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The Annual Gladwyn Lecture 2020

Agenda 2030: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals - How might the Commonwealth deliver success?

Speaker: Stephen Twigg, Secretary-General, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

Chair: Sonny Leong CBE, Chair, Council for Education in the Commonwealth

Venue: Virtual (Zoom) | Date: Wednesday, 11th November 2020 | Time: 18:00 – 20:00

One third of the world’s population live in the 54 countries of the Commonwealth. Engaging together they offer a
tremendous opportunity, offering direction and initiating approaches to help everyone achieve the ambitions of the SDGs.
The scale of this challenge was always immense, but it has been increased further by the impact of COVID-19.

This year’s Gladwyn Lecture will address the importance of the Commonwealth’s active involvement, particularly in relation
to education (SDG4) and good governance (SDG16). Stephen Twigg will focus on issues that most affect young people
across the Commonwealth. He will also consider the vital role of all parliamentarians, wherever located, in the delivery of
Agenda 2030.

In times of crisis, education is often the first thing to go – if we don’t act now, it will happen again

As of 31 August 2020, UNESCO estimates that more than 700 million learners remain affected by school closures due to Coronavirus. While the health and safety of communities is rightly a top priority for national leaders, this has had a profound impact on children’s access to education. In the UK alone, millions of children and young people were asked to learn online during school closures, yet in 2018, 700,000 11 to 18-year-olds had no computer or tablet-based internet access at home. The challenge is clear

Contingent reflections on coronavirus and priorities for educational planning and development

By Keith M Lewin, University of Sussex

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically shifted education and development priorities. The tragic death toll and high rates of morbidity across many countries are an unprecedented setback and a calamity for those affected physically and mentally. The economic and social effects of lockdowns, loss of production and business confidence, and global recession will cast a long shadow over education systems. 

Despite the 435 million items that Google already indexes under “COVID-19 education”, many things remain unknown. No one has a clear idea of how the current pandemic will unravel over anything but the short term. The challenge is to strengthen the mechanisms to separate evidence from opinion and to balance popularism with speaking truth to power—especially when political systems can find it difficult to distinguish fact from convenient fiction.

Notice of Annual General Meeting 2020

We have pleasure in inviting you to attend the Annual General Meeting of the Council for Education in the Commonwealth, on Thursday, 3rd September 2020 from 11.00 am to 12.00 noon. The AGM will be a Zoom Meeting and the Chair of CEC will send the link and password closer to the date of the AGM.

Please click below for the following:

International students and the impact of COVID-19

Where might international student mobility be two years or so from now? This brief review focuses specifically on international students and seeks to explore beyond the immediate towards what a post-COVID world might look like (there will be one!)

Dr Neil Kemp OBE*


The COVID shock has been immediate and profound, reaching into all aspects of our life, far beyond health, welfare and financial concerns. Similar to that for people, whilst there are generalised effects, the impact on organisations has reflected their individual characteristics. For example, universities everywhere have moved fast, launching many innovative approaches to support both learning and welfare needs of their students. One major initiative has seen the migration of materials for online delivery, allowing students to complete current programmes and, if problems persist, for next semester students to commence.

Creative responses will remain essential, given that many countries remain in crisis as the global health emergency, morphs into an economic one. What is generally agreed is that recession is inevitable, unemployment will increase, and international trade and mobility of peoples will be greatly reduced. By how much and for how long will be determined not just by economics but also by sentiment, the alternatives available and the likelihood of the occasional irrational decision. Various recovery scenarios are put forward for national economies - attenuated V, flattish U, slanting L or a wonky W, but as yet no consensus exists. Even a sharp V-shaped bounce-back will result in lower international student enrolments well beyond 2021. 

Half of the world’s victims of slavery live in the Commonwealth: What can be done about it?

Speech delivered by Dame Sara Thornton, Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, at the Annual Commonwealth Day Westminster Seminar 

Scale of the issue and role of the Commonwealth

Modern slavery and human trafficking is a global challenge affecting every country in the world. According to the Global Slavery Index, there were an estimated 40.3 million people living in modern slavery on any given day in 2016.  The report also identifies a series of interrelated factors which create vulnerability and opportunity for slavery – governance issues, lack of basic needs, conflict, inequality and I will add climate change.

Vulnerability is then exploited by those motivated by greed or economic opportunism.  It is estimated that human trafficking is a business worth $150 billion annually.


Half of the world’s victims of slavery live in the Commonwealth:
What can be done about it?

Date: 9 March 2020 | Time: 10:30 to 12:30 | Venue: Committee Room G, Palace of Westminster

Host: The Rt Hon Baroness Prashar of Runnymede CBE, CEC Parliamentary Patron

While a third of the world’s population are Commonwealth citizens, according to the Global Slavery Index a staggering 55% of those currently enslaved reside in Commonwealth countries. This means that the Commonwealth is in a unique position to help significantly reduce slavery in the world.

As the statistics show, no country is exempt from the risks and incidence of modern slavery. Yet, it thrives in countries where governments fail to protect children, women and men from discrimination, exploitation and abuse, and allow businesses – however unscrupulous – to operate with impunity. All countries are bound by international law to make forced and child labour illegal.

60th Anniversary Conference



60th Anniversary Conference

Date: Friday, 17th January 2020 | Venue: Delegates' Lounge, Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5HX 

Time: 14:00 followed by Reception at 17:30


For further information, please click the flyer HERE

Gladwyn Lecture 2019

The Annual Gladwyn Lecture 2019

Inclusive Growth in the Commonwealth:
A New Role for Universities

Speaker: Dr Rhonda Lenton, President and Vice-Chancellor, York University, Canada

President Lenton’s premise is that, in the interest of political and social stability, economic growth needs to benefit all segments of society, and that the universities are heavily implicated in all parts of the process: from promoting access to learning, providing the skills and knowledge needed in an economy defined by change, to a deeper engagement with the communities served by the institution.

Venue: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Room Palace of Westminster, London SW1A 0AA

Date: Thursday 5th December 2019 | Time: 18:00 – 20:00 | Chair: Dr Alastair Niven LVO, OBE, Trustee

Download the flyer HERE


Read the full lecture HERE

Indefinite Leave to Remain: Why stringent requirements pose a severe threat to the UK education sector

With the UK’s divorce from the EU set to take place on 31st October, Halloween is set to become even scarier this year, especially whilst the event of a no-deal Brexit still looms in the air. Exacerbating the worries surrounding a no-deal crash is the government’s recent announcement that freedom of movement will end on day one of Brexit, leaving many migrant professionals trembling at the thought of legal limbos and chaotic visa applications. The UK education sector is among the most apprehensive, with stringent visa requirements, budget cuts and steep financial boundaries already prohibiting overseas teaching professionals from settling in the UK.