Launch of the 130th Commonwealth Essay Competition

New Delhi, February 2014

On the evening of February 11th, 2014 at an elegant reception hosted at the British High Commissioner to India’s residence in the capital, Sir James Bevan KCMG (British High Commissioner to India) and Shivani Wazir Pasrich (Chairperson, Commonwealth Society of India; Asia Representative, Royal Commonwealth Society) announced the 130th Commonwealth Essay Competition, the beginning of a meaningful and active journey that will nurture and present a dynamic platform to young Indian talent to flourish in the future.

Present on the occasion of the British High Commission reception were Mr. Rob Lynes Director, British Council, Ms. Neelam Pratap Rudy, golfer and wife of MP Rudy Pratap Singh, Ms. Sunandini Kapur of Maharani of India (export house), Ms. Sunaina Anand of Art Alive Gallery HE, the High Commissioner of Kenya, Mrs. Festus Kaberia, HE, the Honorary Consulate of Tonga, Mr. Sahae, Ms. Bhashwto Mukherjee, former Indian Ambassador of India to France and Netherlands, Dr. Karan Singh President, ICCR, Mr. Amir Singh Pasrich Managing Partner, I.L.A. Pasrich & Co and Polo Player, Ms. Brigitte Wuethrich of Max Hospital, Mr. Sushishil Ansal (builder) and Dr. Kusum Ansal (author), Ms. Ratan Kaul, VP, Indian Council for UN Relations and Mr. Kabir Shaikh, CBE, Interim Director, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development.

Established in 1883, this is the world’s oldest and largest essay competition where over 11,000 young people from 55 Commonwealth countries and territories participated last year. The Royal Commonwealth Society partnered with Cambridge University Press for this competition which aims at internationally minded individuals. More than 70 judges worked together for the selection. With almost 10% of the entries coming from India last year, we can be sure that students from India will receive some of the many prizes. Last year more than 2000 entries won awards including the top two visiting London for a special awards ceremony.

In 2012, Shivani Wazir Pasrich took over as Chairperson of the Commonwealth Society of India, and within the first year itself, the entries for the competition more than doubled from 408 in 2012 to 866 in 2013. This year she plans to quadruple the figure. Shivani has worked interactively with schools through her conservation project “I am the Tiger” and has revitalised those links with schools for more effective participation in this year’s essay competition. She is also in the process of developing a project to explore hidden opportunities through the platform of the Commonwealth and the history of India’s association with this body. This year began with Shivani taking over as the Asia Representative of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

Speaking ahead of the reception Shivani Wazir Pasrich said, “Our common wealth as nations today is the richness of relationships and the growth through sharing that comes of it. Platforms like the Commonwealth of Nations are greatly under utilised and this is largely due to the fact that communication channels get clogged. Through interactions like the reception, we hope to remove blockages so that there is an uninterrupted flow of communication, leading to common good.”

Sir James Bevan KCMG, the British High Commissioner to India said, “We are working closely with Ms. Shivani Wazir Pasrich to promote the 130th Commonwealth Essay Competition. We support their endeavour to reach out to young people in India, to provide them an opportunity to make their voice heard on a global platform and engage with issues important to them.”

On this occasion Dr. Karan Singh, former President of the Commonwealth Society on India gave the keynote address and release the information flyer with details of the competition.

Students from three schools, Salwan Public School, British School and Modern School Barakhamba Road, highlighted the scope of the theme through quick representations. They read, recited, sang and danced to express themselves within a ten minute span.

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