Editors note:This article was published in Editorial Section of the Feb 13, 2009 issue of The Chronicle Newspaper
On Monday March 9, 2009, Dominica joined other Commonwealth states to celebrate Commonwealth Day under the theme of â€˜Serving a new generationâ€™ which is the overall theme for the Commonwealthâ€™s 60th anniversary year.
As the nation reflected on the value of the deep-rooted linkages of the Commonwealth network, it was an opportune time to evaluate the condition and relevance of the alliance in a time of wide-ranging global problems and uncertainties.
All indicators suggest that the Commonwealth continues to be a potent force in global affairs today and is responding well to shifting world situations. Moreover, the associations among member nations have evolved and the alliance is facing contemporary world issues with a bold new face.
This yearâ€™s Commonwealth Day theme is of particular relevance to the new look of the alliance. As the Commonwealth faces the challenge of achieving a durable peace, it has loosened its membership criteria and expanded its multicultural association to attract new partners.
At one time, membership of the Commonwealth was reserved exclusively for former members of the colonial empire of â€˜Great Britainâ€™. However, ten years ago at a summit in Edinburgh, member states agreed to invite membership of any country with a colonial legacy, not just the United Kingdom and its former satellites.
The Commonwealth has evolved into a vital network of nations committed to building a better world, making their economies stronger and improving their systems of governance. Comprising 53 independent states, the Commonwealth is a non-political organisation with equality of membership despite membersâ€™ social, political, size and economic differences.
Thriving on the sheer magnitude of the collective representation of its membership, the Commonwealth has never ceased to be an opinion leader on the global stage. Representing some 2 billion people, or approximately one-third of the worldâ€™s population, the Commonwealth continues to set the pace as a unique forum for a broad range of global issues.
Now, in its 60th year, the Commonwealth seeks to be more dynamic and flexible to reach out to a new generation of youths, who comprise the overwhelming majority of the worldâ€™s population. New policies have been shaped to provide more consultation and cooperation with youths in the promotion of international understanding and world peace.
Considering the range and diversity of the nations that make up the Commonwealth, encompassing both rich nations and poor across six continents and five oceans, the alliance is ideally placed to develop the movementâ€™s core principles. In particular, the new-look Commonwealth intends to target youths to become key players in its role in global affairs.
Aside from the promotion of world peace and prosperity, the Commonwealth provides invaluable support for the United Nations and its democratic principles, including the promotion of individual liberty and egalitarianism; the eradication of poverty, ignorance, disease, and economic inequality among others.
Dominica should continue to attach great importance to its membership of the Commonwealth and continue to uphold the Commonwealth principles. As this alliance continues to grow, future generations should have an even better Commonwealth Day legacy to share and celebrate.