Young Kiwis celebrate an Inclusive Commonwealth at Commonwealth Day 2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Young people, schools, communities and civil society organisations celebrate Commonwealth Day on the second Monday in March every year across the fifty-three countries which form the Commonwealth. Two young New Zealanders based in the United Kingdom will represent New Zealand at Commonwealth Day celebrations in London on 14 March 2016. The two representatives are Jelena Gligorijevic, who is studying towards a Master of Laws at the University of Cambridge, and Stephanie Taylor, who is studying International Relations and Politics at the University of Leeds.

Commonwealth Day provides an opportunity to promote understanding on global issues, international co-operation and the work of Commonwealth organisations. This year’s theme, An Inclusive Commonwealth, celebrates the diversity of the Commonwealth which is made up of more than two billion people. 

“I am delighted that Jelena and Stephanie will be involved in this important event, which helps to promote dialogue, democracy and peace across the Commonwealth. People between the ages of 15 and 25 currently make up one fifth of the world’s population, and this proportion is increasing rapidly, it is therefore imperative that young people are actively engaged in the governance of their societies and their voices are heard,” said Jacqui Dean MP, Chairperson of New Zealand Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA).

Youth representatives from across the Commonwealth will be taking part in the one-day programme, including practical experiences of parliamentary debates. During the day, Jelena and Stephanie will share New Zealand’s perspectives on democracy, human rights, tolerance, respect, and sustainable development.

Celebrations will also include attendance at the Observance at Westminster Abbey, in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, as Head of the Commonwealth and all Commonwealth High Commissioners in London, and attendance at the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s reception.

The New Zealand Parliament was a founding member of the CPA, formed in 1911 to promote knowledge of the constitutional, legislative, economic, social and cultural aspects of parliamentary democracy, with particular reference to the countries of the Commonwealth of Nations.