This Witness Seminar, Britain in the Commonwealth: The 1997 Edinburgh Commonwealth took place at Marlborough House, London, on Monday, 19th March 2018. Download full Witness Seminar Transcript. Session participants: Amitav Banerji then Deputy Conference Secretary,...
Download Interview Transcripts: Part One (9 March 2016) and Part Two (29 March 2016) Biography: Sharma, Kamalesh. 1941-. Born in India. Educated at St Stephen’s College, Delhi and University of Cambridge. Indian Foreign Service, 1965-2001. India’s Permanent...
Dr Eva Namusoke, Postdoctoral Research Officer On 13 October 2016 the Maldives became the third country to leave the Commonwealth. The decision came after a number of years defined by a frosty relationship with the Commonwealth, centring on allegations of undemocratic...
Download Interview Transcript: Part One (14 July 2015); Part Two (15 July 2015). Biography: Ghai, Yash. 1938. Born in Kenya and graduate of the University of Oxford and Harvard University. Senior Fellow and Lecturer at Yale Law School, 1971-73. Professor of Public Law...
Download Interview Transcript. Biography: Banerji, Amitav. 1953-. Born in India. Educated at Georgetown University (BA) and Delhi School of Economics (MA). Joined Indian Foreign Service in 1975. Private Secretary to the Indian Foreign Minister, 1979-1982. Joined...
Download Interview Transcript. Biography: Bolger, James Brendan ‘Jim’. 1935- . Born in Opunake, New Zealand. Elected to the Parliament of New Zealand as MP for King Country in 1972. Minister of Fisheries and Associate Minister of Agriculture, 1977-78. Minister of...
Hamid Karzai (b.1957) is an Afghan political figure who served as President of Afghanistan from 2004 to 2014. Karzai had been an active opponent to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s but was sidelined in politics during the subsequent Taliban regime. Following the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Karzai served two years as Interim President (2002-04) before being elected President in 2004.
Jerry John Rawlings
Jerry John Rawlings (b.1947) was President of Ghana from 1993 to 2001. He had previously acted as Head of State from 1981 to 1993, seizing power as a leading flight lieutenant during a military coup. This was Rawlings’ second ascent to power through a coup – he had previously acted as Head of State in 1979 during the transitional period to civilian government following the overthrow of General Fred Akuffo.
The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative is a debt reduction programme jointly coordinated by the IMF and the World Bank and launched in 1996. The initiative provides debt relief and low-interest loans to 39 countries around the world, 33 of which are located in sub-Saharan Africa.
Pacific Island Forum (Pacific Islands Forum)
The Pacific Islands Forum is an inter-governmental organization. Founded in 1971 as the South Pacific Forum, it aims to enhance cooperation between the countries of the Pacific Ocean.
Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde (b. 1956). French politician and lawyer. She was France’s Trade Minister, 2005-07. She is currently Managing Director of the IMF (2011-).
James “Jim” Bolger (b. 1935). New Zealand politician and member of the National Party. He was Prime Minister 1990-97, and leader of the opposition, 1986-90.
United Nations. Major international organisation, founded in 1945.
South Pacific Forum
The South Pacific Forum was an international organisation formed in 1971 to facilitate cooperation between the independent countries of the Pacific Ocean. In 1999, it was renamed the Pacific Islands Forum.
The Millbrook Declaration (1995) is a Commonwealth policy programme, announced at the end of the New Zealand CHOGM. It was designed to uphold the Harare Declaration (1991).
Click here to read the Declaration in full. Security Council
A body, part of the United Nations organisation, charged with upholding of global peace and security.
Ken Saro-Wiwa (1941-1995). Nigerian writer and political and environmental activist. An outspoken critic of the regime of General Sani Abacha, and Royal Dutch Shell’s environmental pollution in Ogoniland in the Niger Delta, Saro Wiwa was executed on 10 November 1995. Eight other MOSOP activists were hanged.
Robert Mugabe (b.1924). Zimbabwean resistance leader and politician. Served as Prime Minister (1980-1987) and President (1987-) of Zimbabwe.
Sir Donald McKinnon (b. 1939) is a New Zealand politician who served as Deputy Prime Minister for the National Party (1990-96), Foreign Minister (1990-99) and Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations (2000-08).
Nelson Mandela (b. 1918). South African anti-apartheid campaigner and politician, served as South Africa’s first post-apartheid President (1994-1999).
Dr Mahathir (Mahathir bin Mohamad)
Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad (b. 1925). Malaysian politician and Prime Minister (1981-2003).
Latimer House Principles
Commonwealth principles on the relationship between the three branches of government that seek to promote good governance. Drafted in 1998 and endorsed by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2003.
Chris Laidlaw (b.1943). New Zealand politician and diplomat. Assistant to Sonny Ramphal.
International Monetary Fund. Created in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference, the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF's original aim was to stabilise exchange rates and aid national reconstruction after the end of the Second World War.
The Harare Commonwealth Declaration of 1991 set out the Commonwealth's principles and values, including membership criteria.
Click here to read the Declaration in full. EU
European Union. International organisation of European states. Known as the European Economic Community before 1993.
European Economic Community. An international organisation of European states, founded in 1957. Renamed the European Union in 1993.
The Commonwealth Secretariat is the principal inter-governmental body of the Commonwealth, responsible for promoting cooperation between members. Founded in 1965.
A period of ideological tension from around 1945 to 1991 between capitalist nations led by the USA and communist nations led by the USSR.
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Every two years Commonwealth heads of government meet to discuss global and Commonwealth issues, with the aim of promoting common initiatives.
Tony Blair (b. 1953). British politician, served as Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007.
British Broadcasting Corporation. Broadcasting organisation semi-autonomous from the British government, originally founded in 1922.
Yasser Arafat (1929-2004). Palestinian resistance leader and politician, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (1969-2004), President of the Palestinian National Authority (1994-2004).
A system of legally enforced racial segregation implemented and upheld by the National Party in South Africa from 1948 – 1994
Emeka Anyaoku (b. 1933). Nigerian diplomat. Served as Head of the Commonwealth International Affairs Division (1973-1977), Assistant Secretary General (1977-1979); Deputy Secretary General (1979-1991); Secretary General (1991-2001).
African National Congress. A South African political party, founded in 1912, that opposed apartheid and has been South Africa’s governing party since 1994.
Abacha (Sani Abacha)
General Sani Abacha (1943-1998). Nigerian army general and politician. He was the
de facto President of Nigeria from 1993 to 1998.