Greetings from a very humid Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago. I am currently deployed as part of the Commonwealth's election observer mission as this country gets ready to head to the polls on Monday, 7 September. At the request of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, we will observe the pre-election environment and activites on polling day.
We have met with representatives of political parties, the Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the media, and the police service. While I won't disclose the content of those conversations, what I can say is that the Commonwealth and its values are well served by this amazingly talented group of people that includes a former Attorney-General and Minister of Education of The Bahamas, an electoral officer from South Africa, a democracy watchdog from Bangladesh, and our chair, Hon Sir Paul Tovua, former Speaker of the Solomon Islands Parliament. One of the strengths of the Commonwealth lies in its ability to call on experts at will to lend their support to missions like this one to ensure the democratic will of the people is respected and upheld.
As you'll know, National Student CHOGM was held just a few weeks ago. While sitting in on some plenary sessions and talking to the students, I found so encouraging that our participants were engaging meaningful in those debates. I was highly impressed with the calibre of debate, as well as the resolutions that were passed by delegates. The communique from that conference will be made available soon for you to read.
In September we are pleased to be hosting a dialogue in Wellington with our friends at the Canadian High Commission. It will be a small gathering, so if you are keen to attend please see details below.
With kind regards
Aaron Hape Executive Director
Commonwealth Youth New Zealand
National Student CHOGM 2015
In August, students from around the country converged on Parliament to take part in the National Student CHOGM. This year saw the highest number of attendees, and it was excellent to have so many students from schools that had not participated previously. The calibre of students attending was extremely high, and CYNZ was impressed to see students debating topical subjects.
The key to holding such a successful conference is having amazing volunteers. CYNZ would like to thank all of those involved for their dedication and hard work. The planning team is already discussing how they can make CYNZ’s flagship event even better next year!
The Outdoor Trust's Commonwealth Pathways Initiative
CYNZ was represented by Sam Fellows at the unveiling of the first marker in Auckland's Commonwealth Pathway outside Old Government House. He was also invited to attend a reception with Commonwealth Games Federation delegates, including HRH Prince Imran, the Federation's President, who were gathered in Auckland for an Assembly Meeting. Sam has written a blog about the Commonwealth Pathway initative, including information about how you can get involved. His blog is available on the CYNZ website.
Round Table Discussion - Biculturalism in Multicultural Societies
Commonwealth Youth New Zealand, and the Canadian High Commission are holding a round table discussion on "Biculturalism in Multicultural Societies".
There will be drinks, nibbles and an opportunity to mix with other CYNZ members, and the Canadian High Commissioner, H.E. Mario Bot.
This will be followed by two guest speakers:
Christian Desroches, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Canadian High Commission, who will speak on the topic from a Canadian perspective.
Sara Hansen, a PhD student in Cultural Anthropology from Victoria University researching 'the politics of difference' (multiculturalism) in Aotearoa New Zealand who will provide the New Zealand perspective.
Date: Wednesday 23rd September Time: 5:30pm - 7:30pm Venue: The Canadian High Commission, 125 The Terrace RVSP: firstname.lastname@example.org by 18th September at 5pm.
Please note that RSVPs are essential for security purposes, and spaces are extremely limited, so please confirm your attendance as soon as possible to avoid missing out.
Call for Contributors to YourCommonwealth Website
Young writers and youth leaders are being urged to apply to become contributors to YourCommonwealth.org, a website launched by the Commonwealth to promote the empowerment of young people. If you are an aspiring journalist or writer, or you just want to share your views on issues of relevance to the Commonwealth, then this is a great opportunity for you! More information can be found here.
2022 Commonwealth Games
Congratulations to Keryen Smith, New Zealand Olympic Committee secretary general, who has been elected as Vice President of the Commonwealth Games Federation! CYNZ would also like to extend congratulations to Durban, the host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. It becomes the first city in Africa to ever host a Commonwealth Games.