Looking back at the Commonwealth Youth Forum on the 70th anniversary of #CommonwealthDay

11 March 2019

  • Blog

This post was written by Kerrie Starkie, Representative for the North West on UK Youth Voice. You can read more blogs from UK Youth Voice by clicking here and follow them on twitter @UKYV.

It’s #CommonwealthDay again and this year we’re celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Commonwealth! I’m joining the celebrations from my home town this year, but this time last year I was lucky enough to experience it first hand for the whole week!

In 2018 I got to experience the Commonwealth network for the very first time. I got to be right in the heart of the learning and having new experiences. I shall forever remember my week at the Commonwealth Youth Forum in London last April.

From hearing Prince Harry speak, to hearing Elle Goulding sing, meeting people from all around the Commonwealth was just the greatest privilege I could ever ask for. Seeing young people come together from all over the 53 countries around the Commonwealth and having so much in common. It was like we had known each other for years. From first seeing the amazing Queen Elizabeth II centre in Westminster full to the brim of 1500 young delegates, it was amazing to start the week feeling like a stranger and finish it with life-long friends.

At the beginning of the week I didn’t know much about the Commonwealth. Throughout the week we got to hear from important people like Prince Harry, Theresa May, Bill Gates and many more. Hearing from each of them really gave me a great insight into their views on the world, and how different they are from each other. Throughout the week we attended different talks and sessions learning all about the Commonwealth and how we could make a difference. Just learning everything throughout the week really opened my eyes to all the problems faced in different parts of the Commonwealth and how privileged we are, sometimes without even realising. Towards the end of the week we thoroughly enjoyed a private concert live from the one and only Ellie Goulding (she’s more amazing in person!). That was truly a night to remember. Being right at the front of the stage seeing her and hearing her sing was incredible.

There’s really no words to describe the week I had at the Commonwealth Youth Forum last April on behalf of UK Youth. I was so privileged to get experiences not many young people get and so mind blown on the train back. I just couldn’t believe what an amazing week I had.

I may have come back with new experiences and friends but I also left with an understanding of what the Commonwealth meant to me. That is that young people may not feel like we have a say in the world but having our representatives all over the Commonwealth means that we actually have a say and people listen to us, and things can change through us speaking up. Each time we represent and display what the Commonwealth stands for, we will continue to have a platform to speak about the issues that matter to us the most.

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