Commonwealth Youth Awards 2020

The winners of this years Commonwealth Youth Awards were announced on March 11th. Among the winners was Canada’s Sowmyan Jegatheesan, founder of Systema Naturae. Sowmyan chronicles his exposure to the Commonwealth and his win.

L-R: Marnie Howlett, Canadian flagbearer at the Westminster Abbey Commonwealth Service; Sonya Thissen, Minister-Counsellor at Canada House; Sowmyan Jegatheesan, Commonwealth Youth Award winner for Canada and the Caribbean. (Photo by – Canada House)
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Remembering Sir Charles Gunning

Sir Charles Gunning with Jenny Stodola.
Sir Charles Gunning in 2014 with Jenny Stodola, Chair, RCS Canada

It’s with great sadness that we share with you that the NSCF community has lost a golden, shining star in Sir Charles Gunning.

Charles will be known by many generations of NSCF delegates as the ‘father’ of NSCF. With other RCS Ottawa members, in 1973 he founded what is now known as the NSCF. For decades, until his health forced him to retire, he would organize, rally, convince and pull last-minute strings to help pull-off a successful NSCF year-after-year, support Planning Team members in their growth as organizers and leaders, and help delegates come out of their shells as young people. His unwavering optimism, resourcefulness, and kind heart was apparent and appreciated by everyone he met.

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RCSVI Chair’s Remarks

Excerpt from the April RCS Vancouver Island Circular:

What does a President say after a most successful Commonwealth Day Luncheon on Monday, 9th March, and now finds himself located in the midst of a global pandemic when everyone is becoming self-designated “stay at homers”?

He could say a number of things, but perhaps the most significant thing would be to acknowledge that life is in a grand transition, not only physically, but also, economically, socially, and even, ecologically.

Perseverance and patience, along with creativity and innovation, will be in great demand in order to design a new reality for the future such that all people may emerge with benefits and prosperity.

This newness of reality for life is often established upon strong metaphysical notions of resurrection or reincarnation (or the biological notion of autopoiesis). Perhaps, this transition can be built upon virtues of RCS: Respect, Curiosity, Service. These three virtues, as principles for a new reality, are embedded with individual interpretations and corporate understandings. At the core, therein lies the beginnings of conversations.

One person in wisdom noted that namawyut (we are all one); or another from a different cultural perspective noted ubuntu (I am because we are). A modern day adventurer might say:

“We descend from explorers who ‘conquered’ unknown worlds. We have the blood of the brave.
We have the heart of the warrior. Now let us go out and make our ancestors proud?”

Let this be some of the beginnings of a transition conversation for a new reality where RCS prevail.

Sawdust Fusilliers: The Canadian Forestry Corps in WWI

On February 16, 1916, Andrew Bonar Law, the British Colonial Secretary, formally asked the Duke of Connaught, Governor-General of Canada, if Canada would provide the manpower necessary to cut and process timber in England. By March 1, 1916, the Canadian Government had responded by creating the 224th Battalion, dedicated to harvesting and processing timber resources overseas. RCS Regional Chair Judith Elson tells us more about these unsung heroes of the First World War.

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Nikolas with children

Nikolas Robert Shymko spent the month of February 2018 in India, volunteering with Venture2Impact, a Canadian organization founded to help communities break the cycle of poverty. The Royal Commonwealth Society Nova Scotia Branch was proud to support Nikolas with his campaign. A recent Bachelor of Commerce Honours in Economics graduate from Saint Mary’s University, Nikolas will be spending June and July volunteering in India with V2I before attending McGill University in September to begin the integrated B.C.L/LL.B law program. Nikolas was kind enough to share a few words on his inspiration and his work with marginalized peoples in Uganda and India.

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