British High Commissioner Scott Wightman's speech on Commonwealth Day 2017

British High Commissioner to Singapore, Scott Wightman, gave a speech during the Commonwealth Day event held at Eden Hall on 13 March 2017.

Commonwealth Day 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to welcome you all to Eden Hall to celebrate Commonwealth Day 2017. The theme for Commonwealth Day 2017 is ‘A Peace-Building Commonwealth’.

On Commonwealth Day last year The Royal Commonwealth Society of Singapore had its official launch here at Eden Hall. Since then the society has welcomed the Commonwealth Secretary General, Baroness Scotland, to Singapore, launched its website and held the first round of applications for the new Singapore Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships in Innovation. In the coming months the first Scholarships will be awarded. The society is striving to expand its Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships programme and is actively looking to pursue new programme ideas and new partnerships.

I’d like to thank all of you for taking the time to support the work of the Royal Commonwealth Society of Singapore, and to thank everyone who has made this evening possible, in particular Dr Anthony Yee and his team at the Royal Commonwealth Society of Singapore and everyone who has sponsored or donated something towards this evening, including Aston Martin, the British Club, Singapore Press Holdings, The British Theatre Playhouse, Jet Airways, and all of the organisations who are displaying material here today. The Commonwealth is large and diverse, but by coming together as we do here today we can gain from a multiplier effect, drawing upon our shared Commonwealth heritage.

Singapore’s Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ms Sim Ann, was in London last week for the Inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting, hosted by Baroness Scotland. From the UK our Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, attended. Both Baroness Scotland and Dr Fox have spoken in Singapore over the last few months of the potential to increase business opportunities through the Commonwealth, of a ‘Commonwealth effect’ of similar legal systems and other historic links that make doing business between Commonwealth countries easier.

We can look forward to several important Commonwealth activities in Singapore this year. In particular this June the Commonwealth Science Conference will be held in Singapore for the first time. This event, hosted by the Royal Society and Singapore’s National Research Foundation, will bring some of the world’s leading scientists together to celebrate excellent in science across the Commonwealth and forge new collaborations. And we can also expect to see The Queen’s Baton Relay pass through Singapore in October on its way to the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Cost, Australia. Her Majesty The Queen, The Head of the Commonwealth, focuses on the Queen’s Baton Relay in her message for Commonwealth Day 2017.

Read full text of Her Majesty The Queen’s message on Commonwealth Day.

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Published 14 March 2017