Thursday, 11 February 2010

Citizenship and the Commonwealth: First Conference Announcement

2010 Commonwealth Conference

First Announcement

The first Commonwealth Conference will take place from Wednesday 10th to Friday 12th November 2010 at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, UK.

The theme of the Conference will be “Citizenship and the Commonwealth”


This, the first Commonwealth Conference, will explore what it means to be a citizen of the Commonwealth in the 21st century. The issue of citizenship received only passing mention in the Communiqu√© of the 2009 CHOGM. Yet the creation of effective forms of citizenship, which offer the maximum potential for the inhabitants of Commonwealth countries to play an active and informed role in shaping their lives and their countries, is an important precondition for the achievement of the Commonwealth’s stated goals in areas as diverse as democratisation, sustainable development, human rights, combating corruption and tackling climate change.
Active citizenship is essential for both the ‘horizontal’ and ‘vertical’ integration of societies: ‘horizontal’ in terms of forging bonds of understanding and cooperation between different ethnic, religious and political identities, and ‘vertical’ in terms of providing people with the sense that they have a stake in all levels of policy-making, civil society and the economy. The major problems confronting the Commonwealth can be tackled more effectively if ordinary citizens feel confident that they can make a difference and governments have support for their actions from the electorate.


We would like to invite papers that address the broad theme of “Citizenship and the Commonwealth”.

These may cover topics such as:

• Commonwealth citizenship in an historical context
• Definitions of citizenship
• Gender, ethnicity and citizenship
• Citizenship, democracy and soft power
• Citizenship and migration
• Citizenship and the environment
• Citizenship and the economy
• Technology and the nature of active citizenship

Applications should include the following:

• A curriculum vitae (2000 words maximum)
• The name, address and email address of one referee
• An abstract of around 500 words on an issue relating to the subject

Background to the Conference

For a number of years the Association of Commonwealth Studies (ACS), an informal network of those interested in Commonwealth studies, has held occasional conferences at Cumberland Lodge. Arising from the deliberations of a working group, it has been agreed to place these meetings onto a regular basis, renamed as the Commonwealth Conference. We would like to acknowledge the vision and energy of Professor Thomas Symons of Trent University, Canada, in establishing the ACS, and to express the hope that all the supporters of the ACS will value the new format, support it through their participation, and consider ways and means to host future sessions of the Commonwealth Conference.

Sponsors and Organisers

The 2010 Commonwealth Conference will be jointly sponsored by the Commonwealth Foundation, the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the UK Commonwealth Scholarships Commission. It will be held on a biennial basis, in alternate years to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The aim of the Conference is to bring together academics, students, policy makers, members of NGOs and other civil society groups, to discuss an issue of central importance to the future of the Commonwealth. Special emphasis will be placed on engaging with the views of students, early-career researchers and other young people from across the Commonwealth.

Publication Plans

The outcomes of the Commonwealth Conference will be disseminated in two principal ways: selected papers will be published in an edited volume, and a report will be compiled on the Conference as a whole. Both will be launched at the following year’s CHOGM. In this way, the conference organisers seek to add a new dimension and additional focus to the civil society consultations which precede Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings.


Submissions should be sent either in hard copy or electronically to:
Troy Rutt
Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London,
2nd floor, South block, Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU

The 2010 Commonwealth Conference is a joint initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation, the UK Commonwealth Scholarships Commission and the Institute of Commonwealth Studies

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