09 March 2010

More than 100 young people from all over Northamptonshire will be taking part in a Commonwealth Youth Summit on Friday (12th March 2010).

Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society in collaboration with the Northamptonshire County Council, the Summit will unite over 120 young people aged 14-17 years from Northamptonshire schools.

Participants will play the roles of Commonwealth prime ministers, presidents, foreign ministers and journalists, to debate pressing global issues such as health, education and poverty. This will be a unique opportunity for Northamptonshire’s young people to voice their opinions to their politicians.

Selected representatives from the Northamptonshire event will then be invited to attend a National Commonwealth Youth Summit in London in April 2010. There, they will meet with other young people from across the UK and put their ideas to Commonwealth leaders, including the Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma.

This education initiative aims to promote understanding of the modern Commonwealth, international affairs and global interdependence, and to develop young people’s leadership, public speaking and political literacy skills.

Dr Danny Sriskandarajah, Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society said: “Over half of the Commonwealth’s 2 billion people are under the age of 25. They will shape our future and their opinions and ideas matter enormously. I very much look forward to seeing the views of Northamptonshire’s young people put forward to local and Commonwealth leaders.”

Councillor Andrew Grant, county council cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We’re delighted to be working with our local schools and the Royal Commonwealth Society on this event. We hope it will promote understanding among our schoolchildren of global issues, international co-operation and the work of the Commonwealth to improve the lives of its 2 billion citizens.”

Both days of the Summit will be held at Caroline Chisholm School, Northampton.

On Day 1, under the leadership of young facilitators provided by the Royal Commonwealth Society, students will learn about the Commonwealth and its development goals. Particular attention will be paid to the goals relating to health and education.

On Day 2, students will debate education and health issues in the morning and in the afternoon, they present their communiqué to a group of dignitaries which will include the Mayor of Northampton, the Lord Lieutenant and the council’s director for children and young people.

Information about the Royal Commonwealth Society:

Founded in 1868, the RCS is an educational charity that aims to promote international understanding through its range of events and youth programmes. These include the world’s oldest and largest school’s writing competition, an international youth leadership programme, photography and filmmaking awards.

Headquartered at the Commonwealth Club in London, the RCS has some 5,000 members in the UK and a presence in 40 Commonwealth countries through a network of branches and Commonwealth societies. The RCS is a registered charity in England & Wales (226748). See www.thercs.org

The modern Commonwealth was established with 8 members in 1949. In 2010, it has 54 members with a total population of nearly 2 billion. It is an association of governments and peoples, built around shared language, institutions, challenges, aspirations and values. The Commonwealth promotes democracy, development, and diversity within its member countries and across the world.