Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth, has sent the following message ahead of Commonwealth Day on Monday 12 March 2018.
‘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 and work more collaboratively towards a common future.
‘There is a very special value in the insights we gain through the Commonwealth connection; shared inheritances help us overcome difference so that diversity is a cause for celebration rather than division.
‘We shall see this in action at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which takes place in the United Kingdom next month, bringing together young people, business and civil society from across the Commonwealth.
‘These gatherings are themselves fine examples of how consensus and commitment can help to create a future that is fairer, more secure, more prosperous and sustainable.
‘Having enjoyed the warm hospitality of so many Commonwealth countries over the years, I look forward to the pleasure of welcoming the leaders of our family of 53 nations to my homes in London and Windsor.
‘Sport also contributes to building peace and development. The excitement and positive potential of friendly rivalry will be on display next month as we enjoy the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia.
‘Contributing to the success of the Games, alongside athletes and officials, will be thousands of volunteers.
‘Voluntary effort, by people working as individuals, in groups or through larger
associations, is so often what shapes the Commonwealth and all our communities.
‘By pledging to serve the common good in new ways, we can ensure that the Commonwealth continues to grow in scope and stature, to have an even greater impact on people’s lives, today, and for future generations.
Commonwealth Day is celebrated every year on the second Monday in March by the 53 countries of the Commonwealth in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Americas, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Queen Elizabeth will attend a multicultural, multi-faith service at Westminster Abbey, with a variety of testimonies, performances and readings throughout the Commonwealth.
Performances include the Ghanian drum collective One Drum, Ngati Ranana London Maori Club, Portsmouth Gospel Choir and British musician Liam Payne.
Award-winning spoken word artist Jaspreet Kaur and Co-Founder and CEO of Peak Vision Dr Andrew Bastawrous give spoken reflections.
BBC One will broadcast the service live from 2.45 pm GMT in Britain, including a procession of the 53 Commonwealth nations.
Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and leading global figures will provide online statements about the importance of the family of nations, which links governments, people and institutions of the member countries.
Church services, faith and civic gatherings, debates, school assemblies, flag-raising ceremonies, street parties and fashion shows will celebrate the Commonwealth’s vast diversity, strong unity and uplifting values.
This year is going to be a rather busy one, especially with the XXI Commonwealth Games 2018 held at the Gold Coast from 4 to 15 April.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will represent Queen Elizabeth attend the Opening Ceremony where he will read out a message calling on athletes to come together in the spirit of friendly competition.
At present, the message is inside the Queen’s Baton Relay is travelling through Queensland until the lead-up to the Opening Ceremony.
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, will also attend the Games in his role as vice patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
The 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will be held in London from 16 to 20 April where leaders will meet to address key global challenges and agree how to work together for the welfare and the common good of its 2.4 billion citizens.
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