a week of educational and cultural activities) in London. Up HIGH COMMISSIONERS' BANQUET 5 DECEMBER 2022 Held at Guildhall in partnership with the City of London Corporation the event is an annual opportunity to bring together the Commonwealth's London-based diplomatic representatives and UK and Commonwealth community and business leaders. Up THE COMMONWEALTH SERVICE 13 MARCH 2023 Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society and held at Westminster Abbey the Commonwealth Service is the premier public event to celebrate the Commonwealth and is attended by His Majesty The King, Senior Members of the Royal Family, Commonwealth political & diplomatic representatives as well as hundreds of young people. Up

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