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We Must Work Together to Deliver a Common Future, Says Speaker

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 09 March 2020

Reference: SO 04/19/20

The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and President of the Assembly Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Alex Maskey MLA, tonight hosted an event to mark Commonwealth Day in Parliament Buildings. 

The theme of Commonwealth Day 2020 is “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’. The event focused on a range of innovative projects that have transformed lives by connecting our local communities with those from across the Commonwealth.

Speaking after the event, the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly said: “As part of my role as Speaker, I am also the President of the Assembly Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.  As such, I was delighted to host this evening’s Commonwealth Day event as an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the diverse society we live in. 

“As Speaker I want to ensure that this Assembly reflects every part of our community, including those from across the Commonwealth and indeed globally. 

“With the sitar, the didgeridoo and Caribbean poetry reverberating around Parliament Buildings tonight, I hope it sends out a message of the respect the Assembly has for all those who have chosen to live alongside us as neighbours and who have enriched us through their different cultures and traditions.”

The Speaker continued: “This evening’s event was also an opportunity for us to hear from Conal Heatley of the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council, about how the work of the Commonwealth Sport NI programme is helping to connect young people throughout the Commonwealth.

The Speaker concluded: “Aaron Smith, a pupil at St Louise’s College in Belfast, also spoke this evening about how his experience of the tragic loss of his friend to suicide, motivated him to volunteer with the Uniting Communities Young Leaders programmes. This led to Aaron taking part in a Commonwealth Sport NI exchange visit to Rwanda and becoming involved in the Sporting Chance Forum at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva.

“Aaron’s moving story of finding hope and positivity in the face of sorrow and adversity demonstrates to us all of the value of connecting, working together and helping each other to deliver a common future”   

Tonight’s event also featured a blend of music and poetry performances from Australia, the Caribbean and India.


Notes to Editors:

  1. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s (CPA) NI Assembly Branch has participated in Commonwealth Day since 2008.
  2. This year’s Commonwealth Day theme is: Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming. This theme was chosen because Commonwealth countries are connected by deep-rooted networks of friendship and goodwill.

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