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30 November 2012
Next week, 60 young people representing countries across the Commonwealth will gather in London for the 5th Commonwealth Youth Parliament (CYP), taking place in the historic setting of the Houses of Parliament at Westminster. Taking place from 4-7 December, the four-day programme will culminate in a parliamentary-style debate at which the Lord Speaker, Rt Hon. Baroness D’Souza CMG, will preside.
This headline debate will be the second that the Lord Speaker has chaired, the last being the final session of the 4th Commonwealth Youth Parliament held last year in Westminster. It will take the subject of free access to education, and will take place in the House of Lords Robing Room, which was once used as the Chamber for the Upper House after the Commons Chamber was bombed during the London blitz during the Second World War.
During the programme, the delegates, all aged between 18-29, will receive an introduction to the Westminster System and focus on the overarching topic of governance. They will have the opportunity to develop party structures, to elect party leaders and front bench teams and to formulate policies to present to the House. Over the course of the programme, they will meet with:
- Rt Hon. John Bercow MP, House of Commons Speaker
- Rt Hon. Andrew Lansley CBE MP, Leader of the House of Commons
- Hon. Dr Nafisa Shah MNA, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan
- Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth
- Kerry McCarthy MP, Shadow Minister for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office
The programme is jointly hosted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) UK and CPA Headquarters Secretariat, and is held this year as part of both organisations’ ongoing commitment to involving young people in politics, parliamentary democracy and the Commonwealth. With over half of the Commonwealth’s population made up of people under 25, both organisations feel that the CYP represents a remarkable opportunity to engage with the future leaders, legislators and activists of the Commonwealth.