150 YEARS A HISTORY IN COMMON, A FUTURE IN PROGRESS
THE MODERN COMMONWEALTH The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of sovereign states encompassing many ethnicities and faiths. Each is committed to upholding shared values and principles to promote and protect Democracy, Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Equality for all citizens in accordance with the Commonwealth Charter 2013.
The modern Commonwealth spans the six regions of Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and the Pacific. The total population is assessed at 2.4 billion, approximately one third of the world, of which 1.5 billion are under 30 years of age. The relevance and strength of the modern Commonwealth lie in its network of diaspora, cultural and sporting links, the widespread use of a common language and a strong shared legal heritage. These values, characteristics, and interests have engendered a common
interest and trust between the peoples and communities of this unique and widely diverse association of independent countries. Outside of the core of inter-governmental agencies, the Commonwealth benefits from a number of civil society and professional bodies that represent the evolution of the modern Commonwealth and the many links between peoples, communities and interests upon which it is built. The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) is a leading body within this group of independent bodies.
WORLD POPULATION 7.5 BILLION
COMMONWEALTH POPULATION 2.4 BILLION UNDER 30 IN COMMONWEALTH 1.5 BILLION
BUILDING ON 150 YEARS WORKING TO IMPROVE THE LIVES AND PROSPECTS OF COMMONWEALTH CITIZENS ACROSS THE WORLD. The RCS is an extensive network of selfgoverning branches, affiliated societies and individuals throughout and well beyond the Commonwealth, all of which spread the influence and global connectivity of the Commonwealth while promoting the Society’s intent to improve the lives and prospects of Commonwealth citizens across the world. Now in its 150th year, the RCS works at the forefront of Commonwealth affairs to promote the value of the modern Commonwealth and the values upon which it is based. Our particular strengths lie in our independence and an exceptional ability to make connections to final consensus. This gives us the freedom to work at the forefront of contentious and politically difficult issues.
Our influence in bringing people, governments, the diplomatic community and business together enables us both to champion best practices in social well-being as well as to highlight the barriers that inhibit prosperity and civil rights, limiting opportunities. In the past the RCS has been a key influence on the anti–apartheid movement providing a platform for leaders such as Nelson Mandela; in recent times, it has played a central role in addressing gender equality prejudices and the challenges of corruption and good governance. Encouraging youth participation and leadership is integral across the work of the RCS. Our networks and programmes serve to engender confidence, encourage leadership skills and raise awareness of roles and responsibilities for young citizens. By enabling youth empowerment and engagement, as a practical force for change at all levels of the community, the Society helps to invigorate and bring relevance to the modern Commonwealth and to its future well-being.
The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition The RCS has a rich history of nurturing written communication skills and the creative talents of young people around the Commonwealth. Run by the RCS since 1883, The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is the world’s oldest and largest international schools’ writing contest. Recent sponsors have included Cambridge University Press. The competition annually attracts some 13,000 entries from over 600 schools in 49 countries. The annu