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Commonwealth Secretary-General gives One People Oration

Friday, 11th March 2011

Commonwealth Secretary-General gives One People Oration

His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma, Commonwealth Secretary-General gave the One People Oration at Westminster Abbey on Thursday 10th March 2011.

Speaking to the title ‘The Original Worldwide Web’, he described the Commonwealth as ‘the image of the world itself’.

Mr Sharma, who spoke about the future of the Commonwealth, said:

to think of all mankind is to be a Commonwealth person.
I cannot adequately stress the importance of this ‘free and equal association’ – of countries large and small, rich and poor, island and land-locked, home to people of every creed, on every continent and in every ocean – to our collective existence and destiny.

In his address, Mr Sharma drew on the words of the Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty The Queen, who once called the Commonwealth ‘the original worldwide web’. Looking both to the past and to the future, he examined all three words: the Commonwealth’s origins in its shared democratic values and the evolution of how the association protects and promotes them; its worldwide role as a global citizen; and the ways in which it has strengthened and must continue to strengthen its own ‘web’, or networks.

The One People Oration was first given in 1966. Edward Carpenter, then Archdeacon, later Dean of Westminster (1974 – 1985), who conceived the idea, intended to make people ‘think not only of all Christian people but of all mankind.’

Orators over the years have included The Duke of Edinburgh and senior figures in politics, the armed forces, the diplomatic service, the media, the Church and other aspects of public life. HE Sir Shridath S Ramphal, then Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, was Orator in 1988.

See also:

Mr Sharma's speech

Commonwealth Secretariat website

Commonwealth Secretary-General gives the One People Oration


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