The opportunity to experience the Observance of Commonwealth Day proceedings in London have been described as ‘incredible’ by Alexander Price, who, together with Nicholas Hawkes, were the two Isle of Man students selected by the Executive Committee of the Isle of Man branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) to attend the event.
More than 1000 young people attended the proceedings at Westminster Abbey and later at Marlborough House, headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat, in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen.
Reflecting on the experience Alexander, 19, (pictured left) a former Ballakermeen High School student now studying for a BSc in Geography at University College, London said: 'It was a privilege to represent the Isle of Man at Commonwealth Day, and I would like to thank the Isle of Man branch of the CPA once again for making it possible. As well as the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, the day consisted of a talk from the CPA Secretary-General, the High Commissioners of Barbados and Guyana, and various members of parliament. The opportunity to hear their insights, as well as debate issues with other representatives, was incredible. The theme “An Inclusive Commonwealth” was echoed throughout the talks and debates, with particular attention being brought to discussing ways in which the underrepresented voices of women and black and minority ethnic (BME) communities can become greater involved.'
20-year-old Nicholas, (pictured right) also a former Ballakermeen High School student, now studying for an MA in Politics at the University of Edinburgh said: ‘It was an honour to represent the Isle of Man at Commonwealth Day and I would once again like to thank the Isle of Man branch of the CPA for giving me the opportunity to attend. The events throughout the day offered a fascinating insight into the inner workings of the Commonwealth and the role which small nations such as the Isle of Man have to play in shaping and forming international policy and directives. Our discussions with our fellow representatives and members of the CPA Secretariat were incredibly informative and allowed us to explore and debate areas of policy openly. The theme of “inclusivity” was central to the entire conference and resonated throughout our discussions, with participants speaking of their desire to raise political engagement for all members of society across the Commonwealth and within their home nations.’
CPA Isle of Man branch chairman Hon Juan Watterson MHK said: ‘In a world of challenge and change it’s enormously encouraging to learn that the Commonwealth’s values of mutual understanding, tolerance and democracy resonate with young people so profoundly.
‘The “global family” of the Commonwealth is a powerful force for good and its work to engage with and inspire youth is central to its aspirations for building a better world.
‘Alexander and Nicholas clearly found the proceedings uplifting and educational. Attending Observance of Commonwealth Day gave them a unique opportunity to represent the Isle of Man at an event which, with a multi-cultural audience drawn from more than 50 countries, illustrated to great effect the “Inclusive Commonwealth” theme.’
Clerk of the Legislative Council
Isle of Man