Commonwealth day is celebrated every year on the second Monday of March, across the Commonwealth. It offers an opportunity to promote understanding on global issues, international co-operation and the work of the Commonwealth organisations, which aim to improve the lives of citizens. 2017 marked the 40th Commonwealth Day that was celebrated around the globe in all Commonwealth countries, which include currently 52 countries.
Traditionally the Birmingham Commonwealth Association marks this special day by raising the Commonwealth Flag outside the Council House in Victoria Square. The flag raising ceremony was attended by Lord Mayor Cllr Carl Rice, Dr. Pyara Bhogal (Advisory Chair of Birmingham Council of Faith), Keith Stokes-Smith (Chair of the BCA), Muhammad Zulqar Nain (Assistant High Commissioner for Bangladesh), Tarang Shelat (Chair of Birmigham Council of Faiths) and Wade Lyn (Chairman of the Communities Group of the BCA).
This was followed by the traditional citizenship ceremony, where 24 people from Commonwealth nations received their British citizenship. The ceremony was supported by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Colonel George Marsh and Chairman of the BCA Keith Strokes-Smith. Marcia Lewinson (Chief Executive of W.A.I.T.S.) and Nura Ali (Executive Director Allies Network) spoke about the importance of equality between men and women and a significance of Commonwealth and UK values.
Networking Event Dinner
At 6.45pm, welcome drinks and canapés were served to start off the Birmingham’s annual Commonwealth Day Networking Event and Dinner. The dinner was held at University College Birmingham and attended by the new Lord Lieutenant for the West Midlands, Mr. Crabtree and his wife; the Lord Mayor of Birmingham Councillor Carl Rice and Lady Mayoress Deed Curry, Councillor Brigid Jones plus key representatives from the Birmingham Commonwealth Association.
Keith Stokes-Smith welcomed 80 guests including the BCA’s strategic partners BCU and Birmingham Airport, plus local businesses, universities and BCA supported charities/organisations.
There was an auction and a raffle where money was raised for W.A.I.T.S. and Allies Network.