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President Wavel Ramkalawan attends CHOGM official opening ceremony and Heads of Government Executive Session

24 June 2022 | Commonwealth

Rwanda, Kigali 24 June 2022: President Wavel Ramkalawan attended the official opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda this morning. (Friday 24 June)

As the newest member of the Commonwealth hosting CHOGM 2022, the President of Rwanda, H.E Paul Kagame during his welcome address paid tribute to the Head of the Commonwealth, HRH the Majesty the Queen for the steadfast leadership and commitment for the continuous advancement of the organisation.

"We join together to pay tribute to Her Majesty the Queen, the Head of the Commonwealth, and its most devoted champion. Over her seventy years of service, the Commonwealth has grown, both in number, and in the scope of its ambition. The fact of holding this meeting in Rwanda, a new member with no historical connection to the British Empire, expresses our choice to continue re-imagining the Commonwealth, for a changing world," said President Kagame.

The Secretary General of Commonwealth, Rt Hon. Baroness, Patricia Scotland QC described the Commonwealth as the most significant grouping of the counties of the world. Honouring and reiterating the common values of the organisation as a gift to the future generations.

"The Commonwealth is part of that system – brought together to bring a touch of healing to kinships which were changing, but which continue to bind us. I believe profoundly that the Commonwealth today, in 2022, is a beacon within that international system.  We have shared interests and practical advantages, but we are the most significant grouping of countries in the history of the world which is bound, above all, by values to which we all aspire to.  

These values of peace and justice, of tolerance, respect, and solidarity - and our role as the foremost international champion for small and vulnerable states – remain our enduring responsibility. They express a vision for the world that will outlast all of us. They make us different. They make us special. Honouring these values, and that vision is our most sacred trust – and our gift to the generations which will follow. Today, as we gather in the midst of new and decisive shifts in our world, it is imperative that those values shape the choices we will make in the hours and days ahead. "

Representing Her Majesty the Queen at CHOGM 2022, HRH Charles Prince of Wales said he believes that the Commonwealth is uniquely positioned to achieve positive change in our world.  He urged the world leaders and diplomats present to consider how to define and strengthen their commitment to a common purpose whilst acknowledging the wrongs which have shaped the past. 

"Your Excellencies, if we are to leave the world better than when we found it – and that is our duty and our privilege – we must be bold with our ambition, decisive with our actions, and united in our effort".

Following the opening ceremony, President Ramkalawan attended his first CHOGM Executive Session alongside various Heads of State and Government.

The President will tomorrow (25 June 2022) attend the Intergenerational Dialogue followed by a private retreat, restricted to only Heads of State and Heads of  Governments to be held at the Intare Conference Arena in Kigali.

Also in attendance for the opening ceremony was the First Lady Mrs. Linda Ramkalawan, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sylvestre Radegonde, and the Acting High Commissioner, Mr. Terry Romain.

 

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