On 12 March people in Commonwealth countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, the Pacific and Europe will observe Commonwealth Day. Faith and civic gatherings, debates, school assemblies, flag raising ceremonies, street parties and fashion shows are just some of the events they will use to celebrate the vast diversity, strong unity and uplifting values that define the Commonwealth.
In London, Head of the Commonwealth Queen Elizabeth II will attend a multicultural, multi-faith service at Westminster Abbey with a mixture of testimonies, performances and readings from throughout the Commonwealth. The event will be broadcast live on BBC One from 2.45pm (GMT) and will feature a procession of Commonwealth flags, with a young flag bearer representing each of the 53 nations of the Commonwealth.
Attendees will be treated to musical performances from Ghanaian drum collective One-Drum, Ngati Ranana London Maori Club, Portsmouth Gospel Choir, and British musician Liam Payne. Spoken reflections will be given by award-winning spoken word artist Jaspreet Kaur, and Dr Andrew Bastawrous, Co-Founder and CEO of Peek Vision.
There will also be online statements from Secretary-General Patricia Scotland as well as leading global figures about the importance of the family of nations which links the governments, people and institutions of the 53 member countries.
This year Commonwealth Day precedes the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, when the leaders of 53 independent member countries will meet to address key global challenges and agree how to work together for the welfare and common good of its 2.4 billion citizens. The two events are joined by the same theme ‘Towards a Common Future’. Building upon the 2017 theme of 'A Peace-Building Commonwealth', this year’s theme explores how the Commonwealth can address global challenges and work to create a better future for all citizens through sub-themes of sustainability, safety, prosperity and fairness, in line with the theme of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London. Find out more about the Commonwealth theme
Commonwealth Day 2018 was celebrated in style by the 53 member countries with an array of special services, parties, food, dancing and music. More
Her Majesty the Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, accompanied by the senior members of the Royal Family, attended the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey. More
The Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, took part in a ceremony at London’s Memorial Gates this morning to honour the five million men and women from Commonwealth nations who served with the armed forces during the first and second world wars. More
"We all have reason to give thanks for the numerous ways in which our lives are enriched when we learn from others. Through exchanging ideas, and seeing life from other perspectives, we grow in understanding..." Read more
"Never before in the history of our family of nations has there been such a remarkable season of gatherings as that heralded by Commonwealth Day 2018." Read more
Students aged 7 to 14 today made their voices heard by joining a virtual school assembly, designed to promote their understanding of the Commonwealth and to help them develop their public speaking skills. Read more
From Samoa to Canada, fifty-three countries unite under one flag today to commemorate Commonwealth Day under the 2018 theme of ‘Towards a Common Future’. Read more