Commonwealth's political chief discusses good governance on Coventry visit
Wednesday 16 September 2015
A leading figure from the Commonwealth provided an overview of the work it undertakes to promote democracy and development during a recent visit to Coventry.
Dr Josephine Ojiambo, Deputy Secretary-General for Political Affairs of the Commonwealth, delivered an address to an audience of dignitaries, academics and students at the university on Wednesday 9 September – the same day as Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth, became the longest reigning British monarch.
Dr Ojiambo, who oversees the political, human rights, rule of law and communications work of the Commonwealth’s secretariat, was invited to the city by the university’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, which itself undertakes cutting edge research to foster peaceful relations between individuals, organisations and communities.
In her speech, Dr Ojiambo praised the Queen as a symbol of continuity during decades of unprecedented change - there are now 53 member states, compared to eight when Her Majesty became its Head in 1952 – before expanding upon the work the Commonwealth undertakes to promote democracy, diversity and social and economic development amongst its member states and beyond.
Dr Ojiambo also spoke about the challenges facing the Commonwealth within the 21st century in terms of profile building and the new initiatives it is undertaking to engage its membership. She further discussed the “value addition” the Commonwealth brings to the international community in terms of promoting peace and tackling conflict - key research areas for CTPSR - as well as trade, development and the participation of young people and women in society.
Acknowledging the Commonwealth’s principles of friendships and cooperation, Dr Ojiambo also highlighted role that higher education institutions can play in helping to encourage debate and inform decisions around the Commonwealth’s social, cultural and economic affairs.
She also praised the work of CTPSR’s researchers in helping to shape strategies and formulate policies around peace building and conflict resolution and looked forward to future dialogue with the university on these key and other issues in global discourse such as human security and migration.
Dr Ojiambo’s visit came as the university was preparing to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise – one of a select few higher education institutions to be honoured in this way - and ahead of the inaugural Rising Global Peace Forum in November in which international statesmen, business leaders and peace campaigners will meet in Coventry to devise new ways of addressing global conflict.
The university is also set to host three Commonwealth Professional Fellows for the next six weeks, providing them with valuable insights into natural resource governance in conflict zones and looking at how extractive industries can be managed so as not to provoke further social tension.