About this event
An annual event in which the fifty-two member countries of the Commonwealth celebrate their links with one another. Formerly known as Empire Day, this day is symbolic of how relations between the former British Empire have evolved. At the London Declaration in 1949 the modern Commonwealth was born, restructured around a relationship between the member states that was ‘free and equal’. Each year the day has a different theme - the theme for 2022 is ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’.
How to approach it
This day offers an excellent opportunity to talk about the former British Empire and how equal, voluntary and cooperative relations between the Commonwealth are a better model. Take this opportunity to talk about what the British Empire was, what countries it included and how it was dismantled after WW2. Next, compare how relations between these countries are different now. For example, the Commonwealth’s stated values are democracy, human rights and the rule of law. They cooperate politically and conomically. They share cultural events such as the commonwealth games. Use the improvement of relations between the Commonwealth as inspiration. Encourage students to think about what a world built around less oppressive power and more cooperative relationships could look like.
Great Britain once had a huge empire including Canada, Australia, and India. These countries couldn't make their own decisions or work for themselves. Now, most of these places have won independence from Britain and form the Commonwealth group. The Commonwealth work together, with every country having equal status. Do you think this is a better than the old empire? Why?