The Commonwealth Day theme for 2015 is “A Young Commonwealth”, recognizes the capacity, contribution and potential of young people. The realization that people aged 25 and under account for the majority of the Commonwealth’s population and the fact that they play a vital role in sustainable development and democracy inspired the theme choice. It is in essence, and opportunity to promote understanding on global issues and the international co-operation of Commonwealth organizations.
What is the Purpose of Commonwealth Day?
Commonwealth Day exists as an occasion to promote understanding on global issues, international co-operation and the work of Commonwealth organizations aimed at improving the lives of citizens.
Young people, schools, communities and societal organizations, celebrate it annually on the second Monday in March. Across the Commonwealth, the day is marked by various activities including the big multi-faith observance at Westminster Abbey in London. Each year the Observance is based on a specifically selected Commonwealth theme. The theme for 2015 is ‘A Young Commonwealth’, underlining the fact that people aged twenty-five or under account for the majority of the Commonwealth’s population, and recognizing their capacity, contribution and potential.
The History of Commonwealth Day
In 1949 the modern Commonwealth was established. It is an association of free and equal sovereign states, which had gained independence from the British Empire. There are now 53 member states with a combined population of 2.2 billion.
It is an association of governments built around shared language, institutions, challenges, aspirations and values. The Commonwealth works on a consensus model and membership is completely voluntary, which is quite different from most international associations. It is predicated mostly on a country’s commitment to upholding the shared principles including the promotion of human rights, democracy and the law. The Queen decides, each year, a theme based on an issue of importance to the Commonwealth and based on what she thinks could have an impact on the people thereof. It is aimed, not at governments, but at the people of the Commonwealth.
Themes of Commonwealth day are carefully selected to send a message to the people, and in some way, they are usually related. Since 1994, here are the annual Commonwealth themes:
1994 The Commonwealth Games
1996 Working in Partnership
2000 The Communications Challenge
2001 A New Generation
2002 Celebrating Diversity
2003 Partners in Development
2004 Building a Commonwealth of Freedom
2005 Education – Creating Opportunity, Realising Potential
2006 Health and Vitality
2007 Respecting Difference, Promoting Understanding
2008 The Environment – Our Future
2009 thecommonwealth@60 – serving a new generation
2010 Science, Technology and Society
2011 Women as Agents of Change
2012 Connecting Cultures
2013 Opportunity through Enterprise
2014 Team Commonwealth
How Can You Become Involved in Commonwealth Day
With the rise in social media campaigning, becoming involved in Commonwealth Day has never been easier. The media urges participants to get active on social media and let them know what Commonwealth Day 2015 has in store by tagging Commonwealth Posts with the hashtag: #YoungCommonwealth
To community leaders and teachers suggestions were made to hold an event during Commonwealth weak based on the idea of “A Young Commonwealth” or through celebrating the diversity and values of the Commonwealth.
Get creative with it and inspire those around you to join in and celebrate Commonwealth Day!