The Commonwealth Association

The collective knowledge of former staff members of prominent Commonwealth organisations has been pooled by the Commonwealth Association 

Twelve years ago, a group of former Commonwealth Secretariat staff met to discuss how to sustain their expertise and experience – and passion – for Commonwealth service. Some, like the current chairman Patsy Robertson, had been with the Secretariat almost since its inception in 1965. They could have joined other Commonwealth associations – and some did, but they needed a body to capture their unique collective experience of working for the inter-governmental Commonwealth. 

Out of this, the Commonwealth Association (CA) was born in 2001. Initially it drew its members from ex-staff of the Commonwealth Secretariat and Foundation, and the Commonwealth of Learning (in Vancouver). It is a subscription-based networking association of individual members using their Commonwealth connections to:

– Support and promote the values and objectives of the Commonwealth

– Support the Commonwealth Secretariat as the principal mechanism of inter-governmental Commonwealth co-operation and consultation

– Promote the debate of Commonwealth issues and encourage a positive image of the Commonwealth

– Provide a social and cultural forum for its members

– Provide a resource base of Commonwealth expertise for research, policy development and technical assistance 

The CA has widened its membership to include ex-employees of all organisations with Commonwealth accreditation. This has revealed a yet richer seam of experience and perspective. It now has members in nearly 20 countries, with some holding senior positions in their governments or in other international organisations. 

The CA maintains close links with the Commonwealth Secretariat, as well as other Commonwealth organisations. Through direct communication with its members, it seeks to influence members’ various networks to further its aims. Its patrons include all the living former Commonwealth Secretaries-General, and Sir Peter Marshall, a former Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General, who was a founding member of the CA. 

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