Course Outline

This course is divided into four units.

Unit 1: Introducing Commonwealth Values and Structures

This unit explores the Commonwealth as an association and examines Commonwealth principles and values. It looks at the impact of these values both for the Commonwealth and for the global community.

This unit also explores how these values are put into practice through the work of the Commonwealth. It introduces the concepts of consensus decision making, co-operation and consultation, which form the heart of how the Commonwealth works. These processes will be discussed with reference to the structure of the Commonwealth, and the operation of the Heads of Government Meetings and the Secretariat. The latter part of this Unit relates citizenship to Commonwealth values.

Unit 2: Human Rights: Universal Values

This unit introduces human rights both as a philosophy and in practice. It outlines different categories of human rights and discusses a number of important international human rights instruments, including the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and key Commonwealth human rights documents.

Unit 3: Democratic Values and Structures

This unit presents democracy both as a style of government and a set of values – including pluralism and diversity, citizenship and respect for human rights. The issue of rights versus responsibilities is debated. Democracy as a style of government is explained, and several of the ways the Commonwealth Secretariat supports democratic cultures in member countries are examined. Finally, three different styles of decision-making are outlined.

Unit 4: Commonwealth Values and Youth Development

The final unit in this course explores participation and empowerment and discusses how these can be facilitated in decision-making. Working with democratic styles of leadership, in particular through consensus, is suggested as a way to encourage empowerment.