For Amber Young, attending the Observance of Commonwealth Day celebrations in London on March 11 was ‘a true honour’.
Miss Young, 18, was one of two students from the Isle of Man selected by the Executive Committee of the Isle of Man branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) to attend the event on March 11, which was organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Headquarters Secretariat and took for its theme: ‘A Connected Commonwealth’.
Central to the celebrations was a service of celebration of the Commonwealth in Westminster Abbey in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, as Head of the Commonwealth, and all London Commonwealth High Commissioners.
The day brought together some 1000 young people from around the Commonwealth for discussions on the Commonwealth and the CPA, in particular the latter’s work in strengthening parliamentary democracy and environmental responsibility, with contributions from visiting and UK Commonwealth parliamentarians.
Reflecting on the proceedings Miss Young said: 'It was a true honour to represent the Isle of Man at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s events. The discussion focused on how young people can create an impact in the shaping of environmental policy and the importance that this can have. The event was a great success and I have been left feeling a new-found appreciation of young people in our society and their drive to make an impact and I will be sure to relay the ideas presented to our own parliament.'
Joining her for the celebrations was fellow Isle of Man student 21-year-old Thomas O’Connor who, as well as participating in the daytime events, was selected to attend an evening reception at Marlborough House, headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat, hosted by the Commonwealth Secretary-General the Rt Hon. the Baroness Scotland QC and held in the presence of
His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales.
Mr Thomas said: ‘My experiences at the CPA’s Observance of Commonwealth Day have reaffirmed and enhanced a number of my beliefs and introduced me to a wide array of young people from across the Commonwealth who share my passions for democracy and utilising public policy to make a difference. The theme of the day was that of a connected Commonwealth and I feel this was reflected in the discourse that took place; we worked together in collaboration with parliamentarians to craft strategies that engage young people practically with climate policy. Our
discussions particularly focused on how we could harness social media and technology to generate an international grassroots movement, through education about the real effects of climate change which we noted are particularly abstract, especially to those who live in countries that are less affected by issues such as rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions. It was an honour to share some of these ideas with Prince Charles and to represent the Isle of Man at such a prestigious event and I would like to thank the Isle of Man branch of the CPA for giving me the amazing opportunity to attend.’
CPA Isle of Man branch chairman the Hon Juan Watterson SHK said: ‘The theme “A Connected Commonwealth” will, I am sure, have provided the focus for celebrating and examining the enduring friendship, goodwill and collaboration that have long distinguished this “family” of 55 member countries working together to serve as a force for good in the world. I am pleased that Amber and Thomas found the experience so enlightening and inspiring.’