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The Commonwealth
What is the Commonwealth?

The Commonwealth is an association of 54 independent sovereign countries around the world. Bringing together some 2 billion people of many faiths, races, languages, traditions and levels of economic development, the Commonwealth represents almost one third of the world's population. The modern Commonwealth emerged in 1949 when it was agreed that India could remain a member on becoming a republic (prior to that, members shared a common allegiance to the British Crown). Its growth accelerated in the 1950s and 1960s with the independence of many new member countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Carribean, the Mediterranean and the Pacific. All nations of the Commonwealth accept HM Queen Elizabeth II as the symbol of their free association and thus Head of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Secretary-General, appointed by member government, is currently Mr. Kamalesh Sharma of India.

 
What does the Commonwealth do?
  • It promotes partnership and co-operation among its members
  • It promotes understanding and tolerance among its citizens
  • It reduces prejudice, ignorance, disease and poverty
  • It promotes democracy and good governance, sustainable economic and social development, respect for human rights and the rule of law, gender equality and protection of the environment.
 
What is Commonwealth Day?
Commonwealth Day is an annual celebration of the Commonwealth association and its members. Focusing on a different theme each year, it takes place on the second Monday in March. Its purpose is to promote understanding about global issues, international co-operation and the work of the modern Commonwealth.