This week is Commonwealth Week – which kicked off with Commonwealth Day on Monday 11 March.To mark the event officially, I joined the other High Commissioners accredited to the Republic of Namibia to travel to State House to deliver Her Majesty the Queen’s annual Commonwealth Message to President Hifikepunye Pohamba.
The theme of this year’s Commonwealth Day was ‘Opportunity through Enterprise’ and the message was a celebration of the organisation’s achievements – to quote Her Majesty: “particularly those that may have seemed challenging, daunting or even impossible, which have helped to build strength, resilience and pride in our young people, in our communities and in our nations.”
A full copy of the message can be accessed here.
The message goes to the heart of the Commonwealth approach: individuals and communities finding ways to strive together to create a better future that is beneficial for all.
To quote the message further, the Commonwealth’s “shared values of peace, democracy, development, justice and human rights.. mean that we place special emphasis on including everyone in this goal, especially those who are vulnerable.”
In her message Her Majesty also encouraged us all to reflect on how the Commonwealth theme applies to us individually – and think about what can be gained with a bold heart, dedication, and teamwork.
She urged: “Let us bear in mind the great opportunity that is offered by the Commonwealth – of joining with others, stronger together, for the common good.”
The theme of ‘looking to the modern day Commonwealth as an opportunity’ was carried through to the glittering gala dinner I attended last night in Windhoek to help raise funds for the Commonwealth’s Diamond Jubilee Trust. The event was organised by Namibia’s national focal point for the Trust, SWAPO Chief Whip, Professor Peter Katjavivi, who was appointed by the President to lead Namibia’s contribution to the Trust.
The Trust was established last year to mark Her Majesty’s 60 years as head of the Commonwealth with the creation of a trust to raise funds throughout member countries, and work with strategic partners to identify charitable projects that will enrich the lives and opportunities of all its citizens – across generations and geographical boundaries – in order to provide a lasting legacy for HM The Queen. The Trust is focussing on two main themes: combating avoidable blindness and supporting leadership initiatives to build capacity amongst the Commonwealth’s youth. Both worthy causes and it was great that the Namibian government could host such a very worthy event.