Today was the final day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which saw the ACU call on Commonwealth governments to give higher education the recognition it deserves. The Leaders' Statement was issued this evening after a meeting of 46 heads of government and seven foreign ministers at Windsor Castle, UK.
The ACU provided an official voice for higher education in the Commonwealth throughout the five-day summit, championing the role of higher education in building sustainable and inclusive societies.
ACU Secretary General, Dr Joanna Newman, represented the ACU at a Foreign Ministers Roundtable, where civil society organisations had the opportunity to put issues to leaders of Commonwealth governments that will in turn influence the discussion in national governments.
In her statement to ministers, Dr Newman highlighted the intrinsic link between higher education and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She reminded delegates that the ACU, Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth of Learning (COL) pledged to work together to support the delivery of the SDGs through education at 20CCEM in Fiji earlier this year.
Dr Newman also welcomed the commitment of Commonwealth governments to 12 years of basic education, particularly girls’ education, while calling on them to make proportional investments in higher education – both nationally and internationally.
She then thanked Commonwealth governments for their continued support of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) – a prestigious programme conceived in 1959 by Commonwealth governments, which she said ‘remains a child of the Commonwealth’. The Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships scheme, announced at the beginning of this week by HRH Prince Harry in his role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, is testament to the ACU’s commitment to providing international mobility opportunities for students.
Today marked the end of a very productive week. ‘CHOGM was a powerful display of everything that is great about the Commonwealth,’ said Dr Newman, concluding that 'I was heartened to see representatives of all 53 member countries working together to find solutions to shared global challenges.'
This evening, leaders announced that HRH Prince of Wales will succeed The Queen as the Head of the Commonwealth, and released the CHOGM 2018 Communiqué 'Towards a Common Future'.
CHOGM was a five-day summit for Commonwealth leaders which opened in London, UK, on Monday 16 April.
The ACU is attended CHOGM to champion the role of higher education in building inclusive societies, and to shape the agenda on behalf of its member universities.
You can look back on the week's proceedings by following us on Twitter.
Picture credit: The Commonwealth, 'Commonwealth leaders and Secretary-General Patricia Scotland arriving at Windsor Castle for the retreat' (cropped).