Richard Bourne, 2018 debates co-ordinator writes: What do British students think about today’s Commonwealth? Do they ever think about the Commonwealth? The Round Table, as an independent academic journal, decided to sponsor a series of debates in a sample of university cities – Birmingham, Exeter, London, and Cambridge – to find out, in the run-up to the first Commonwealth summit in the United Kingdom for 21 years.
Students and academics chose the motions, and in Birmingham the debate was supported by the Birmingham Commonwealth Association, on the eve of the award of the 2022 Commonwealth Games to the city.
Highlights of the debates on our website give their flavour, and the Round Table is grateful to all the speakers and students who took part. If the Commonwealth is to have a future, in the UK and over 50 other countries, it will be because its best educated young citizens have acquired the necessary critical understanding.
The most recent debate was held at London University Senate House. The motion was “This House thinks that Commonwealth commitments for human rights are just for public relations.”
You can view the presentations made at this Round Table-sponsored debate held at The School of Advanced Study and organised by The Institute of Commonwealth Affairs:
Hear the podcast of the full debate on human rights.
In January, Exeter University had been host to a Round Table-sponsored debate on the motion that “This House believes the Commonwealth has no place in the modern world”. You can read the report on the Exeter University debate.
The first of the 2018 student debates had taken place at 17 January in Birmingham Council Hall. It brought together Birmingham-based residents as well as students from universities such as Birmingham City University, the University Of Birmingham and Aston University. The motion was “This House believes that the Commonwealth prevents the UK from moving on from the past and dealing with the future”. There is both a video and a report from this lively discussion.
Birmingham debate on the Commonwealth:
Our events page contains upcoming Commonwealth-related events and discussion as well as transcripts from previous sessions.
Round Table debates and interviews can also be found on our YouTube channel.