July 1, 2017
Today marks a special time for Canada as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of our country! From coast to coast to coast, Canadians of all backgrounds will come together to celebrate our accomplishments and reflect on the future. On this day, we are thrilled to announce the release of a film project celebrating the history and contributions of the Royal Commonwealth Society of Canada. The film (view here) was made possible through a generous donation from the estate of Brian Graves, a long time supporter and patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society.
The Royal Commonwealth Society of Canada promotes Commonwealth initiatives both within Canada, and around the world. Since Confederation, Canada has played an important role in the Commonwealth and we will continue to do so in the months and years ahead. On this Canada Day, let us reflect on our place in the Commonwealth of Nations and come together to celebrate our shared Canadian identity.
On this special day, Canada's 150th Anniversary, we encourage all Canadians to engage with the Commonwealth. Join us today in commemorating Canada Day and celebrating the best parts of what it means to be Canadian!
Royal Commonwealth Society of Canada
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Halifax, Nova Scotia
10:00 am, Sunday, March 12, 2017
St Paul's Anglican Church
1749 Argyle Street
12:30 pm Reception Westin Nova Scotian Hotel
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Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
7:00 pm, Monday, March 13, 2017
St James' Presbyterian Church
35 Fitzroy Street
Light refreshments will follow
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7:00 pm, Monday, March 13, 2017
Kehillat Beth Israel
1400 Coldrey Avenue
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11:00 am, Sunday, March 12, 2017
Yorkminster Park Baptist Church
1585 Yonge Street
Reception to follow
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5:00 pm, Tuesday, March 14, 2017
10 Kennedy Street
Dinner will be served
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5:00 pm, Monday, March 13, 2017
Brigadier James Curry Jefferson Armoury
11630 109th Street
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Victoria, British Columbia
11:45 am, Monday, March 13, 2017
1401 Rockland Avenue
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At a time of increasing instability and uncertainty in the world, the Commonwealth family of nations in its rich diversity becomes an ever more-needed source of strength and hope for all its members. ‘A peace-building Commonwealth’ is a natural follow-on from 2016’s theme of ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’, and reaffirms the Commonwealth Charter principle that ‘international peace and security, sustainable economic growth and development and the rule of law are essential to the progress and prosperity of all’.
Did you know study abroad and student exchange programs
in Commonwealth countries are available for Canadian university students?
Please view available programs
Note: This spreadsheet list will be updated regularly as new programs are made available. Please check back often.
Greetings RCS Canada Members,
The Royal Commonwealth Society of Edmonton is pleased to invite you to the 2017 National Commonwealth Conference in Edmonton, Alberta, June 1-4, 2017.
Our conference theme is Canada: Celebrating 150 years and The Commonwealth.
The conference will include a series of educational and celebratory events, in addition to the RCS Canada 2017 Annual General Meeting.
Please view the Conference Registration Form, which includes the hotel information. Note that there is an early-bird discount rate if you register prior to April 1, 2017.
Our program is still coming together, but as of now the Chief Archivist of the Hudson's Bay Company will be doing one of our Education sessions. We have invites out with some high-calibre speakers that will hopefully comprise a good program for the conference. As our program shapes up, we will let everyone know.
As well, we are looking for sponsors of the conference, if you know of any companies, organizations, individuals, or governments that might be able to help us out plesae advise. Also, if anyone has any questions regarding the conference, please collect them and send an email to me. I am also availble to teleconference into any branch RCS meetings if desired.
I hope you have a very Happy Holidays and I look forward to seeing you in Edmonton in Spring of 2017!
RCS Board 1st. Vice Chair
Edmonton Branch Chair
“Today and everyday, let us remember and honour those Canadians who have bravely fought in defense of Canada, the Commonwealth, and the freedoms we enjoy today. Past and present, the Canadian Armed Forces have worked on our behalf to secure peace on the international stage and serve the world through our peacekeeping missions."
"On this day, we recognize not only the past but also the members of our Armed Forces who continue to risk their lives for Canada. Each of us must continue to uphold our solemn obligation to our country’s men and women in uniform, our veterans, and their families. From coast to coast to coast, these men and women exemplify true patriotism and the best of what it means to be Canadian."
“Please join us in expressing our gratitude to all those who have acted so courageously to keep us safe. Let us come together to thank and support those who have protected us without fail. We will remember them.”
Royal Commonwealth Society of Canada (2016)
On 23 June, after a long campaign, the UK voted to leave the European Union in an historic referendum. As the UK reacts to the implications of this decision, the positive consequences of the UK’s membership of the Commonwealth should also be considered. Read the Royal Commonwealth Society’s full statement.
The Queen’s Young Leader Award recognises and celebrates exceptional people aged 18-29 from across the Commonwealth, who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives. Winners of this prestigious Award will receive a unique package of training, mentoring and networking, including a one-week residential programme in the UK during which they will collect their Award from Her Majesty The Queen. Applications for the 2017 Award are open until September 4th, 2016. See the Award website for eligibility details and to apply - www.queensyoungleaders.com
On June 9th, 2016, the Queen launched the Commonwealth Hub, bringing the main offices of the Commonwealth Games Federation, the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum a building to be renamed the Commonwealth House. What makes this move so noteworthy is that the site sits just across the street from Malborough House, the headquarters of the Commonwealth in London. Malborough House already houses the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Commonwealth Foundation and the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators allowing the seven Commonwealth-accredited organizations greater opportunities to partner, collaborate and innovate in the future.
RCS Canada and local RCS Ottawa Branch attended a Civil Society Roundtable meeting with Commonwealth Secretary Designate, Baroness Patricia Scotland, on March 24th at Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa to discuss the views of Canadian civil society organizations in regards to the Commonwealth and its goals after CHOGM 2015.
Pictured left to right:
Carolyn McMaster, RCS Canada
Alison Bloom, Co-Chair National Student Commonwealth Forum, RCS Ottawa
Judith Elson, President RCS Canada
Baroness Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary-General Designate
Basil Crozier, Vice-President Education & Communications, RCS Ottawa
Eleanor Ryan, Secretary, RCS Canada
Jenny Stodola, Vice-Chair Youth, RCS Canada
Vancouver Island branch member Donna Petroski, seen here receiving the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award from His Excellency, David Johnston, Governor General of Canada March 4th 2016, The Chan Centre, University of British Columbia.
Congratulations from members of the Vancouver Island Branch and the entire family of the Royal Commonwealth Society of Canada. We are so proud of you!
As Commonwealth Secretary-General it has been my privilege in the past eight years to visit every one of our 53 member states. I have seen the attraction of the Commonwealth connection: the exceptional regard that it enjoys, and the sense of kinship and affinity that informs it. There is a bond within the Commonwealth that sets us apart.
Partnership based on shared Commonwealth values and principles, especially mutual respect, is treasured. The Commonwealth sets a high premium on being inclusive - our theme for the year - and on being all-embracing and leaving no one behind, whether nationally or globally. The Commonwealth is particularly affirming and encouraging of our young citizens as nation builders.
Wherever we live in the Commonwealth, we can always benefit from being open to the ideas and encouragement of those around us. Each of us can also make a positive difference in the lives of others by being willing to contribute and offer support.
This is an essential ingredient of belonging to the Commonwealth: the willingness to share, to exchange and to act for the common good. By including others, drawing on collective insights, knowledge and resources, and thinking and working together, we lay the foundations of a harmonious and progressive society. The greater the diversity of those included in such a shared enterprise, the greater the gains. Each of us has cause to celebrate the sense of belonging expressed in our 2016 theme: 'An Inclusive Commonwealth'.
OTTAWA—The theme of this year’s Commonwealth Day is “An Inclusive Commonwealth.”
In 1931, Canada joined this association that today includes 53 countries. Its vision is to create and sustain a Commonwealth that is mutually respectful, resilient, peaceful and prosperous and that cherishes quality, diversity and shared values.
As The Queen’s representative in Canada, I am proud that our country is continuously looking for opportunities to include everyone, to celebrate our rich diversity and to reinforce the vision espoused by the countries that make up the Commonwealth.
As Commonwealth Day approaches, it is appropriate for us to remember the Commonwealth theme for 2016: “An Inclusive Commonwealth”. As we gather with friends and families for ceremonies on March 13th or 14th, let us think of other branches gathering across the country and also of the RCS groups around the world meeting for the same reason.
The Commonwealth is unique. It is a unity of diversity; its peoples are united by common goals as they work to improve the lives of others. Challenges are met and difficulties are overcome by determination, hard work, and by the support of the entire Commonwealth community. We should be proud to be members of this Commonwealth family.
This year, I am delighted to have an invitation to join the Vancouver Island Branch for Commonwealth Day. Fortunately, this has coincided with a personal visit to Victoria. To all of you across Canada, I send my best wishes for Commonwealth Day and for the year ahead.
Chair - The Royal Commonwealth Society of Canada
This year’s theme celebrates the diversity of the Commonwealth, which is made up of more than two billion people. Every one of them is different, and each of them has something unique to offer. The Commonwealth Charter asserts that everyone is equal and deserves to be treated fairly, whether they are rich or poor, without regard to their race, age, gender, belief or other identity. The Commonwealth builds a better world by including and respecting everybody and the richness of their personalities.
The theme informs events organised by governments, schools, community groups and individuals to celebrate Commonwealth Day, and helps to guide activities by Commonwealth organisations throughout the year.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said: “An Inclusive Commonwealth refers to the values of tolerance, respect and understanding, as well as equity and fairness, set out in the Commonwealth Charter, and the richness of the Commonwealth as a family of nations in which each member state is valued equally and has an equal voice.
“In changing times, the need for the Commonwealth to act as an inclusive network for mutual support, development and growth of opportunity and rights for all is as great as ever.”
Commonwealth Day is marked every year on the second Monday in March. In 2016 it is celebrated on 14 March.
The overarching theme for 2016 is ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’, which is also the 2016 Commonwealth Year theme, and a topical theme for today’s youth. Both Senior and Junior topics give young people the opportunity to think about aspects of the theme such as: the significance of community; the importance of diversity and difference; the question of belonging; the values of tolerance, respect and understanding; and the sense of shared responsibility that exists within the Commonwealth today. The topics are a chance to develop critical thinking and to express views in a creative manner. Deadline for entries is May 1, 2016 - Submit Today.
The recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta, strongly reinforced the principles and values of The Commonwealth Charter. The theme of the 2015 summit was “The Commonwealth – Adding Global Value”. In particular, this year’s CHOGM emphasized key areas, including: strengthening democracy and the rule of law; creating economic opportunity; empowering young leaders; championing small states; promoting inclusive development; achieving human rights for all; and, promoting public service reform. For the complete final Heads of Government Leaders’ statement, please view here
In what has been a true breakthrough for gender equality in the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland of Dominica was selected new Secretary-General - the first woman to hold the post. Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat made the announcement at a press conference during the Commonwealth summit.
Baroness Scotland, former UK Attorney General, will take office on 1 April 2016 as the sixth Secretary-General since the Commonwealth Secretariat was established in 1965. She will replace Kamalesh Sharma of India, whose eight-year tenure comes to an end in March next year.
Responding to a question about the high number of Commonwealth countries that violate LGBTI rights, Baroness Scotland said that if the Commonwealth choses to work together it will find a way to bring about this necessary change.
She stated: “Human rights and development go hand in hand. We will walk with and work with our partners to help everyone appreciate human dignity.”
In her final remarks, Baroness Scotland pledged to prioritise gender equality and combat domestic violence.
“I am incredibly proud to be the first woman Secretary-General,” she concluded.
There is no formal job description for the post of Secretary-General. Candidates must be citizens of Commonwealth countries and can only serve two terms of four years. The role is to promote and protect Commonwealth values and principles set out in the Commonwealth Charter, represent the Commonwealth globally and manage the Commonwealth Secretariat and its various programmes.
The Secretary-General facilitates consultation and is responsible for convening the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings, Commonwealth Ministerial Meetings and a range of other meetings. The Secretary-General maintains contact with Commonwealth governments as well as with civil society and other leaders. Another important function is to exercise ‘Good Offices’ when the Commonwealth’s fundamental values are threatened or when political tensions arise in member states.
The post of Secretary-General was created together with the Commonwealth Secretariat at the 1965 Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference in London. Since then there have been six incumbents: Kamalesh Sharma (2008-2016) of India; Sir Don McKinnon of New Zealand (2000-2008); Chief Emeka Anyaoku of Nigeria (1990-2000); Sir Shridath ‘Sonny’ Ramphal of Guyana (1975-1990); and Arnold Smith of Canada (1965-1975).
Baroness Patricia Scotland, Sixth Commonwealth Secretary-General.
On Monday 23 November 2015, eight Nova Scotia students who received awards from the Royal Commonwealth Society Essay Competition were hosted at Government House by His Honour, Brigadier General J. J. Grant, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. This invitation generated a great deal of excitement and was very much appreciated by both the students and their parents.
Judith Elson, Chair of the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) of Canada, will be attending the Women’s Commonwealth Forum 22-24 November prior to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta November 27-29. Her particular interest in the Women’s Forum is in the sphere of early and forced marriage, an issue in which she has been interested and involved with for many years.
The inaugural Commonwealth Women's Forum aims to raise awareness of women’s issues in Commonwealth countries and show how women’s contributions can have a positive impact politically, economically and socially. It is being organized in collaboration with the gender section of the Commonwealth Secretariat, will discuss the impact women have on their communities, their countries and the world. Participants will craft an Outcome Document stemming from their discussions to present to Commonwealth leaders at the CHOGM later in the month.
Born and educated in England, Judith has travelled widely and now lives in Montreal where she was Chair of the Montreal Branch of the RCS for many years. She also coordinated the Royal Commonwealth Essay Competition during that time. Judith currently serves as a judge for the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition at the senior level.
Judith is involved in other organisations which gives her opportunities to promote the Commonwealth and everything for which it stands. She believes it is important to be informed about all the Commonwealth countries and to spread that information as widely as possible. At the Commonwealth Women’s Forum, Judith expects to meet many delegates informally as well as in the plenary sessions and workshops to discuss a wide range of interconnecting women’s issues across the Commonwealth.
Learn more about the Commonwealth Women’s Forum: view link
Contact: Joe Zazada 780-218-5630
Peter Meincke 613-692-2785
Joshua Mazur of Ottawa, and Aden Mohammed Hamza of London Ontario are accredited Canadian delegates to the Commonwealth Youth Forum 21-25 November. (https://chogm2015.mt/fora/youthforum) held prior to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta 27-29 November.
The Youth Forum aims to achieve cross-cultural connection and learning among participants from all the Commonwealth countries, and reach a consensus on policies relating to the challenges and opportunities facing young people.
Joshua Mazur is a recent graduate of the Conflict Studies and Human Rights program at the University of Ottawa with a minor in Law. Josh's interests lie in the area of small innovation and technology projects as a way to promote economic growth in Commonwealth countries. Josh has extensive experience with youth. He was Co-Chair of the 42nd National Student Commonwealth Forum (http://www.nscf-fnec.ca/) and a Planning Team member. He is currently a Director with RCS Canada (Youth and Education Committee).
Aden Hamza is a young professional nurse currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Nursing at the University of Western Ontario. Aden has a profound interest in the social determinants of health, how global poverty impacts communities and how to promote grassroots solutions. Her work with vulnerable and diverse communities both locally and abroad in regions undergoing humanitarian crises allows her to speak on many diverse and interconnecting youth issues. Aden is currently an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society.
The Royal Commonwealth Society of Canada (RCS), and the RCS Branches in Canada, promote the Commonwealth, its values and celebrate its diversity.
MYCommonwealth addresses the issues youth find most important by consulting with young Canadians and presenting their views to Commonwealth decision makers.
The RCS engages with its youth, civil society, business and government networks to address issues that matter to the Citizens of the Commonwealth. Its primary focus is on the promotion of young people throughout the Commonwealth.
Joe Zazada 780-218-5630
Peter Meincke 613-692-2785
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement today on being received in audience by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, November 25, 2015:
“I am absolutely delighted that Her Majesty has graciously agreed to this meeting. As the Queen’s twelfth Canadian Prime Minister, I am honoured and very much look forward to spending this time in conversation with her. In her role as Queen of Canada, she has not only witnessed but also been an active participant in the evolution of our country over the past sixty-three years. Her Majesty will remain an integral part of our country’s progress and future.”
The Prime Minister will be in London, United Kingdom, en route to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, to be held in Valetta, Malta, from November 27 to 29, 2015. He will then attend the Leaders Event in Paris at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21), under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
This year’s Nova Scotia bus tour, which was co-sponsored by Dalhousie University and Saint Mary’s University was a great success! The tour took place on Saturday October 17th, 2015 with fifty students enjoying the opportunity to see Nova Scotia outside of Halifax touring the scenic South Shore: Peggy’s Cove, Mahone Bay and Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Beautiful weather was had for most of the trip and the autumn leaves were at their peak.
Speaking in the Scottish Borders, the 89-year-old monarch said the title was "not one to which I have ever aspired". At about 17:30 BST the Queen will have reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and approximately 30 minutes - 63 years and seven months. The 89-year-old has become the longest-reigning British monarch, edging past the 63 years and 216 days that her great-great-grandmother Victoria reigned.
Are you a youth leader aged between 18 and 29 years and have experience in youth advocacy or development? Submit an application to attend this international event!
75 Medallists from 2014 Commonwealth Games Reach the Podium at Toronto 2015.
A Young Commonwealth’ has been chosen as the theme for Commonwealth Day 2015, which takes place on 9 March.
Announcing the theme, Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said: “People aged 29 or under account for the majority of the Commonwealth’s population, and play a vital role at the heart of sustainable development and democracy. ‘A Young Commonwealth’ recognises the capacity, contribution and potential of young people, particularly in 2015 when the world will define a new global development framework.