The inaugural Commonwealth Conference was held from Monday 9 to Wednesday 11 April at Griffith University’s Nathan campus which explored the normative and practical leadership roles of the Commonwealth in forging sustainable peace and development worldwide. The conference brought together speakers from all over the Commonwealth to discuss the potential of the Commonwealth of Nations as an institution for addressing global issues such as climate change, terrorism, and social and political polarisation. Speakers at the conference included Senator Claire Moore, international military chaplains, Hiroshima survivor and 2017 Nobel Prize recipient Setsuko Thurlow, Canadian MP, Rachel Blaney as well as faith communities, Indigenous peoples, youth, academics, politicians, decision-makers, women’s rights advocates and more.

Co-convenor Dr Brian J Adams said the event followed in the footsteps of previously successful events. “Based on the successful precedents of events organised in conjunction with the G20 and G8 Summits, it is clear that input from a broad range of voices strengthens international decision making,” said Dr Adams. The opening night was an opportunity for speakers and guests to network and get to know each other before commencing discussions on the past and future of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth and interfaith dialogue, peace and security in the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth and sustainable development.

Reflecting on the conference, co-convenor Dr Jim Christie said, “the Commonwealth Conference fulfilled and in fact exceeded all of our hopes and expectations. The entire conference, really, was a focus question and that question mark was around whether or not this would be a worthwhile project and whether or not, going into the future, Commonwealth Conferences of this nature would provide solid, sound and safe venues for future reflection on Commonwealth possibilities and Commonwealth perils.”

Feedback from speakers and guests about the Commonwealth Conference has been resoundingly positive with many requesting an invitation to future Commonwealth Conferences.  The Commonwealth Conference was an inaugural event aligned with the Commonwealth Games. It was established to assess the viability of the Commonwealth as an institution for addressing global crises and establishing sustainable peace and development for our world.

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