Partnership between Commonwealth Secretariat and Association of Commonwealth Universities announced

Posted by ap507 at Sep 19, 2017 02:50 PM |
New partnership between the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Association of Commonwealth Universities will boost the impact of international higher education on social and economic development initiatives across member countries

Issued by the Association of Commonwealth Universities on 19 September

A new partnership between the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Association of Commonwealth Universities will boost the impact of international higher education on social and economic development initiatives across member countries.

The initiatives include improving and influencing national education policies to support international development and the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals; addressing issues such as graduate employability; helping to prevent gender-based violence; and fostering a culture of respect and understanding of different cultures and beliefs.

The agreement will also see the two organisations collaborating on relevant aspects of the 20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (20CCEM) in Fiji in February 2018, and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the United Kingdom in April 2018.

A memorandum of understanding formalising the partnership was signed on 15 September by the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and the Chief Executive and Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Speaking at the signing, Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said,

“It is important for us to be consolidating our partnership with the Association of Commonwealth Universities, in terms of creating a new bridge for us to explore the opportunities there are for education and well-being. And I’m incredibly happy that we are about to launch this new chapter of the relationship.

“I’m also delighted that, as the first female Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and the first female Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, we are signing this agreement.”

Dr Joanna Newman, Chief Executive and Secretary General of ACU said,

“I am signing this on behalf of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, which has more than 500 member institutions across more than 50 Commonwealth countries.

“Higher education has extraordinary power to transform our world for the better and tackle the grand challenges of our time. Universities will be central to meeting every one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals – not only through the vital research they undertake, but also through the skilled and globally aware graduates they produce.

“I am looking forward to working even more closely with the Commonwealth under the leadership of the Secretariat and respective Commonwealth governments. This partnership is a really valuable way of harnessing the power of universities for the common good.”

Professor Paul Boyle, President & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester and Council member of the Association of the Commonwealth Universities added:

“I am delighted that the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the Commonwealth Secretariat are increasing collaboration. It is vital that governments across the Commonwealth and beyond understand the pivotal role higher education plays in supporting economic and social change across the globe, and that they support universities to drive positive action.  This agreement is an important step in the right direction.”

The agreement will lead to collaborative working in a number of areas, such as sharing the Commonwealth Secretariat’s iLibrary, the official repository of more than four decades of formally published research and data. The online resource currently contains more than 800 e-book titles, nearly 9,000 chapters and 215 working papers. In addition to providing an invaluable research tool for university students and academics, subscription sales will also help to fund the digitisation of further publications. In addition, the Commonwealth Secretariat maintains the library and archives that contain collections of books and research material produced through activities with member governments since 1965.


Notes to editors:

About the Association of Commonwealth Universities

The ACU is the higher education organisation for the Commonwealth. It supports the development of higher education as power for good across the Commonwealth and beyond. It was the world’s first international university network and remains one of the most diverse, with 500+ members across more than 50 countries. Established more than 100 years ago, it represents the future. The Commonwealth has a combined population of 2.4 billion, 60% of which are under the age of 30.

The ACU represents the shared values of the Commonwealth – including democracy, sustainable development and tolerance, respect and understanding – combined with a belief in the power of higher education to transform lives and support development.

As a UK-registered charity, the ACU is governed by its member institutions through an elected Council. Her Majesty the Queen, the Head of the Commonwealth, is Patron of the ACU.

About the Commonwealth Secretariat

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 52 independent and equal sovereign states.

The Commonwealth is home to 2.4 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries. Thirty of our members are small states, many of which are island nations.

Our shared values and principles are inscribed in the Commonwealth Charter.

Member countries are supported by a network of more than 80 intergovernmental, civil society, cultural and professional organisations.

The last country to join the Commonwealth was Rwanda in 2009. Find out how countries can join the Commonwealth in our Frequently Asked Questions.

The Commonwealth Secretariat, established in 1965, supports Commonwealth member countries to achieve development, democracy and peace. We are a voice for small and vulnerable states and a champion for young people.

It helps to strengthen governance, build inclusive institutions and promote justice and human rights. Our work helps to grow economies and boost trade, empower young people, and address threats such as climate change, debt and inequality.

It provides training and technical assistance and support decision-makers to draw up legislation and deliver policies. We deploy experts and observers who offer impartial advice and solutions to national problems. We also provide systems, software and research for managing resources.

At Commonwealth summits, it brings together government leaders whose decisions will have an enduring impact on all citizens. By uniting our member countries in this way, we help to amplify their voices and achieve collective action on global challenges.

Priority areas of work are agreed at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings, which occur every two years. The next summit is in the United Kingdom in April, 2018.

The Commonwealth Secretariat’s structure is split into three areas:

  • Governance and Peace
  • Trade, Oceans and Natural Resources
  • Economic, Social and Sustainable Development


For more information please contact either Ben Maloney in the Commonwealth Secretariat’s communications office: 020 7747 6546/ or Emma Cowlard at the ACU: 020 7380 6737/


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