Reflecting on Commonwealth Day 2022, Chief Executive of Mersey Maritime, Chris Shirling-Rooke, writes:
“Today, here in the United Kingdom, across 54 member countries and amongst 2.5 billion citizens we celebrate Commonwealth Day. Our global family of Commonwealth nations are united in a powerful commitment to the values of freedom, democracy and peace – it truly is a network based on liberty, one of the core and fundamental values so precious to us all. These values are embedded in the Charter of the Commonwealth and, at a time of immense peril and uncertainty across the world, resonate strongly with all those who share them today.
Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine has illustrated just how quickly these guiding principles can be turned upside down but perhaps they also present us with a unique opportunity. Commonwealth membership is open to all states and isn’t limited to those formerly associated with the British Empire, a common misconception for many. Indeed, two of the most recent countries to join, Rwanda and Mozambique, have no historical link to it. Commonwealth countries are diverse: they are among the world’s biggest, smallest, richest and poorest countries. Together they work to pursue common goals and values.
Why don’t we consider growing the family further by adding to it countries like Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova and sending a clear message that we are open to all who share those things that motivate us all? This would increase the membership of the organisation further, by some 50 million people and expand considerably opportunities for trade, cultural exchange and joint projects. And it would also demonstrate to the next generation, with some 60 per cent of Commonwealth citizens already being aged 29 or under, that the wish to be globally focused and motivated by decent and modern standards and values is just as important now as it always has been, even in the face of the actions of rogue and aggressive states.”