HEADS OF COMMONWEALTH SUMMIT – 16th April 2018
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018, also known as CHOGM 2018, is the 25th meeting of the heads of government of the 53 Commonwealth nations. It will be held in London from 16th April and the theme is ‘Towards a Common Future.’
It will also be the first CHOGM held following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, a decision which has resulted in calls for Britain to strengthen its ties with and play a greater role in the Commonwealth.
Prime Minister Theresa May thinks the summit will set out a bright future for the Commonwealth, adding: “As we prepare to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London, we are reminded of the unique and proud global relationships that we have forged with the diverse and vibrant alliance of Commonwealth nations The UK has a long standing and firm commitment to the Commonwealth and to the values it upholds, of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. In hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the UK is committed to working with all members not only to reaffirm these shared values, but also to re-energise and revitalise the Commonwealth to cement its relevance to this and future generations”.
For some these words demonstrate that Britain is still keen to maintain its influence over its former empire, whilst for others new international trade is part of the Brexit deal they voted for. But what does this reflect for the Commonwealth citizens who have migrated to the UK from their former British colonies with a history of living under the shadow British Empire and hegemony?
The summit will see the UK take over as chair of the Commonwealth until 2020 however this will be the final summit that Queen Elizabeth will preside over. The Queen saw many of her citizens that her predecessors had colonialised arrive to help rebuild Britain after World War II from the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. She also presided over their wish for self-rule and independence. These include the famed Windrush Generation from the Caribbean who called Britain the motherland, whilst soldiers like the Ghurkhas died in wars for King, Queen and Country. The Commonwealth has also contributed much to the UK bringing commerce, wealth as well as pride and celebration through sport and culture.
From the conquered to the vanquished, from Brexiters to new settlers from those Commonwealth member nations what is the future of the Commonwealth and how relevant is it to Britons today?