The principles that Commonwealth governments have proclaimed that they stand for – those contained in the Singapore and Harare Declarations and discussed throughout the course – are powerful values. They reflect some of the deepest aspirations of individuals and communities – to be treated as equals, with their human rights and their differences respected, to be empowered to participate in decisions that affect their lives, to be able to pursue their own path to development in a peaceful environment.
To say that these are Commonwealth values does not mean that each Commonwealth government automatically fully reflects these ideals in everything they do. It means that these ideals are the aspects of the Commonwealth's history that are most worth celebrating and renewing. Part of that renewal process is through the work of the Commonwealth Youth Programme and the Commonwealth Secretariat, working with young people and their governments, to achieve these goals through Youth Development Work.
If you recall, this course on Commonwealth Values had three goals. The first was to introduce you to a set of values that have come to underpin the Commonwealth – human rights, equity, democracy, pluralism, citizenship, participation and empowerment. You should now have a good sense of what these terms mean in general, as well as what they mean in the context of youth in development work.
The second was to introduce you to the Commonwealth as an international organisation, how it evolved, how it is structured, and what it is trying to achieve. You should now have a sense not just of Commonwealth values, but also of the value of the Commonwealth itself.
As a voluntary association of sovereign, independent states, it is unique in its ability to bring together such a diverse range of peoples committed to dialogue and consensus building, where developing and developed country governments sit as equals around the table.
It is hoped that you now will be able to understand and appreciate these values, and importantly, to have some idea of how to pass your own understanding and appreciation on to the young people with whom you may be working.
The third goal was to introduce you to the CYP Diploma program. The Diploma in Youth Development Work is designed to provide youth workers with an underpinning knowledge on which to base their work with young people; an understanding of the values and ethics of the profession, grounded in the values and principles of the Commonwealth; and the practical skills to undertake the work. More information can be found on the Commonwealth website.