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When
12:00 pm, 14 Sep 2021 to 1:30 pm, 14 Sep 2021 London
Address
Virtual Event

Small Island States and Climate Justice: Looking Ahead to COP26

As the world enters a critical decade for our climate, Commonwealth Member States and institutions must come together: demonstrating a united front and decisive leadership at the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November (COP26).

The Commonwealth has an irreplaceable role to play. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) make up almost half of its total membership. Citizens of these vulnerable countries are literally on the frontlines of the fight against global warming. Nowhere else does the climate crisis feel more urgent or more real: rising sea levels and shifting weather patterns are already posing serious threats to the livelihoods of small island populations throughout the Commonwealth.

The small island experience serves as a demonstration, and a warning, for what lies in store for the world—unless we act now.

The political and technical challenges ahead are formidable. To turn the tide on spiralling global temperatures States must loudly affirm commitments already made under the Paris Agreement. Collaboration on both adaptation and mitigation must be accelerated. And the international community must rally to deliver urgent support to the small island states that are being forced to carry a disproportionate, unfair burden. This group of countries has played a leading role in raising awareness of the climate emergency on the international stage and advocating for strong climate action. They have succeeded in building a common diplomatic discourse and influencing strategy. They need and deserve whole-of-Commonwealth support.

This Critical Conversation is a call to arms. It will bring together activists, thought leaders and policymakers to confront the challenges—and take advantage of the opportunities—that lie ahead, most especially in relation to small islands states. It will interrogate the role that the Commonwealth could play – should play – in placing the needs of this group of States front and centre in international negotiations.

This event has taken place. You can watch it here:

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Guests
Asad Rehman
Ambassador Dessima Williams
Hon. Ralph Regenvanu
Richard Kozul-Wright
Angelique Pouponneau
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When
2:00 pm, 23 Jun 2021 to 3:30 pm, 23 Jun 2021 London
Address
Virtual Event

International Solidarity for Economic Justice

People of the Commonwealth: Critical Conversations

Global problems require global solutions. If countries cannot cooperate on the big issues of our time—on everything from carbon emissions to tax havens—then we risk accelerating a global race to the bottom, with the burden of crises being shouldered by the poorest and least powerful among us.

Global solidarity has been put to the test during Covid-19. We’ve seen some great success stories, but the failures are many: from the unequal distribution of vaccines and medicines to the crushing debt burden that less developed countries now face. The world can—and must—do better.

Our ability and willingness to work together will determine the future. Without greater global solidarity, we are unlikely to rise to the challenges of climate change, poverty and global inequality.

This Critical Conversation session will bring together policy experts and activists to explore how the Commonwealth and its Member States can work together to deliver economic solutions for people and the planet.

Join us and together we’ll ask: can the Commonwealth bring strong and visionary leadership to advance solidarity within and between nation-states?

This event has taken place. You can watch it here:

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Guests
Nadira Hira
Professor Philip Alston
Professor Jayati Ghosh
Dr. Marlene Attzs
Owen Tudor
Njoki Njoroge Njehu
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When
2:00 pm, 18 May 2021 to 3:30 pm, 18 May 2021 London
Address
Virtual Event

A Future for Commonwealth Studies?

Critical Conversations: Open Forum

This Critical Conversation—an Open Forum—will bring together leading voices from academia, policy, and civil society to contribute to the debate on the Future of Commonwealth Studies.

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Guests
Dani Sinha
David Salmon
Danish Ali Bhutto
Caryn Thandi Petersen
Dr Rashmi Gokhale
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When
12:00 pm, 29 Apr 2021 to 2:30 pm, 20 May 2021 Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4)
Address

Convening Caribbean Practitioners to enhance their understanding of the impact of gender and climate change

The Commonwealth Foundation is inviting you to join this online capacity development programme that will deepen Caribbean practitioners’ understanding on the intersection of gender and climate change.

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When
2:00 pm, 22 Apr 2021 to 3:30 pm, 22 Apr 2021 BST
Address
Virtual Event

The Right to Health in a Time of Crisis: What Have We Learned From Covid-19?

People of the Commonwealth: Critical Conversations

International treaties stipulate that every human being is entitled to the highest attainable standard of health—yet Covid-19 has exposed stark gaps between commitment and reality; as the young in wealthy countries wait in line for vaccines, the old in poorer nations have hardly begun to queue.

This pandemic has forced us to consider what the status of the right to health is today; how it applies when the whole world is swept by disease at once; and how it can be used to judge the actions of governments and the international community. It has also magnified health’s relationship with wider social factors. Medical infrastructure, state capacity, and social protection policies have all influenced the pandemic.

So, what has Covid-19 taught us about the link between the right to health and other human rights? Have our human rights been properly respected during this crisis? And could the international community do more to protect the world’s most vulnerable?

During this Critical Conversation, health practitioners and advocates from across the Commonwealth will attempt to chart a better path forward through Covid-19 and beyond.

This event has taken place. You can watch it here:

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Guests
Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng
Allan Maleche
Dr Ana B. Amaya
Dr Githinji Gitahi, MBS
Dr Ines Hassan
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When
3:00 pm, 18 Mar 2021 to 4:40 pm, 18 Mar 2021 GMT
Address
Virtual Event

The Pink Line: LGBTQ+ Rights Around the World

Commonwealth Writers Conversations

Don’t miss this opportunity to pose questions to a panel of some of Africa’s—and the world’s—leading LGBTQ+ activists and writers.

Drawing from their wide knowledge and experience of LGBTQ+ rights and activism on the African continent and further afield, the panellists will explore:

  • the importance of writers and gay icons in shifting the narrative around queerness
  • the gains and losses of the past decade; and the impact of colonialism and globalisation
  • the ‘awkward dance’ between legal reform and social change
  • the role of the Church in the debate around issues of gender identity and sexuality in Africa

Central to this conversation is Mark Gevisser’s new book, The Pink Line: The World’s Queer Frontiers—one of Time Magazine’s Top 100 Reads of 2020.

Six years in the making, The Pink Line follows protagonists from nine countries across four continents to tell the story of how LGBTQ+ rights became one of the world’s central human rights frontiers in the second decade of the twenty-first century. The Pink Line folds intimate and deeply affecting stories of individuals, families and communities into a definitive account of how the world has changed for LGBTQ+ people, so dramatically, in such a short space of time.

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Guests
Kevin Mwachiro
Mark Gevisser
Nickita Maesela
Xeenarh Mohammed
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When
2:00 pm, 25 Feb 2021 to 3:30 pm, 25 Feb 2021 GMT
Address
Virtual Event

Equality and Justice in Covid-19 Responses

People of the Commonwealth: Critical Conversations

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in governance throughout the world—from health service provision to international aid.

Lessons from past epidemics confirm the importance of incorporating a gendered analysis to mount an effective and inclusive response. For example, during the 2014–16 West African Ebola outbreak, gendered norms meant that women were more likely to be infected by the virus, given their predominant roles as caregivers within families and as front-line health-care workers. And, as they were less likely than men to have decision-making power regarding the response, their needs remained largely unmet.

The Covid-19 pandemic appears to be playing out in a similar way with clear indications emerging that women are experiencing the pandemic differently to men—despite a relatively lower mortality rate. Overall, the vulnerabilities that reflect women’s gender roles and unequal social status are exacerbated. We see the results in higher rates of violence, faster economic decline and continued exclusion from decision making and policy development.

The issue of differentiated needs arises between as well as within countries. Responses to Covid-19 have largely been ‘boilerplate’—a one-size-fits-all approach that reflects both the urgency and the novelty of our situation. But it is becoming clear that policies and approaches which might work well in one part of the world will not necessarily work well elsewhere. For example, support to the informal economy may be a minor policy issue in a developed country but is a critical question of human survival—one with special resonance for women—in many developing countries. How do we make sure that these differences are recognised and taken account of?

This Critical Conversation will bring together a range of stakeholders to discuss responses to the pandemic so far, the challenges these reveal, and the ways in which we can ensure more just and equal responses to Covid-19 and future crises.

This event has taken place. You can watch it here:

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Guests
Hilary Gbedemah
Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr Obe, Sierra Leone
Musu Bakoto Sawo, Think Young Women, The Gambia
Joyce Bawah Mogtari, Ghana
REP Nnena Elendu Ukeje, Nigeria
Hon Nourane Foster, Cameroon
Fatmata Sorie, L.A.W.Y.E.R.S, Sierra Leone
Comfort Mussa, SisterSpeak237, Cameroon
Nana Afadzinu, West Africa Civil Society Institute, Ghana / Regional
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When
11:00 am, 22 Dec 2020 to 1:30 pm, 22 Dec 2020 GMT
Address

Cameroon – Commonwealth Foundation Seminar 2020

A special event to sensitise Cameroon civil society organisations on the grants and other programmes of the Commonwealth Foundation.

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Guests
Dr Anne T. Gallagher AO
H.E. Felix MBAYU
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When
2:00 pm, 26 Jan 2021 to 3:30 pm, 26 Jan 2021 GMT
Address
Virtual Event

The People’s Voice: Protecting Media Freedom Throughout the Commonwealth

People of the Commonwealth: Critical Coversations

The decline of media freedom in the Commonwealth has been identified by Commonwealth Member States, institutions and civil society as an issue of growing concern. Threats to media freedom are contributing to an erosion of democratic culture and diminished government accountability at a time when such accountability has never been more important—or more urgent.

All Commonwealth Member States have publicly committed themselves to upholding ‘peaceful, open dialogue and the free flow of information, including through a free and responsible media’. But across the Commonwealth, assaults on media freedom are becoming more commonplace and more severe.

While there are many events looking at these issues, this event will focus on issues unique to the Commonwealth’s position: asking what can be done by and with Commonwealth institutions, what can civil society do to work against the multiple forces that are seeking to close down the free flow of accurate and truthful information and the role the Commonwealth needs to play if it is to remain true to its own principles.

This event has taken place. You can watch it here:

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Guests
Julie Posetti
Clare Rewcastle Brown
Manasseh Azure
Steffon Campbell
Guy Berger
Rana Ayyub
Shahidul Alam
Zoe Titus
Caroline Muscat
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When
3:00 pm, 8 Dec 2020 to 4:30 pm, 8 Dec 2020 GMT
Address
Virtual Event

A Commonwealth for All: Young Leaders Speak

People of the Commonwealth: Critical Conversations

How can the Commonwealth be a positive force for change? Join young leaders from across the Commonwealth as they share their vision for the Commonwealth and use examples from their own lives and work to inspire advocacy and action for change.

The destiny of the Commonwealth is in the hands of the next generation. Of the 2.4 billion Commonwealth citizens, over 60% are under 30. Not only are young people the majority, they are taking action on the most pressing issues of our time—from gender equality to racial justice and climate change.

We will explore young people’s perspectives on the Commonwealth’s complex past. What big lessons have been learned, especially from recent activism around racial justice and climate change? How can Commonwealth institutions support youth movements that are pushing for change and help them to do and deliver more?

In collaboration with the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and the Commonwealth Youth Council, the third event in the Commonwealth Foundation’s Critical Conversations event series puts young leaders’ views and desires at the heart of discussions about the Commonwealth’s legacy, and more importantly its future.

We’re asking young people to come to this conversation with their ideas about what is important, what must change and what support they need to lead the Commonwealth into the future.

This event has taken place. You can watch it here:

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Guests
Alicia Wallace
Darrion Narine
Lisa Rapley
Kakembo Galabuzi Brian
Kavindya Thennakoon
Emmanuelle Andrews
Nondumiso (Noni) Hlophe
Lance Copegog
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When
11:00 am, 25 Nov 2020 to 12:30 pm, 25 Nov 2020 GMT
Address
Virtual Event

Reimagining ‘Women, Peace and Security’

People of the Commonwealth: Critical Conversations

Join leading women peace advocates from across the Commonwealth as they reimagine what ‘women, peace and security’ might mean for our future.

Twenty years ago, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, part of a global effort to highlight the impact of conflict on women and the need to bring the voice of women into peace processes.

After two decades, it is clear that much remains to be done. In this second event in the Commonwealth Foundation’s Critical Conversations series, peace advocates will ask how Resolution 1325 can be reimagined to better serve the needs and aspirations of women and communities across the Commonwealth. Are mainstream approaches to women’s leadership in conflict resolution actually working? How can women’s participation in peace processes be made more meaningful? How can women peace advocates secure better access to the forums and institutions where decisions are being made?

Speakers will draw on their front-line experience to tackle these questions; sharing concrete examples of what has worked well and their perspectives on what needs to be done differently.

This event has taken place. You can watch it here:

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Guests
Avila Kilmurray, Northern Ireland
Hannah Bond, United Kingdom
Helen Kezie-Nwoha, Uganda
Ruth Ochieng, Uganda
Shreen Saroor, Sri Lanka
Monica Mary McWilliams, Northern Ireland
Maria Hadjipavlou, Cyprus
Biran Mertan, Cyprus
Emma Johnston, Northern Ireland
Nomathamsanqa Masiko-Mpaka, South Africa
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When
2:00 pm, 20 Oct 2020 to 3:30 pm, 20 Oct 2020 BST
Address
Virtual Event

A Commonwealth for All: Acknowledging the Past – Reimagining the Future

People of the Commonwealth: Critical Conversations

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought pre-existing inequalities within and between our societies into sharp relief. But now is also a chance for us to pause, converse and build a collective will for change.

In our first-ever conversation we will aim to openly address the reality of the Commonwealth’s legacy; the impacts of that legacy; and, critically, to challenge the Commonwealth to realise its potential to contribute to a more positive and just future.

This event has taken place. You can watch it here:

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Guests
Olivette Otele
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah
Zareer Masani
Guy A. K. Hewitt
George Ayittey
Harshan Kumarasingham
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When
2:00 pm, 10 Mar 2020 to 3:30 pm, 10 Mar 2020
Address
685 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10017, USA

Cancelled: Fostering equality to leave no one behind: the critical role of institutions

Side event in the wings of the 64th Commission on the Status of Women

This event has been cancelled in light of the outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Join us in New York City in the wings of the 64th Commission on the Status of Women to discuss how institutions can foster gender equality.

The discussion will take place at the Commonwealth’s offices in New York near the United Nations Headquarters. Civil society representatives working on women’s empowerment will engage in a discussion chaired by Ruth Ochieng, former Civil Society Advisory Governor to the Commonwealth Foundation and a founder member of the Women Regional Network for Peace Building in East Africa.

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Guests
Ruth Ochieng
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When
9:00 am, 3 Feb 2020 to 5:00 pm, 5 Feb 2020 GMT
Address
Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Accountable Governance for People with Disabilities

Learning exchange

Participants from three Commonwealth regions are meeting in India to discuss strategies for advancing disability rights.

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Guests
Mr V S Basavaraju
Ambika Raja
Rajive Raturi
Amba Salelkar
Akhila Sivadas
Access Bangladesh Foundation
Action Network for the Disabled
AfriKids
Carers Worldwide
Child Link
Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre
Turning Point Foundation
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When
2:00 pm, 30 Sep 2019 to 1:00 pm, 4 Oct 2019
Address
Commonwealth Foundation, Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London, UK

Grants monitoring and learning workshop 2019

Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning workshop 2019.

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Guests
Iranti
Assocaition for Rural Advancement (AFRA)
Masifundise
Community Apprasail and Motivation Programme (CAMP)
Human Resources Development Fund (HRF)
Development of Human Resources for Rural Areas (DHRRA)
Further Arts
Consortium for Street Children (CSC)
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When
8:00 am, 16 Sep 2019 to 6:00 pm, 20 Sep 2019
Address
Nairobi, Kenya

Commonwealth civil society roundtable at the 12th Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting

The 12th Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting

Every three years, Commonwealth Ministers responsible for women’s affairs meet to discuss progress and challenges relating to gender equality in the Commonwealth. Civil society play an important role in monitoring and assessing governments' progress to achieve gender equality.

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When
4:30 pm, 14 Oct 2019 to 10:00 pm, 14 Oct 2019
Address
Bockenheimer Landstraße 102, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

The Politics of Translation: Arabic Literatures in Europe

Commonwealth Writers Conversations

A panel discussion by experts on translation and the publishing of Arabic Literatures in collaboration with KfW Stiftung.

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When
5:00 pm, 9 Jul 2019 to 7:00 pm, 9 Jul 2019
Address
Maison de la littérature, Rue Saint-Stanislas, Quebec City, QC, Canada

2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize award ceremony

The world's most global literary prize

The overall winner of the Commonwealth Short Prize 2019 will be announced at the Maison de littérature in Quebec City, Canada.

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When
7:30 pm, 30 May 2019 to 10:00 pm, 30 May 2019
Address
1 Arthur Wint Drive, Kingston, Jamaica

Women Who Walk With Water

Commonwealth Writers Conversations

Jamaican artists are joined by Pacific poet Karlo Mila for a unique event, debuting a performance responding to the themes of climate change and gender.

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When
9:00 am, 29 May 2019 to 6:00 pm, 31 May 2019
Address
The University Of The West Indies - Mona, Kingston, Jamaica

Exploring the intersection between gender and climate change in the Caribbean: second conversation

The Foundation, in partnership with the Small Grants Programme of the Global Environmental Facility at United Nations Development Programme, and the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies is hosting a dialogue with 23 representatives from Caribbean civil society and other key stakeholders, which aims to enhance the region’s capacity to apply gender intersectionality to its climate change programming.

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When
6:00 pm, 1 May 2019 to 8:00 pm, 1 May 2019
Address
St Clair, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

We Mark Your Memory, Caribbean launch

We Mark Your Memory: Legacies of Indenture

In partnership with Bocas Lit Fest, Commonwealth Writers will be presenting the latest Peekash Press anthology, collecting new writing from around the Commonwealth reflecting on the experience of Indian indentureship. With readings by Patti-Anne Ali, Stella Chong Sing, Gabrielle Hosein, and Kevin Jared Hosein, and a performance by Sharda Patasar.

Event is free and open to all, find out more information here.

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When
4:00 am, 15 May 2019 to 1:00 pm, 17 May 2019
Address

Accountability in health policy and service provision

Learning exchange

The Foundation will hold a learning exchange between its partners delivering projects on health policy and equity in health service provision across 10 Commonwealth countries. Partners will share knowledge and expertise to unpick some of the challenges of holding governments to account on health rights and to explore what works and can be improved in health policy and accountability processes in different contexts.

Equal access to health is a critical issue for the sustainable development of communities and nations, an important component of Agenda 2030 and a key social justice indicator.

Overall objectives

The objectives of the three-day learning exchange are:

1) Share knowledge and expertise between health rights projects and partners from at least eight Commonwealth countries

2) Identify good practices in people’s participation in governance in the health sector covering the following areas:

  • Challenges, strategies and approaches that have worked in holding governments to account on health policy commitments and delivering equity in health service delivery
  • Engagement in a range of policy and legislation processes in the health sector
  • Capacity development approaches and methodologies that have worked
  • Approaches in integrating gender and its intersectionality in health projects

3) Document good practices in strengthening civic voices to engage in governance in the health sector from the content of the exchange

The health learning exchange agenda can be downloaded here: 
Download the learning exchange agenda (257 downloads)

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When
1:00 am, 6 Mar 2019 to 1:00 am, 8 Mar 2019
Address
Penang, Malaysia

The Commonwealth Writers translation symposium

Our work both on translation and in original languages strives to increase the visibility and spread of literatures. English as a global phenomenon creates opportunities; nonetheless, South and Southeast Asian creative works are rarely translated, either between regional (indigenous, or longstanding) languages, or into bridge languages.

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When
3:00 pm, 9 Mar 2019 to 8:00 pm, 9 Mar 2019
Address
Indian Cultural Center (KL), Jalan Tun Sambanthan 4, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The legacy of indenture in contemporary times

Commonwealth Writers Conversation

On Saturday 9 March, Commonwealth Writers will host a Conversation on the legacy of indenture in contemporary times in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Conversation will feature two writers from We Mark Your Memory: Writing from the Descendants of Indenture, a collection of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Aneeta Sundararaj from Kuala Lumpur and Gitan Djeli from Mauritius, will read from their pieces. Dr Michael Jeyakumar, a former MP and an expert on the history of the Tamil community in Malaysia, will also sit on the panel and the conversation will be chaired by Chee Yoke Ling, lawyer and Director of Third World Network in Malaysia.

The conversation will finish with performance poetry by Melizarani T. Selva who has been commissioned to write a new poem especially for the event, around the themes discussed.

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When
6:30 pm, 7 Mar 2019 to 10:00 pm, 7 Mar 2019 GMT
Address
Black Kettle, Beach Street, Georgetown, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

The Politics of Translation

Commonwealth Writers Conversation

In March 2019, Commonwealth Writers is convening a Translation Symposium in Penang, Malaysia, exploring literary translation in South and Southeast Asia. On Thursday 7 March, there will be a Commonwealth Writers Conversation on the themes discussed in the Symposium.

Penang-based writers, translators and others interested in translation and the literatures from South and Southeast Asia are invited to join this Conversation.

The speakers will discuss the barriers to literary translation in the region and the imbalances arising from the relative lack of such translation; the global dominance of English and its implications; and the moral and ethical responsibilities of translators. The evening will also feature poetry readings in various languages.

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Guests
Mamta Sagar
Muhammad Haji Salleh
Bilal Tanweer
Jayapriya Vasudevan
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When
9:00 am, 4 Jun 2018 to 6:00 pm, 5 Jun 2018
Address
United Nations House, Balmoral Gap, Bridgetown, Barbados

Exploring the intersection between gender and climate change in the Caribbean: first conversation

In quick succession Hurricanes Irma and Maria wrought unprecedented devastation in the Caribbean last year. It has been acknowledged that women and indigenous communities are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. An exploratory civil society discussion hosted by the Commonwealth Foundation and the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme aims to map the intersection between gender and climate change in the Caribbean.

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