UG, Kingsway Basic School emerge win Commonwealth debates

The University of Ghana and Kaneshie Kingsway I Basic School on Monday emerged winners of two separate debates organised to commemorate this year’s Commonwealth Day in Accra.

An argument for the motion “Is commonwealth still relevant?” earned the premier university’s team 254 points to beat their counterparts from the University of Professional Studies, Accra which scored 187 points.

In the primary debate, on the topic “Can connecting, innovating and transforming deliver a future for the commonwealth”, the Kaneshie School argued for the motion and garnered 250 points to topple the Adabraka cluster of school team which scored 218.

All four schools received trophies of varying sizes, certificates and books while the Kaneshie School had extra certificates and text books for successfully growing 10 seedlings given the school last year during the commonwealth tree planting contest.

The Commonwealth of Nations, simply known as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 54 member states across the world, mostly former territories of the British Empire, including Ghana.

Every second Monday in March is marked as Commonwealth day to celebrate cultural exchange and shared values of the association including development of free and democratic societies and the promotion of peace and prosperity.

This year’s celebration on the theme “Delivering a common future: connecting, innovation, transformation”,  was marked with  cultural performances, debates and a model Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting , organised by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).

In an address, the Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Andrew Barnes said his country, as a founding member of the association, deemed it an important forum for building democracy and promoting development.

However, he said it was confronted with issues including relevance and therefore urged the association to reform itself to make it an organisation fit for the future and relevant to its members and the wider world.

He advocated an increase of the association’s annual budget of 50 million pounds, saying “With such limited resources it can necessarily only play a modest role internationally.”

Mr Barnes announced that Australia would this year commit $7.2 million in development funding to the Commonwealth.

In an interview, member of the council of state, Sam Okudzeto, who chaired the event, said Commonwealth was still relevant because of benefits including the ease of pursuing higher education in member states.

He, therefore, urged member states to continue deepen relations for socio-economic development despites emergence of several trade blocks which seemed to distracting them.

For her part, the CHRI Head of Africa Office, Mina Mensah said the association would continue to promote peaceful co-existence and development between member states.

BY JONATHAN DONKOR

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