About the Commonwealth Youth Forum
The Commonwealth Youth Forum, hosted by the Government of Malta, and co-organised with the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Youth Council, is one of the four fora held just before CHOGM to help set the agenda for the actual meeting between Heads of Government. The Commonwealth Youth Forum will be held between the 21 and 25 of November 2015 at the San Antonio Hotel, in St. Paul's Bay.
The event brings together youth leaders from across the Commonwealth to exchange ideas and share experiences, build skills and networks, identify the most vital challenges and opportunities facing young people today, and make recommendations to decision makers at the highest level.
What will the forum achieve?
The Forum provides a platform for young people to have their say during the biennial CHOGM summit on what issues should be tackled by the Commonwealth.
- Is an opportunity for young people to set and manage their own agenda, contributing to development and democracy work in the Commonwealth
- Is a demonstration and celebration of the role and contribution of young people in promoting democracy and development
- Aims to promote meaningful cultural exchange and cooperation among young people across the Commonwealth
The theme for the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Forum is “Adding Global Value…#WhatNext?”. Following closely the main CHOGM theme, this Youth Forum will aim to challenge and promote the role of the Commonwealth in adding global value, and, importantly, the role that young people will have in achieving this vision.
Subthemes for the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Forum focus on education, youth employment, entrepreneurship, sustainable development, climate change, ICT, health, human rights, youth policy and youth work. For the first time, the outcome document from the forum will feature concrete policy proposals which can be readily adopted by the National Youth Councils, Commonwealth countries themselves, or by the Commonwealth.
For more information about the Commonwealth Youth Forum and its themes see: https://chogm2015.mt/fora/youthforum
For information about the #WhatNext? campaign,
How do I apply?
Complete the online form to apply. See: https://chogm2015.mt/fora/youthforum/application
Successful applicants should:
Youth who are selected to participate in the Commonwealth Youth Forum are expected to fully participate in all the parts of the forum programme between the 21-25 of November 2015.
Applications must be completed by 30 September 2015. To apply, complete the online form at: https://chogm2015.mt/fora/youthforum/application
For information on the application process, email: [email protected]
The 25th edition of the jazz festival was spread over 4 days, rather than the traditional 3 days, with the final day designated as Commonwealth Jazz Day, supported by CHOGM Malta 2015.
Commonwealth Jazz Day saw two award-winning musicians, Soweto Kinch and Richard Bona, performing on our islands. Kinch, a saxophonist from the UK, is dubbed as the ambassador of urban culture by many, and is the holder of various awards including the BBC Best Jazz instrumentalist. The Cameroonian bassist Bona has been a master in the art of jazz since the tender age of 14 and is considered a pioneer of the genre, even establishing himself in New York and Paris.
These artists, both from Commonwealth countries, served to bring a small taste of the diverse culture which will grace the Maltese islands this November. The event truly reflected the crux of the summit’s theme ‘Adding Global Value’ by capturing the inherent cultural variety found throughout the Commonwealth family of nations.
Lesley Rudd from the UK and Nicole Mamadi from South Africa will demonstrate how, with a high degree of determination, tough obstacles can be overcome. Their work educates the less fortunate, demonstrates considerable leadership and helps to protect children from harm. They are a shining example of what can be achieved through the Commonwealth bond.
Lesley Rudd, with a background in nursing, set out 10 years ago on a mission to help highly vulnerable children in South Africa. Appalled by many stories of abuse suffered by very young children she single-handily set up a charity called the Infant Trust. (www.infant-trust.org.uk). She raises £80,000+ each year, over 98% of which is spent on child protection projects in South Africa. She concentrates on empowering women, training them to set up and run informal crèches as places of safety for children at risk.
Nicole Mamadi is a young woman who was, herself, targeted as a child and has seen the impact of abuse on many other children. As she got older Nicole became determined to help protect children; initially she trained and worked as a teacher and now works fulltime at www.kidsrspecial.org.za as an educator using tools such as puppets, music and drama to help inform young children about the dangers they face. Kids R Special are beneficiaries of Lesley’s work and are typical of the sorts of projects supported by the Infant Trust.
These two inspirational speakers will share a stage during the Women’s Forum, which is a new initiative for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2015. It takes place from 22 to 24 November 2015. Click here to register.
The first set of training sessions for volunteers participating in CHOGM Malta 2015 have also been conducted. Through these sessions, delivered by experts in their fields, the CHOGM Malta 2015 Taskforce is ensuring that the highest standards are reached with all volunteers fully prepared.
One of our volunteers, Gladys Vella, is featured this month. She recalls her gratifying experience as Liaison Officer in CHOGM 2005 and shares her pride at being given the opportunity to serve her country for a second time.
Commonwealth Jazz Day, supported by the CHOGM Malta 2015 Taskforce, was this month’s cultural highlight. You can read more in this newsletter. And we also chat to Jacqueline Micallef Grimaud, Chair of the Commonwealth People’s Forum Subcommittee, who gives us an overview of preparations so far.
Finally, if you’re not yet accredited please apply as soon as possible. Without accreditation you will not get access to all the CHOGM venues and conferences. And you need to be accredited before applying for a Visa. You can get request accreditation here.
We’re looking forward to welcoming you all to CHOGM 2015!
Calling all (Commonwealth) Youths!
Throughout the month of July, the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) issued an official call for nominations for their executive. The call for applications closed on the 16th of July. The CYC is the voice of over 1.2 billion youths forming part of the Commonwealth and is committed to providing a framework for youth-led development action. The CYC executive team, consisting of chairpersons, vice-chairpersons, regional representatives and representatives for interest groups, is elected biennially during their General Assembly.
This year, the date set for the General Assembly is the 24th of November, coinciding with both the CHOGM and the Youth Forum to be held in Malta in the same month. There is not only a link between the event dates; the proposed theme ‘Adding Global Value… #WHATNEXT’ is reminiscent of the diversity found within the CYC and the subject matters to be extensively tackled during the Youth Forum discussions. In fact, topics will range from sustainability in various sectors to the role of youths in human rights issues and policy making.
Are you interested in taking part in the Youth Forum? Have you been accredited yet? Remember that without accreditation, you will not be allowed any access. Approved accreditation is equally vital for those who need to apply for visas.
Preparations are in full swing and we look forward to welcoming you all to CHOGM 2015.
What is the Commonwealth People’s Forum?
The Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF) is the voice of the 2.2 billion citizens of the commonwealth. It is held every two years ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. It is being designed and delivered by the Commonwealth Foundation, alongside the CHOGM Malta Taskforce 2015. To facilitate the Forum, the Commonwealth People’s Forum Sub-Committee is working closely with civil society from the host country, Malta, and a selection of civil society leaders from other Commonwealth regions, who have come together with Maltese counterparts to form the Content Design Committee, as well as the Government of Malta.
“What Makes Resilient Societies?” is the chosen theme for the CPF. Could you elaborate on its relevancy in 2015?
Threats and shocks such as more frequent and intense storms, food price volatility, global financial crises, conflicts and epidemic diseases are perceived as increasingly prevalent and dramatic. Climate change, globalisation, inter and intra-national migration and the growing interconnectedness of people underpin narratives of growing complexity and vulnerability. In this context, resilience has gained credence as a concept and policy response. As opposed to vulnerability, resilience suggests adaptive learning, flexibility and a response to the complexity of real world dynamics. Other resilience logics assert that social cohesion and dialogue are instrumental in facilitating collaborative approaches to respond to adverse shocks. Small States and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are at the frontline of climate change impacts; with limited financial and human resources to cope, building resilience has gained significance with policy makers and academics.
Resilience is garnered over the long term. Government legislatures are variable, in that they are, generally, constitutionally established for a specified duration. It is only natural that civil society, which is constant, be the catalyst and vehicle which brings to realisation the concept of resilience and, thence, resilient societies.
Where does the significance of CPF2015 lie?
Civil society is coming to Malta at an important global juncture. CPF2015 will take place weeks after the unveiling of the new Sustainable Development Goals and with knowledge of the outcomes of the international conference on Financing for Development. It will also foreshadow talks on a global climate change agreement. Resilience has been a consistent refrain throughout the preparations for all these discussions and CPF2015 provides a timely opportunity for civil society to discuss, debate and plan.
CPF 2015’s theme: “What Makes Resilient Societies?” will draw on work that has been developed in Malta on resilience and vulnerability. The Forum aims to add diverse social and cultural perspectives to the discourse, which has its roots in the experience of Small States. In addition, the theme is seen as providing a civil society perspective that complements the overall CHOGM theme “Adding Global Value.”
When do participants register?
Participation will include those who seek a voice as well as high profile speakers, such as the environmentalist activist, Dr Vandana Shiva. Registration to participate in the People’s Forum and the opportunity to be an integral component of this voice is open. The list of individuals registering increases by the day; the 400-500 participant complement is being taken up at a fast rate and the registration process can be accessed via the CHOGM Malta website at www.chogm2015.mt. In the months to come, the Commonwealth People’s Forum sub-Committee together with the Content Design Committee and the Commonwealth Foundation will enhance the participatory process so as to further shape and hone the material so far produced to reflect and resonate with the requirements of the people of the Commonwealth.
Under the Prime Minister’s direction and driving force, with the full support of the people of the Commonwealth, Malta will, once again, trail blaze by bringing the voice of the 2.2 billion people of the Commonwealth closer to their Foreign Ministers and, hence, their Heads of Government.
As part of your country official delegation;
Commonwealth member countries will be invited to choose 2 youth leaders (gender balanced) as their 'National Youth Delegates’ that will represent the young people of their country. The National Youth Delegates will be selected by a Joint Committee consisting of the relevant National Youth Council (if applicable), Ministry responsible for youth and a designated CYC Representative. The Commonwealth Youth Council has informed each National Youth Council and/or Ministry of the requirement to setup a Joint Committee, responsible for selecting the 2 national delegates. As such, there will be an open call for applications, conducted in the near future. We encourage all interested candidates to contact their National Youth Council and/or Ministry responsible for Youth for more information regarding the specific process in your country. National Youth Delegates play an integral role in the Commonwealth Youth Forum as they have full voting rights and they can speak on behalf of their country in all sessions, including during the voting of the Outcome Document.
This will allow youth delegates to be meaningfully engage as the representative of the young people of their country (i.e. National Youth Councils, and other youth organisations or movements which have a significant constituency). Such a constituency is vital as it provides a pathway for both pre-CYF consultations, and post-CYF dissemination and implementation of outcomes.
As part of the host country (Malta) delegation;
A specified delegation of youth leaders aged 16-29 from Malta, who are representative of a wide cross section of local youth, and/or bring unique value as a result of their leadership and/or community, cultural or other activities, will be selected to participate in the CYF after a rigorous selection process. The public call will be issued on the 1 of August 2015, and applications close on the 30 of September 2015.
For more information about this process, please contact [email protected]
Commonwealth Youth Council Executive Election candidates;
On June 15, 2015, the Commonwealth Youth Council issued a call for youth delegates interested in participating in the upcoming Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) 2015 Elections. This call will close on 31July 2015. - See more at:
Any queries about the CYC elections please contact: [email protected]
International Open Call for CYF participants
Are you a youth leader aged between 18 and 29 years and have experience in youth advocacy or development? Submit an application to attend this international event! Successful applicants will receive sponsorship for travel within Malta, accommodation and meals for the duration of the Commonwealth Youth Forum. Applications must be completed by 31 August 2015
Note: participants will be responsible for organising and paying for their own flights to Malta. Successful candidates wishing to travel to Malta must also hold a valid passport and obtain a visa for entry to the country. Visas must be obtained before departure.
Complete the online form to apply. See: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/cyf10/
Intergovernmental Organisations, INGO’s and Youth-led Regional Organisations may be considered on a case-by-case basis
If any of the UN agencies, intergovernmental organisations working on youth or youth led regional organisations are interested in participating, please contact the CYF Taskforce ([email protected]) to request for an invitation. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If successful, the invitations will be for observer status only and funding will not be provided.
Last May, the CHOGM Malta 2015 Taskforce, in collaboration with the Malta Film Commission, had issued a call for proposals for the production of the official video theme of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) being held in Malta between 27 and 29 November 2015.
PBS has expressed its thanks to the CHOGM Malta 2015 Taskforce for entrusting it with this prestigious project. PBS chief executive Anton Attard said, “This theme video will offer an entertaining and emotional experience in portraying Malta as a nation, bringing out the true colours of the Maltese people”.
The objective of this initiative, which was supported by the Malta Film Commission, was to give the opportunity to local talent to participate and further develop their potential on an international scale project.
Proposals were received which focused on the strength and diversity of the Maltese nation, its multicultural background and the perseverance of the Maltese people. The CHOGM Malta 2015 overarching theme “The Commonwealth – Adding Global Value” was also addressed through reference to Malta’s involvement in the Mediterranean, European and Worldwide regions, as well as its history, geographical location and investment potential.
The music of the official song was composed by Ivan Grech of Winter Moods, with orchestrations by Karl Fiorini. The lyrics were also written by Ivan Grech. The song has been recorded at Temple Studios, produced by David Vella and is performed by leading singers from the local scene; Amber, Errol Sammut, Matthew Borg and Jasmine Abela as well as the participation of the Animae Gospel Choir and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra.
The video will be shot over the next weeks and will be launched in September.
More information may be found on chogm2015.mt.
In response to valid and motivating discussions with various civil society organisations in both Malta and Gozo, the Commonwealth Foundation and the People’s Forum Subcommittee will be organising a number of activities in the run-up to the People’s Forum and CHOGM 2015. The first session is scheduled for this coming Wednesday, 8th July, 2015 at 18:00hrs, at the Volunteer Centre, 181, Melita Street, Valletta. The theme of this meeting is:
‘The added value of participating in the Commonwealth People’s Forum 2015: What are the opportunities for Maltese civil society?’
Vijay Krishnarayan, Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, will present information in relation to the thematic focus and a discussion will follow. Time for updates from the Content Design Committee will be allocated and a preliminary programme for the People’s Forum 2015 will also be shared.
Civil Society is most welcome to attend and networks are invited to circulate the invitation among their membership. Organisations may send two representatives from their NGO. Attendance may be registered by sending an email to: [email protected]
For more information about the Commonwealth People’s Forum, including information on how to register, please visit www.chogm2015.mt/fora/people or http://www.facebook.com/groups/cpf2015/. Queries may also be sent by email to [email protected]. Registration to receive updates on the CPF 2015 can be made at http://cpf.commonwealthfoundation.com/sign-up/
What are your thoughts on the upcoming Commonwealth Youth Forum?
The upcoming Commonwealth Youth Forum, co-convened by the Government of Malta, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Youth Council, will be an important forum for young people in the Commonwealth. This year is particularly crucial as it is the 10th Commonwealth Youth Forum, and the event will therefore play a crucial role in setting the CHOGM this year and provide more opportunities for young people to contribute to the Commonwealth wide agendas.
Ultimately, 2015 has been a critical year in terms of many high-level policy discussions where the world leaders would come together and agree upon global priorities, including the Post 2015 development agenda and the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change known as ‘COP21’, which would decide the future of the world. As there are various policy discussions taking place and world leaders are deciding on solutions for the pressing challenges around the world, young people have a unique and timely opportunity to influence policy debates and implementation strategies, through participation in the ‘Commonwealth Youth Forum’ and define how young people could contribute to peace & development in the world with a sense of Civic Engagement & in the spirit of Volunteerism.
The theme of the CYF 2015 will be, “Adding Global Value...#WhatNext?” - The question #WhatNext speaks to the need for clear action pathways in the commonwealth. It addresses the concern that, very little implementation of recommendations takes place at the requisite levels to recognize significant change and impact within the commonwealth. This concern if not addressed will also lead to the ultimate questioning of the relevance of the commonwealth to the lives of the people. ‘#WhatNext?’ serves as a platform where youth will raise qualitative ideas on the change that is needed in approaching sustainable youth development through effective action by stakeholders; and challenge youth leaders to consider what the next steps are for overcoming the most pressing challenges facing young people across the Commonwealth
With over 60% of the Commonwealth being under 30 years, a paradigm shift is needed that will engage and empower a greater number of young people, in more meaningful ways – and the upcoming Commonwealth Youth Forum will be a unique platform for young people across all Commonwealth countries to gather and decide on solutions for their collective future.
What’s new with this year’s Youth forum?
This is the first time that the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) joins the CYF as a co-convener and the permanent co-chair of the forum. Also, the CYC Executives will convene its General Assembly for the first time after getting elected in 2013 during the previous CHOGM held in Sri Lanka. This is an exciting development as the Commonwealth Youth Council is one of the largest and the most-diverse youth led organizations in the world which serves as the representative voice of 1.2 billion young people in the Commonwealth. Further, new CYC Executives for next two years will be elected by the member countries and organizations who have met the requirements for membership will be officially approved as CYC members.
Importantly, the Outcome Document will include concrete proposals developed by young people, which will direct governments and organizations to take specific actions on the most challenging issues affecting youth across the Commonwealth. There are also significant changes in terms of the process of collating the Outcome Document. For instance, the CYC will be consulting with young people and those working in the youth sector including the National Youth Councils and regional youth bodies prior to the Forum to ensure that diverse viewpoints are taken into account. In particular, online consultation will enable the public to provide input for the policy documents.
Furthermore, this will be the most inclusive CYF ever held, as we are encouraging all member countries to select their National Youth Delegates through an open selection process, thus enabling anyone in their respective Commonwealth country to apply to participate in CYF. In addition, for the first time in the history, CYF 2015 International Task Force will make an open call for applications to select 50 youth across the Commonwealth countries who will be invited to be part of this forum as Delegates with partial funding. As we are working together to make this forum as the most inclusive CYF in the recent past, we encourage all young people to follow the regular updates of CYF 2015 and be part of this unique forum.
What can Malta bring to the table?
As Malta has already hosted CHOGM in 2005, they will be able to bring significant experience to the table, thus adding substantial value to the Commonwealth Youth Forum. This is particularly important for 2015 as it will be the 10th Commonwealth Youth Forum. Malta evidently recognizes the important role that young people can play, as they have a specific youth policy in place and they have one of the youngest Prime Ministers in the European region. Given their immense interest in youth development, Malta will be incredibly supportive of National Youth Delegates and we believe they will facilitate a valuable life-time experience for youth delegates who will be attending the CYF 2015. Malta is also the first Commonwealth country to adopt the Youth Work Profession Act, which gives formal professional recognition and status to youth workers. In light of their interest in youth development and strong track record in organizing international forums, it is clear that Malta will be an exemplary country for many Commonwealth nations and they will facilitate an incredibly unique cultural exchange.