Day Two of CHOGM: Investing in the Commonwealth's youth population


Yesterday was the second day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London. The four parallel forums (Business, Women, People, and Youth) are now in full swing, bringing together policymakers, diplomats and civil society from all 53 Commonwealth countries to discuss shared issues and solutions.

The ACU is involved in these important forums, championing the role of higher education in building inclusive societies, and shaping the agenda on behalf of its member universities.

We have been reporting live on Twitter and bring you a round-up of the key events from Tuesday:

  • Speaking about youth unemployment, British Prime Minister Theresa May told the audience that the UK Government was putting millions into scholarships and apprenticeships to help equip the Commonwealth’s young people with the skills they would need to compete on the global stage. The ACU manages many of these Scholarships, including the newly announced Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships.

  • Bill Gates, speaking about the Commonwealth’s large youth population, said that as long as we invest in young people they will innovate in ways we never imagined.
  • Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holmes, similarly stated that focusing on education and training was the most important way of giving economic opportunity to the Commonwealth’s youth.
  • Malala Yousafzai spoke about the importance of investing in girls’ education in order to grow economies, improve health, and reduce conflict and climate change. The ACU provides workshop grants and fellowships to implement anti-sexual harassment initiatives in participants’ home universities, to assist with equity of access and experience for women and girls in higher education. 
  • Asha Kanwar, President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning, contributed to the discourse on why distance learning is often preferable to women and girls, as a result of its flexibility and lower costs. The ACU’s PEBL programme aims to address the critical staff shortage many East African universities face, through providing students with online teaching, combined with in-person tutoring and assessment.
  • UK Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mordaunt, told the Women’s Forum it was time to hold ourselves accountable to achieve 12 years of education for girls.
  • Harriett Baldwin, Minister of State for Africa at the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Minister of State at the UK’s Department for International Development, reiterated Theresa May’s commitment yesterday to launching ‘She Trades Commonwealth’, which will offer Commonwealth-wide support to help countries break down gender barriers in international trade.
  • ACU Chief Executive and Secretary General, Dr Joanna Newman, chaired a panel on ‘From Innovation to Incorporation’ as part of the Commonwealth Business Forum which asked whether the Commonwealth could increase the conversion of innovative ideas into profitable enterprises. Dr Newman spoke about the active and dynamic relationship between innovation capacity and the higher education sector.
  • Dr Newman also highlighted the ACU’s passionate belief in in the value of international collaboration and mobility – particularly highlighting the ACU-administered Commonwealth Scholarships and Rutherford Fellowships.

More information

CHOGM is a five-day summit for Commonwealth Heads of Governments which opened in London, UK, on Monday 16 April. It starts with three days of parallel forums on Business, Women, People and Youth. This is followed by the formal Heads of Government Meeting on Thursday 19 April and an official communique will be issued on Friday 20 April.

The ACU is attending CHOGM to champion the role of higher education in building inclusive societies, and to shape the agenda on behalf of its member universities. Throughout the week, ACU Secretary General, Dr Joanna Newman, will be speaking and chairing sessions, and providing an official voice for higher education in the Commonwealth.

Read the round-up from day one here.

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