The British High Commission hosted a reception to mark the 93rd birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and to celebrate the long history and friendship between the United Kingdom and The Gambia. The occasion was honoured by Her Excellency the First Lady of the Republic of The Gambia, the Honourable Madame Speaker and Honourable Ministers as well as distinguished guests from the Government, international, civil society and business communities.
Fittingly the event took place on the eve of the 70thAnniversary of the Commonwealth – a voluntary partnership, established through the 1949 London Declaration, of equal member countries, with common values and shared aspirations. From the 8 countries that signed the Declaration in 1949, there are now 53 member countries of the Commonwealth – over 2.4 billion people, a third of the world’s population. In her remarks, Her Excellency the British High Commissioner to The Gambia, Sharon Wardle, spoke of how the Commonwealth has never been so relevant, as we take on shared responsibility and work together to build a fairer, more sustainable, more prosperous and more secure future.
The High Commissioner also thanked Gambian and international partners for their continued collaboration as they strive together to support the Gambian Government and people on the democratic transition journey, laying the foundations for a future that brings hope, optimism and opportunity for your young population. She pointed to the broad range of bilateral and Commonwealth activity taking place in The Gambia across a range of areas including support to the National Assembly, Judiciary and in the justice, border security, migration, cyber security and the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance. There was a special mention for the role of the MRC Unit The Gambia, a faculty of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and for the expansion of post-graduate scholarships in the UK through the Chevening and Commonwealth Scholarships Schemes.
In recognition of His Excellency President Adama Barrow and the Government’s aspiration for building a stronger future for the young people of The Gambia, the High Commissioner paid tribute to the energy, enthusiasm and creativity of the youth, describing them as the country’s greatest asset. To celebrate their talent the evening’s entertainment was provided by amazing performances from young Gambian and international artists who, under the umbrella of the UK organisation the “Time for Change Foundation”, come together through music and culture to bring people and communities together for positive, meaningful change.