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This year Commonwealth Day will be celebrated on Monday across the world in a series of virtual events, beginning on 7 March with a service at the UK’s Westminster Abbey (to be broadcast by the BBC).
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth, will give her annual message on ‘A Celebration for Commonwealth Day’ during the BBC programme.
Across the Commonwealth, communities will celebrate the day through a range of activities including virtual flag-raising events, online gatherings of civic and faith communities, and school readings, where permitted.
In her Commonwealth Day message, the Secretary-General Patricia Scotland described this year as one of “hope, opportunity and progress” for the Commonwealth’s 2.4 billion people. She said: “Too often, too many of us can think we are powerless. This is particularly true in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges such as climate change or devastating events like the global pandemic.
“Especially in our current forced isolation and separation from each other, it can be too easy to forget our common connections or our long bonds of friendship and family.”
The Secretary-General went on say: “So while the challenges may seem insurmountable alone, I know that as a Commonwealth family, though we may be apart, we stand together, united in purpose… Let us work together for a more equal and equitable, a more hopeful future for our Commonwealth and for our world.”
The day will be guided by this year’s theme ‘Delivering a Common Future’, which will highlight how the 54 Commonwealth countries are ‘innovating, connecting and transforming’ to help achieve priority goals such as tackling climate change, promoting good governance, achieving gender equality and boosting trade. This year Commonwealth Day falls on the same date as International Women’s Day. The Commonwealth Secretariat will host a number of events in observance of these days.
Commonwealth citizens are encouraged to join the Secretariat’s social media campaign by naming extraordinary women leaders in their communities using #SheLeadsTheWay. Commonwealth Day has been observed every year since the 1970s. This is the first virtual celebration due to COVID-19.