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“Let’s celebrate an Inclusive Commonwealth”
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“Let’s celebrate an Inclusive Commonwealth”

Commonwealth Day

Harnoor Gill picThe theme for Commonwealth Day has a message for youth as well as for member nations, writes Harnoor Gill, 18, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Georgetown in Canada.

The theme of an Inclusive Commonwealth ensures the world’s smallest and least-developed countries have a say in decision-making on the global scale.

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states. Home to approximately 2.2 billion citizens, the Commonwealth includes some of the world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries and spans five regions. Celebrating the Commonwealth for this day allows us to come together as a union of nations to celebrate the accomplishments that countries in the Commonwealth have achieved.

In fact, the Commonwealth Secretariat has been promoting the cause of inclusiveness from the very start. Humans across the world are unique in their own way, which is why ensuring that heritage and culture are celebrated is a must for inclusiveness. Celebrating diversity through the events of Commonwealth Day helps to focus on including those nations that are too-often ignored in the grand scheme of decisions. From promoting democracy, human rights, and equal access to education and healthcare, the Commonwealth’s theme for this annual celebration is quite the commitment.

As a Canadian, I am a part of the Commonwealth and I will celebrate this day to help keep the theme of inclusiveness alive. I will continue work I have been doing to help young immigrants to Canada become better acquainted with the communities around them through the Peace Welcome Club. For the past few years, I have used the power of digital media like Facebook to have a positive impact on the immigrant portion of my community. Through social media we can offer services and networking where immigrants have the chance to get to know their community better.

This is an example of how the theme set out for the Commonwealth Day is not meant just for the celebration of the one day that has been set aside, but it is to emphasise how including people should be mandatory in any given situation.

Isolation hinders the end result of any project, and I feel the theme of inclusiveness could not be any more true. I have been practising inclusiveness in my work within the youth group, yet I noticed how it seems to be a bigger issue with countries themselves.

Smaller and lesser-developed countries should not be marginalised by decisions that potentially affect them, yet are made on a bigger scale. Although it may be beneficial to exclude someone from a decision or conversation, it is still considered immoral and unjust to exclude someone from a set outline that may affect him or her in a vital way. This is why an Inclusive Commonwealth should have an impact, as it exemplifies a model where countries all have an equal voice on important matters such as sustainability, global warming, war, poverty, and relief situations that help to maintain peace.

To me, an Inclusive Commonwealth refers to the values of tolerance, respect and understanding. These are set out in the Commonwealth Charter, where the richness of the Commonwealth is a family of nations that values each member state equally. Youth make the Commonwealth inclusive by taking this opportunity to promote understanding on global issues, international co-operation and Commonwealth values. Personally, I have taken the initiative of forming a youth group designed to help new immigrants entering the country to have the opportunity of a greater assimilation into Canada through volunteering.

https://www.facebook.com/PeaceWelcomeClub

Photo credit: Commonwealth Secretariat
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About me: I am a student in Georgetown, Canada, and founder of the Peace Welcome Club. I love to volunteer, read, write, and play basketball. I volunteer with local environmental and youth organizations and am dedicated to raising awareness about youth volunteering. My writing has been published in Indo-Canadian Voice, Asian Journal, Times of India, The Independent & Free Press, and in Amazing Kids! Magazine.
https://www.facebook.com/PeaceWelcomeClub
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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response.
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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