The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) took place in Kigali, Rwanda last week, with representatives of all 54 member countries attending the seven-day summit to address the shared global challenges we face.
Delegates embraced unity and collaboration to tackle issues that are at the heart of the Commonwealth’s values, such as gender equality, youth empowerment, sustainable economic development and climate action.
As an accredited Commonwealth organisation, we championed the role of higher education in sustainable development, outlined policy priorities for higher education and shaped the agenda on behalf of our members across the Commonwealth.
Throughout the week members of the ACU delegation participated in and chaired sessions across the forums and official meetings, providing an official voice for higher education, advocating for higher education’s vital role in delivering progress across all 17 UN SDGs and for the importance of investing in higher education to further strengthen this contribution.
Over the week at CHOGM we spoke with numerous government leaders about how the ACU’s global network brings together 500+ universities to tackle global challenges and drive development and prosperity in the Commonwealth.
Thank you @CanadianPM @JustinTrudeau for taking the time to speak about @commschols— Beth Button (@BethButton) June 24, 2022
We @The_ACU welcome @Canada support for #QECS and look forward to further expanding mobility opportunities to support development and strengthen global network through scholarships#CHOGM2022 https://t.co/2rD8WX7QHK pic.twitter.com/prk7vjwMTz
Blended Learning and PEBL West Africa launch
The ACU and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade were delighted to officially launch our Partnership for Enhanced and Blended Learning (PEBL) West Africa project at CHOGM. We welcomed guests, partners and members to an evening reception and launch event.
Following the successful pilot programme in East Africa, the new Partnership for Enhanced and Blended Learning (PEBL) in West Africa will further increase access to higher education in countries where demand outstrips supply.
By supporting academics and students across 12 universities in Ghana and Nigeria, PEBL West Africa will build sustainable capacity for blended learning through expert-led training, collaboration, and the development of quality assured, credit-bearing blended courses.
Last night we hosted a reception at #CHOGM2022 to launch our Partnership for Blended and Enhanced Learning West Africa project, funded by @DFAT— The Association of Commonwealth Universities (@The_ACU) June 21, 2022
Read about the rollout of #PEBL West Africa following a successful East Africa Pilot 👉https://t.co/uIbrwJ8cxt#BlendedLearning pic.twitter.com/r7MYjvIdjk
Throughout the Business Forum, we advocated for the role of higher education in addressing challenges and opportunities for the future world of work. ACU ambassador Professor Ian Rowlands, University of Waterloo, moderated a panel discussion on future skills and employability with the Mastercard foundation, Princes’ Trust and others. Whilst ACU Council member Professor Francis Aduol of Technical University of Kenya represented the ACU on a panel to mark the launch of ACU member Coventry University’s Africa hub, discussing the role of education in the African Labour Market.
We’re delighted to be moderating todays panel at #CHOGM2022 business forum on positioning the Commonwealth for the future world of work #CBF— The Association of Commonwealth Universities (@The_ACU) June 21, 2022
Panel: @covcampus @reetaroymcf @PrincesTrust @JPFabri823 @MelvynLubega
ACU is represented by our member @UWaterloo @IanHRowlands pic.twitter.com/UaHvbG5OXv
Sustainable urbanisation and climate action
Sustainable urbanisation and climate action was high on the agenda at CHOGM 2022. The ACU is a proud partner in the Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Initiative (CSCI) and was delighted to join the steering committee to launch the Commonwealth Youth for Sustainable Development network during the Commonwealth Youth Forum 2022.
We were delighted to join #CSCI steering committee to launch @CYSU_ at @ComSecYouth #CHOGM2022— The Association of Commonwealth Universities (@The_ACU) June 19, 2022
We look forward to engaging our members to support. To join the network & find out more visit https://t.co/whVq1xUFm9@CAPYoungPlan @CAPplanners @CLGF_News @Comarchitect @PrincesFound pic.twitter.com/UgPzUHsJoy
This event was followed by a CSCI summit side event supported by the ACU. ACU delegates participated in the side event sessions, highlighting the important role that universities have in supporting sustainable urbanisation and contributing to related SDGs. The ACU’s Head of UN, Commonwealth & Strategic Partnerships, Richard Grubb, moderated a session exploring ways to address the gap in professional and leadership capacity in many of the Commonwealth countries which are urbanising most rapidly and are vulnerable to climate change.
A key milestone achieved following the side event was seeing the Sustainable Urbanisation Call to Action supported in the final CHOGM 22 communique with Commonwealth Heads of Government adopting a Declaration on Sustainable Urbanisation, that will provide a guiding framework for the work of the Commonwealth over the coming period.
Today represents the culmination of a huge amount of work on the part of the #CSCI, of which @The_ACU works with our partners @CLGF_News @capplannerssg @PrincesFound @Comarchitect— Richard Grubb (@RichardGrubb) June 21, 2022
Our official #CHOGM side event is opened today by Hon. Dr Ernest Nsabimana pic.twitter.com/FpGFfJLdnX
Announced at the conclusion of the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting along with the final communique, Commonwealth leaders also ratified a Living Lands Charter on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Land Degradation. ACU Chief Executive and Secretary General Dr Joanna Newman urged Commonwealth governments to draw upon higher education expertise and research to help deliver on the Charter commitments.
Yesterday at #CHOGM2022 Commonwealth leaders ratified the #LivingLandsCharter on #ClimateChange, #Biodiversity and #LandDegradation@DrJoannaNewman urges Commonwealth governments to draw upon #HigherEd expertise to deliver on the Charter commitmentshttps://t.co/IKgpMeUzGj pic.twitter.com/kP2M70aj0h— The Association of Commonwealth Universities (@The_ACU) June 26, 2022
As part of the Commonwealth People’s Forum, the ACU held a workshop exploring the next iteration of the Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort, exploring current priorities for research into Climate Change mitigation and adaptation. In 2021, the ACU and the British Council partnered to establish the Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort, supporting 26 rising-star researchers to bring local knowledge to a global stage.
Great to explore the next iteration of our Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort in our session this morning at the Commonwealth People's Forum. Rich discussions on current priorities for research into #ClimateChange mitigation & adaptation! #CHOGM2022 @BritishCouncil pic.twitter.com/hIQcs0MbIa— The Association of Commonwealth Universities (@The_ACU) June 22, 2022
The ACU has also been working in partnership with the government of Antigua & Barbuda and the University of the West Indies (UWI) to support the development of a Centre of Excellence for Oceanography and the Blue Economy at the UWI’s recently established Five Islands Campus. At CHOGM, the ACU was pleased to meet with the Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, Gaston Browne, and discuss the next steps in our partnership.
#Thread 1/3: Day 1 of #CHOGM2022 Kigali, Rwanda. PM @gastonbrowne met with the Association of Commonwealth Universities to discuss the next steps of the Anu & Bar Gov't partnership with the @The_ACU pic.twitter.com/1aiDagltZb— OPMAntiguaBarbuda (@AntiguaOpm) June 22, 2022
We were delighted to be joined at CHOGM by a number of Commonwealth scholars and alumni, including Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholars, Chevening Scholars, and Commonwealth Scholars, who are actively solving global challenges, driving change in their communities, and collaborating to secure sustainability in the future.
Speaking at the Commonwealth Youth Forum, Head of Commonwealth Scholarships at the ACU, Annabel Boud, shared how the ACU fosters international collaboration on the SDGs between youth in the Commonwealth through our scholarship programmes – including the Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships, Chevening and Commonwealth Scholarships.
Fascinating to hear a whole host of examples of impactful partnerships and the role they play in development at the #CommonwealthYouth Forum, including from my @The_ACU colleague @AnnabelBoud pic.twitter.com/iHCbzLIK3Q— Richard Grubb (@RichardGrubb) June 20, 2022
Foreign Ministers Roundtable
Deputising for ACU Chief Executive and Secretary General Dr Joanna Newman, the ACU’s Director of Strategic Communications, Beth Button presented at the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers roundtable, where she outlined higher education’s critical contribution to sustainable development and policy priorities for higher education.
Delighted to attend #CHOGM22 ceremony & @PScotlandCSG reception for @The_ACU, deputising for @DrJoannaNewman— Beth Button (@BethButton) June 24, 2022
I spoke with CW govt leaders about how ACU brings 500+ unis together to tackle global challenges-driving development & prosperity, and shared impact of @commschols #QECS pic.twitter.com/JYa31qHcoG