2017 Commonwealth Day Celebrated in Dublin, Ireland

Commonwealth Day was celebrated around the world on 13 March 2017. Ireland has a rich and lasting relationship with the Commonwealth of Nations, with the majority of Irish aboard living in nations that are members of the Commonwealth. In collaboration with RCS Ireland, the Pakistani Embassy in Dublin hosted a special event to mark the occasion. The large delegation included many Ambassadors and representatives from Embassies in Ireland, which represent nations within the Commonwealth. Several Irish parliamentarians, Irish diplomats, academics, and supporters also attended. Excellent speeches were delivered by the Pakistani Ambassador, Irish Senator Neale Richmond, and the British Deputy Head of Mission in Ireland. Lord Rana, as Patron of RCS Ireland also offered his support. Currently travelling in India to promote education and peace, Lord Rana was unable to attend the event in person. However, he offered the following remarks in an official written statement:

Hon’ble Chairman, Hon’ble Diplomats, officials of the Republic of Ireland, members of the RCS, Ladies & Gentlemen.

I would like to express my heartiest best wishes to you all attending the Commonwealth Day celebrations in Dublin, being hosted by the Ambassador of Pakistan, in collaboration with RCS Ireland. I wish I could have been with you all today, but regrettably I am unable to attend due to commitments in India.

Celebrating Commonwealth day on 13 March has another interesting dimension in India. Today is the “Holi Festival Day”, a festival of colours, where people celebrate the beginning of spring weather by playing with colours with each other’s family, friends and strangers. It’s celebrating the colourful world we live in. It is celebrating diversity, multicultural and multi religious world that we are part of, and which is best represented by the Commonwealth.

I am a great believer in the Commonwealth, which is a unique, multicultural, multi-institutional organisation spanning six continents of the world, bringing together nearly one-third of the world’s population and promoting multi-identity. An organisation of 52 nations, it contains 31 Republics, three of which are also members of the European Union. I have been sponsoring various talks, dinners and meetings for nearly 20 years on the subject of the “Republic of Ireland and the Commonwealth”. I remain genuinely convinced that  the Commonwealth would be of great benefit to Ireland; and that the Commonwealth would be strengthened with Ireland’s input.  Dublin’s Lord Mayor and City Council has already extended its support to the establishment of the Commonwealth Society in Ireland, during the official launch at the Mansion House three years ago.

Approximately 60% of the Commonwealth population are under the age of 30, and the majority of them live in developing countries. The best way to counter terrorism and civil unrest is through dialogue and education. The role of education in promoting peace, democracy and respect for each other is essential in shaping these young minds as they are the future of our world. As these countries grow their economies, the Commonwealth will become a very powerful economic organisation.

As we mark Commonwealth Day in Dublin, we might note the 2017 Commonwealth theme, which is “A Peace Building Commonwealth.” My charitable trust is in the process of establishing an Institute for Conflict Resolution Practice in Punjab (India) where we have founded and funded an Education Campus, to bring higher education within the reach of students from the poor families in rural Punjab <www.cordia.edu.in>. This institute will have presence not only in India, but in Northern Ireland as well. The intention is to put into practice the recommendations of the 2007 Commonwealth report “Civil Paths to Peace, Respect and Understanding.” Ireland retains enduring links with the Commonwealth of Nations and we look forward to building on these rich and mutually beneficial bonds.

 

Have a wonderful day, and my regrets for not able to be with you in person.

I wish you all a great Commonwealth Day.

Lord Rana MBE (Baron of Malone)

RCS Ireland & Commonwealth Day 2016

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The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) Ireland Branch had the pleasure of marking this year’s Commonwealth Day at the Commonwealth Service, held at Westminster Abbey in London on 14 March. Representatives from RCS Ireland were honoured to participate in the event, which is the largest multi-faith celebration in Britain and Ireland.

This annual service features a mixture of testimonies, readings, and musical performances. Each year the Service is based around an annual Commonwealth Theme. For 2016, the theme was ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’, inviting citizens to consider what it means to live in a diverse yet equitable, fair and tolerant international community.

This year’s Commonwealth Day service was attended by the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma; as well as the Head of the Commonwealth, who is the figure head and symbol of the free association of the 53 nations that make up the Commonwealth of Nations, 32 of which are Republics. Other delegates include High Commissioners and dignitaries from around the Commonwealth, as well as senior politicians and 1,000 school children.

The RCS organises the Service on behalf of a group of Commonwealth organisations, known as the Council of Commonwealth Societies. Commonwealth Day has been celebrated across the Commonwealth, every year since the 1970s. The event celebrates the unity, diversity and links of the modern Commonwealth and fosters greater understanding of the Commonwealth’s achievements and role, particularly among young people.

As a former member of the Commonwealth, Ireland retains strong links across this association of independent nations. RCS Ireland works to promote awareness of the enduring bonds between Ireland and the Commonwealth, including trade, culture, sports, arts and history. RCS Ireland is also pleased to note that the Commonwealth Youth Games will be held on the island of Ireland in 2021.

RCS Ireland represented at Westminster Abbey for International Commonwealth Day

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Jerry Walsh & Patricia Campbell representing RCS Ireland at Westminster Abbey for International Commonwealth Day following an inspirational service which celebrated the Commonwealth Principles.

Christmas message from RCS Ireland

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Dear Colleagues and Friends;

RCS Ireland wish all our friends and supporters a Happy Christmas and peaceful New Year.

We would also like to take this opportunity to share with you the progress of our Branch over the past year. 2015 saw our successful launch at the Mansion House in Dublin, so generously hosted and addressed by the Lord Mayor of Dublin and his team at Dublin City Council. An array of highly distinguished delegates and speakers were in attendance and we were also honoured to be joined by our colleagues and friends from the RCS in London, which included Lord Howell and his delegation. In addition, the event received significant public interest, due to coverage in the media.

The Executive Officer of RCS Ireland had the pleasure of meeting Prince Charles, during his visit to Ireland this year. It was a delight to receive his words of encouragement for the continued success of RCS Ireland. His remarks reflected the transformative work we hope to promote, by building bridges and forstering truly respectful and mutually beneficial relationships between Ireland and the great community of nations that is the Commonwealth.

Furthermore, this year saw the appointment of our Patron, The Rt Hon The Lord Rana, Baron of Malone. We are truly honoured to welcome Lord Rana to his new position. He has been a strong supporter of relationships between Ireland, India, and the wider Commonwealth for many years. We look forward to his involvement with RCS Ireland in the months and years ahead.

It was a pleasure to launch our website (rcsireland.org) in 2015, where you will find links to our active Twitter and Facebook accounts. We have also been delighted by the many expressions of good will and active support from national and international civic, political, business, artistic and academic organisations and individuals.

As 2015 comes to a close, we have been busy working on a range of projects to acheive our aims, with progress on a number of fronts. With your continued support we plan to build on what we have achieved thus far. We now look forward to the year ahead with excitement, as we continue to promote the bonds between Ireland and the Commonwealth.

Please feel free to stay in touch with us in the year ahead and we look forward to keeping you updated as to our progress in 2016. For now, in true Commonwealth Spirit, and with every good wish, we sign off in fellowship.

Patricia & the Team in RCS Ireland

Sean O’Grady “The Commonwealth is liberal, lefty and more needed than ever” The Independent

 

Sean O’Grady “The Commonwealth is liberal, lefty and more needed than ever” The Independent

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/the-commonwealth-is-liberal-lefty-and-more-needed-than-ever-a6753606.html

 

“…..And so it is a small force for good in a fractured world, and its informal, loose, soft diplomacy may well achieve some results. In recent years the Commonwealth has set its bounds wider still and wider, accepting nations with little or no colonial link to Britain – Mozambique, Cameroon and Rwanda and maybe more. Burma, Ireland and Palestine would surely be welcome, too…..”

 

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Malta 2015 draws to a close

Prime Minister of Malta, Hon. Dr. Joseph Muscat expressed his satisfaction at how Commonwealth leaders have managed to converge and agree almost unanimously on the issue of climate change as well as migration. He also stated that despite the differences between Commonwealth countries’ points of view, CHOGM Malta 2015 was evidence of how constructive conversations can occur. “Silence has never helped anyone in changing and getting things to change”, he remarked. Finally, Muscat also thanked all those involved in the organisation of this high-profile event.

President of Kenya, HE Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta stated that the topics discussed during this Commonwealth meeting are not solely concerns for Commonwealth countries but of the entire globe with peace and security issues at the forefront along with climate change. He also commended the way young people were given ample space to put forward their suggestions on such important global issues.

HE Baron Waqa, President of Nauru said that this was a gathering of some of the biggest, smallest, wealthiest and poorest nations and although it might be intimidating discussing certain concepts with countries larger than one’s own, all of the nations have the ability to play their part. He also noted that ‘The issue of Climate Change should not be hijacked by the occurrences during the last few weeks’.

Ghanaian President, HE John Dramani Mahama noted that the Valletta Summit on Migration and CHOGM Malta 2015 dovetail into each other. There is a lot that we can learn from this Commonwealth Meeting mainly how we can increase cooperation and embrace the values of good governance and democracy.

RT Hon. Jerome Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados, described how this meeting reinforced the relevance of the Commonwealth. He emphasised how as a citizen of the Caribbean region, climate change is one of his main concerns. He noted that ‘when the planet speaks, we have no choice but to listen. And the planet is speaking to us with certain eloquence’.

Finally, outgoing Secretary General HE Kamalesh Sharma recounted this as a ‘memorable and water-shed CHOGM with the Commonwealth establishing an ambitious threshold for the coming years and a force creating global good’.

https://chogm2015.mt/news/chogm-malta-2015-draws-to-a-close

Launch of RCS Ireland 17 April 2015

Press Statement: 17 April  2015
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The founding members of the Dublin Branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society,  are pleased to announce the opening of a new branch of the Society in Dublin on April 17th 2015. This will be the 78th branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS). The opening occasion is being attended by the following:
Lord Mayor Christy Burke, Lord Mayor of Dublin
His Excellency Dominick Chilcott, British Ambassador to Ireland
Rt. Hon. Lord Howell of Guildford, President of the RCS
Rt. Hon. Lord Rana, MBE, Baron of Malone, Co. Antrim, Honorary Indian Consul to N. Ireland
Mr. Michal Lake, CBE, Director of the RCS
Mr. Trevor Ringland, MBE, N. Irish Solicitor, former Irish International Rugby Player and Politician
Several Ambassadors to Ireland from Commonwealth countries
Invited Guests
Commenting on the Opening of the new Branch, the President of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Lord Howell said:
“The request for a new branch of the RCS in Dublin will serve as a visible link to the millions of people of Irish descent living in states throughout the Commonwealth, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of Commonwealth citizens residing in Ireland.
The Irish Branch of the RCS will seek to promote exciting opportunities for trade, culture, human rights, international peace, democracy, sustainable development,  and friendship between Ireland and the 53 countries that make up the Commonwealth of Nations, 32 of which are republics.”
Press Contact and for interview requests
Carolyn Jack, Chief Operating Officer:  carolyn.jack@thercs.org  Tel: +44 (0)20 3727 4300,            Mob: (0)7718 476 233