The State of the Commonwealth

State of the Commonwealth

For more information

  • This event has taken place
  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
  • Email:

A relic of Empire or essential to our global futures together?

A leading panel, hosted by BBC Newsreader Reeta Chakrabarti considers the current role and value of the Commonwealth.

In the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the EU, the Commonwealth has been identified as an important element of the mooted realignment in British trade and diplomacy. To coincide with the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London, this event considers the relevance of the modern Commonwealth, both to the UK and to the other 51 member states. How is it organised and what has held it together for so long? How successful has it been in escaping from the shadow of the British Empire to become an organisation based on shared values, rather than a shared history? How important is the Queen’s role as Head of the Commonwealth? Most importantly, why has it had such a troubled recent past, and is it realistic to imagine that its fortunes might be reversed?

Speakers include

Lord Paul Boateng, a former British high commissioner to South Africa, MP, cabinet minister and civil rights lawyer.

Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999 to 2008, and Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme from 2009 to 2017

Philip Murphy, Director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London, author of new book The Empire's New Clothes.


Name: The State of the Commonwealth
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546