The RCS is an educational charity working internationally, particularly through its extensive network of affiliated branches and Commonwealth societies around the world. It promotes debate, and the development of policy, on key Commonwealth and international issues, through its public affairs programme. This includes lectures, seminars and conferences on a broad range of topics, addressed by leading figures and acknowledged experts.
Additionally, the RCS organises social and cultural events and hosts art exhibitions, featuring Commonwealth artists and themes from all parts of the association.
It lays particular emphasis on working with young people, whether in schools and colleges, or more informally. Some of the RCS specific projects are:
Celebrating Commonwealth Day. Commonwealth Day is marked annually across the world on the second Monday in March. Commonwealth member nations celebrate the organisation, its programmes and its values, and the links countries enjoy with each other. The RCS, on behalf of the Council of Commonwealth Societies, organises a multi-faith observance in Westminster Abbey, attended by The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales, as well as the British Prime Minister and the Commonwealth Secretary General. The RCS also produces associated school and promotional materials and distributes the Queen’s Commonwealth Day Message worldwide.
The Commonwealth Essay Competition – Write around the World. This is an international youth writing contest that inspires and gives a voice to thousands of young people every year, providing them with an opportunity to share their thoughts, stories and dreams for the future. South African participant, Nicola Lazenby, says: it have been to every continent in the world, and one thing does not change; there is nothing if there is not language and communication. If the young people can know this, they can write about it in stories and experience or facts and reports and ideally, eventually and with my greatest hopes, begin to understand one another in important ways. Only then will the world (with so many things going wrong) reach the point the Commonwealth Essay Competition sets out to achieve. And the words are being spoken, because of a fire you started in me, and no doubt in others who write around the world.
Over the last few years, we have supported Camp Quality (HK): providing holidays for children with cancer; and Au Kim Hung Love and Care Association: providing education to underprivileged chlidren in China.