2023, the year of change-makers and productivityMay 4th, 2023
by Sarmad Shahbaz
The year 2023 is the year of change-makers and under the leadership of His Royal Highness King Charles III, whose official coronation takes place on Saturday May 6, there is great hope for a productive future amongst the Commonwealth of Nations.
Director of Development at the British High Commission in Pakistan Her Excellency Jo Moir expressed these views during an exclusive interview with YourCommonwealth.org on April 28 at the British High Commission in Islamabad.
Moir said the coronation serves as a watershed for Commonwealth states and the world and described 2023 as the year of change-makers.
King Charles and The Queen Consort Camilla will be crowned at a ceremony officiated by the archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at Westminster Abbey in London, the setting for every coronation since 1066. Charles is being crowned eight months after he ascended to the throne, following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, last September. His coronation comes 70 years after the coronation of his mother, then aged 25, who was crowned in a grand ceremony on June 2, 1953. The event will see the King attaining a constitutional position as Head of State of the United Kingdom, 14 Realms, 14 UK Overseas Territories, and the Crown Dependencies.
“2023 is titled as the Year of the Youth. The year is the year of change-makers as more than 60 per cent of the population of Commonwealth nations lies in the youth age bracket. Similarly, The Commonwealth provides several associations under its umbrella ranging from The Commonwealth Youth Council to Commonwealth Student Association,” said Moir, when asked about the year 2023 and the Commonwealth.
“In , the Commonwealth provided the young people with the Commonwealth games, cultural diversification, and people-to-people exchanges. This year, the Commonwealth is focusing on expanding its educational programs, especially for young people. Some of these programmes include Chevening Scholarships, Queen’s Education Scholarship, GoAl Program, Commonwealth Scholarships, and various programmes for aspiring professionals. This is expedited with the high-ended support of the British government itself.
“All of this is taken forward by the Royal effect of the British Majesties,” said Moir, a career diplomat and a development professional having vast experience and professional credentials in the field of international diplomacy and development.
She is also looking forward to healthy relations between Pakistan and the United Kingdom, with the expectation of strengthened diplomatic exchanges, trade relations, stronger educational services, cultural ties, and people-to-people correspondence.
“Pakistan has had a link with Commonwealth for more than 70 years. The Commonwealth focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which also lie on the same agenda of development in Pakistan. The relevance of Pakistan to the Commonwealth remains intact in developing the foundational ideas of the SDGs, especially on education, health, and gender quality.”
On the question of engagement of young people in Pakistan with the British High Commission and the Commonwealth, Moir said various pragmatic paths have been paved.
“Engagement of young people is of huge importance. The future lies on the shoulder of young people,” the diplomat said, adding that the British Government has spent £900m in the recent decade in Pakistan for inclusion and participation of young people.
She disclosed: “Due to an estimated 22.8 million children being out of school in Pakistan — about 12.2 million of them being girls — the UK has just pledged £130 million under its ‘Girls and Out of School: Action for Learning (GOAL)’ program, to enable education for girls in Pakistan.”