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Modern Commonwealth celebrates 60th anniversay with dedication to children

Tuesday, March 10th 2009 - 11:34 UTC
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The British Commonwealth Day which this year marks the sixtieth anniversary of its creation was celebrated on Monday 9 March throughout the 53 countries of the Commonwealth. Two Falkland Islands students participated in this year’s program.
The theme for the anniversary of the modern Commonwealth and underlined in Queen Elizabeth II message, was “The Commonwealth @ 60: serving a new generation”.

A Multi-Faith Observance was held at Westminster Abbey with Her Majesty the Queen, as Head of the Commonwealth, and The Duke of Edinburgh attending. Also present were the Commonwealth High Commissioners, senior Ministers and politicians from around the Commonwealth, in addition to 1000 young people from schools and youth organisations from across the United Kingdom.

The service involved religious leaders from nine faiths giving readings and the presentation of personal testimonies, from five people, relevant to the theme. The five people asked to speak were selected from across the Commonwealth and contribute a message of challenge and hope relevant to the theme. There were also performances from choirs, dancers and musicians.

Besides the Queen, Prime Minister Gordon Brown also issued a message to mark the 60th anniversary.

Commonwealth Day is celebrated on the second Monday in March every year. The aim of commemorating Commonwealth Day is to promote understanding on global issues, international co-operation and the work of the Commonwealth to improve the lives of its 2 billion citizens, a third of the world population.

Although a day has been set aside to celebrate Commonwealth Day (or Empire Day as it was once known) since 1916, it was not until 1977 that Heads of Commonwealth Governments agreed that a date in March would be most appropriate to celebrate Commonwealth Day.

Children were seen as a main focus for Commonwealth Day celebrations so a Monday was chosen to enable schools to educate and encourage children to participate in the Day.

Two Falkland Islands students, Stacey McKay and Terri-Sue Clifford, from Peter Symonds College represented the Islands in London on Monday by participating in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Program.

The day included a discussion on the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and their contribution to parliamentary democracy and short debates on current critical issues in the Commonwealth.

In the evening they were present at the Commonwealth Secretary-General's reception in the presence of Her Majesty.

Categories: Politics, International.

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