Commonwealth Youth Challenge: working together to shape the future

Commonwealth Youth Challenge: working together to shape the future

Published on 06 July 2018

On Thursday 5 July, 120 young people from across the Commonwealth came together for the 'Your Commonwealth' Youth Challenge event in London, hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat. Designed to generate ideas to shape the future of the Commonwealth and drive the youth agenda forward, this workshop saw more than 30 Commonwealth Scholars attend, along with Dr Joanna Newman, ACU Chief Executive and Secretary General.

Having been appointed Commonwealth Youth Ambassador by HRH Queen Elizabeth II – our Patron – earlier this year, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, was also in attendance with the Duchess of Sussex, and the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary-General.

A dynamic afternoon of entrepreneurial pitching and leadership workshops was followed by an evening reception at Marlborough House, where youth delegates shared their experiences and envisioned the Commonwealth in 2040.

Young people make up over 60% of the Commonwealth and have a big role to play in shaping our future. The youthful energy of the delegates was harnessed by the Duke's passion to inspire young people to unite as a force for positive change. 'You have been tasked to envision a Commonwealth we all strive for in 2040,' he said during his opening speech. The Commonwealth Secretary-General also echoed these sentiments, tweeting:

Korede Bolade, Student Engagement Officer (Commonwealth Scholarships) at the ACU, also attended the event as the ACU's Youth Ambassador. 'For me it's about creating a platform for the young people I work with – helping to improve their skills and expanding their experience so they can make a positive impact in their home countries,' he said. 'Today's a great opportunity to highlight the work of the ACU and the scholarships we provide for young people around the world, and I feel privileged to be a part of it.'

Commonwealth Youth event

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex meeting with Commonwealth Scholars and Korede Bolade, Student Engagement Officer at the ACU (credit: Commonwealth Secretariat)

ACU Chief Executive and Secretary General, Dr Joanna Newman added 'Young people are the key to unlocking the potential of all Commonwealth countries, and it was wonderful to see this group of emerging leaders come together to share their ideas for the future. The ACU is delighted to be working alongside the Duke of Sussex, in his role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, and the Commonwealth Secretariat to ensure that as many young people as possible across the Commonwealth can benefit from the transformative power of higher education, and play their role in shaping their countries.'

The Duke of Sussex highlighted this partnership during his speech, encouraging the young people present to apply for the new Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships that he announced earlier this year at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Faye Taylor, Head of Strategic Partnerships at the ACU adds 'Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships will provide life-changing experiences for young leaders with the energy and talent to make a difference in their home countries and beyond. The scheme will offer study opportunities not previously available and widen collaboration across the Commonwealth.'