The Commonwealth Association has now been established under the Chairmanship of Mr Keith Stokes – Smith. Like the other Associations membership and focus centres around business and trade; education; culture; community; sport and local government.
As the Commonwealth currently comprises some 53 countries the work of the Association will be targeted for obvious reasons. Engagement will be promoted and developed with those countries and communities with which wider Birmingham has an interest.
From a community perspective Bangladesh, India, Jamaica, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, amongst others, will be countries with which the Association will seek to improve linkages. Of importance generally is the need to address issues affecting young people, disadvantaged citizens and improve overall employment opportunities and well-being.
Education development at school, college and university level will also be of importance to the Association. And in collaboration with the various educational establishments at all levels the Association will work with Commonwealth partners to promote school improvement, exchanges of staff and students, training, skill upgrading and the enhancement of longer-term job opportunities.
Commonwealth business links will also be promoted. The Greater Birmingham Chamber, Institute of Asian Businesses and UKTI will be amongst the Association’s partnership seeking to increase greater economic activity and trade around the Commonwealth.
The City Council will concentrate on the identification and implementation of service improvement. As coordinator of the Commonwealth Inclusive Cities Network (ICN) the Birmingham will work with its 16 partner cities from Vancouver to Brisbane to exchange good practice, relating to young people, employment and education etc.
In addition there will be collaboration on social cohesion, youth, migrants, crime prevention and ICN engagement between Birmingham and its Sister City of Johannesburg.