Ramsey Grammar School student Joshua Radcliffe has said that attending the CPA Headquarters Secretariat’s Observance of Commonwealth Day celebrations in London in March was ‘a fantastic experience’.
The 18-year-old from Kirk Michael and 20-year-old Ben Newsham from Foxdale, a former Queen Elizabeth II High School student, were selected by the Executive Committee of the Isle of Man branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) to join around 1000 other young people from around the Commonwealth to attend the event which took for its theme: ‘A Peace-building Commonwealth’.
Reflecting on the day’s proceedings Joshua said: ‘The event was a great way to meet so many different people of different cultures and backgrounds and it is within the diverse nature of the Commonwealth which I believe lies the beauty of the organisation. It was, however, not only surprising but also eye-opening to see how many similarities we share between our countries and how much we genuinely have in common; this came through in the round table discussion as well as our break-out discussions.
‘These discussions were a great way to understand how different Commonwealth countries apply peace-building within their societies as well as how they approach the role of youth within not only parliaments but also the countries themselves. By understanding each country’s own unique situation and the ideas of each of the delegates we all have taken many ideas and possibly propositions home with us. Whilst the discussions with youth members of other Commonwealth countries was my personal highlight of the experience, the rest of the day was also incredible and very captivating. The tour of the Houses of Parliament was fantastic and the Commonwealth Day Observance itself in Westminster Abbey was nothing short of mesmerising, despite knowing the Royal Family would be present, actually seeing them in real life still left me feeling pretty shocked. Overall, the experience has left me feeling closer to the other Commonwealth countries more than I ever thought I would and I have been able to obtain not only good friends but also some brilliant ideas from the young and innovative minds of each country.’
Joshua added that he and Ben took every opportunity to ‘explain and advertise the Isle of Man to those who had never heard of us.’
CPA Isle of Man branch chairman Hon Juan Watterson SHK said: ‘It is very encouraging to learn that Joshua was moved to report so enthusiastically about his experience of Observance of Commonwealth Day. With Brexit looming large, the merits of the Commonwealth are being revisited by many. The value he clearly derived from the event is a shining example of how the Commonwealth is engaging successfully with and inspiring young people of the global Commonwealth “family” to embrace a common set of values and recognise the Commonwealth as a source of peace and strength in an uncertain world.’