May 26th, 2022

Jointly organized by TCSS and its partners iDERA and the African Leadership Centre, the webinar on “Commonwealth in the 21st Century” shared valuable insights and policy perspectives on May 26th.

As the meeting of Heads of Government (CHOGM) and the Commonwealth Games are coming up on 20 June and in late July, the webinar represented a unique opportunity to discuss the relevance, role, and utility of the Commonwealth. Which also further engaged with high-level experts to understand and critically assess the view on the organization.

Following a brief introduction from the Directors of the iDERA, Amb. Edwin Laurent, the African Leadership Centre, Dr. Shuvai Nyoni, and the TCSS, Dr. Fu-Kuo Liu; Amb. Ransford Smith, former Deputy Secretary General of the Commonwealth introduced the ins and outs of the organization.

After the keynote speech, Prof. Funmi Olonisakin raised critical questions regarding the internal disequilibrium among the members and the impact of decolonization narratives on the organization.

Prof. Fu-Kuo Liu also took the opportunity to extend his gratitude for having the speakers to share their first-hand observations, adding that the Commonwealth’s current views and actions are also crucial on a range of issues pertinent to the recent geopolitical headlines such as the war in Ukraine and climate change. Its geopolitical weight and the importance of maritime relevance have also been discussed notably by Prof. Ilias Iliopoulos, since most of the Commonwealth members are maritime nations.

Echoing the theme of the meeting, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy also outlined Commonwealth’s potential role. It is positioning in the interests of developing countries and provides the organization a unique capability to tackle sensitive issues. Before concluded, relevant topics have also been brought up such as the solidarity between its members and the decrease of its budget over the years.

The webinar ended with a fruitful discussion. The event involved 45 plus participants from the governmental, academic and business sectors right across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. All parties look forward to continuing the collaboration in the near future.