The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Stephen Twigg has been announced as a member of a new ‘Committee on the Future of Commonwealth Studies’ at the University of London. The creation of the Committee, to be chaired by Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former UK Foreign Secretary, was announced late last year following consultation about the future of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University’s School of Advanced Study.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind commented: “I am delighted that we have a Committee that could not be more experienced and committed to the welfare of the Commonwealth. We look forward to providing the University of London with our conclusions and recommendations on the future of Commonwealth Studies at the University.

CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg also commented: “I am very pleased to have the opportunity to serve on this new Committee and I look forward to its work. In particular, I hope that we will receive representations from a wide and diverse range of stakeholders across the Commonwealth which will assist us in developing our recommendations.

The Committee will have three key objectives:

  1. To consider future provision at the University of London for Commonwealth Studies in terms of focus, purpose, structure and functions
  2. To recommend partnerships to support scholarship in this area and ensure its relevance and impact;
  3. To identify potential viable sources of sustainable funding beyond the University and short-term research grants.

Announcing the establishment of the Committee in December 2020, Professor Wendy Thomson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of London said: “Over the last two months we’ve met with a range of stakeholders with Commonwealth affiliations who have shown a renewed interest in the future of the Institute and a commitment to supporting the study of the modern Commonwealth at the University. Sir Malcolm and the Committee will be able to explore a range of new and exciting partnerships.

In October 2020, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association joined with 25 Commonwealth organisations, as well as many other supporters, to send a joint letter to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, urging further consultation on the future of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICwS) and Commonwealth studies at the University. The CPA Secretary-General also led a delegation from this group of Commonwealth organisations for a series of consultative meetings with the University.

The new Committee will invite submissions from interested organisations and individuals which can be submitted directly to the Committee via conor.wyer@sas.ac.uk. The Committee hopes to conclude its work by the end of June 2021.

The full membership of the Committee is

  • Sir Malcolm Rifkind (Chair) - Former United Kingdom Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
  • Stephen Twigg - Secretary-General, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA).
  • Lord Boateng - Former British High Commissioner to South Africa.
  • Dr Anne Therese Gallagher, AO - Director General, Commonwealth Foundation.
  • Dr Nabeel Goheer - Assistant Secretary-General, The Commonwealth Secretariat.
  • Professor Asha Kanwar- President and CEO, Commonwealth of Learning.
  • Mr Michael Kirby, AC CMG - Former Justice of the High Court of Australia.
  • Lord Luce - Former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham.
  • Dr Joanna Newman - Chief Executive and Secretary-General, Association of Commonwealth Universities.
  • Sir Ronald Sanders - Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the United States.