One is Queen Elizabeth II who will open the Meeing. The Queen is no stranger to Maltese. She spent her teen year holidays almost every summer before she became the Queen in this beautiful island-nation. The other star, the Maltese are curious about is the current Chair in Office of Commonwealth, President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka, an unknown entity to most. However they have heard of his relentless crusade to strengthen democracy and other values close to the heart of the Commonwealth in the short span of 10 months since assuming the Chair in Office of this organization together with the Presidency of Sri Lanka on January 9, 2015.
President Sirisena is to ceremoniously hand over the position of Chair in Office of Commonwealth to Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on November 27.
The media personnel of the Commonwealth are rather intrigue about President Sirisena and his dedication to Commonwealth principles such as democracy, human rights, equality, freedom of expression, justice, transparency and accountability. They are eager to hear about his work towards attaining these objectives.
Two Ministers, Mangala Samaraweera and Sagala Ratnayake arrived in Valetta to participate in CHOGM Foreign Ministers Meeting and Economic Forum respectively.
Meanwhile CHOGM Malta 2015 spokesman outlined the objectives of the Meeting and its aims. He said:
• It’s an opportunity for all of us to reaffirm our commitment to the Commonwealth Charter, which expresses the values and aspirations which unite the Commonwealth: democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
• Democracy is under threat from terrorism, despotic rule and disrespect for fundamental freedoms and human rights. CHOGM Malta 2015 promotes peace, prosperity and the commitment to improve the lives of all peoples of the Commonwealth.
• Hosting CHOGM 2015 should bring with it a sense of pride, not only of belonging to the Commonwealth but also of furthering Commonwealth principles.
• The Commonwealth offers a wealth of potential. CHOGM Malta 2015 is an opportunity to tap into this potential.
• Around half of Commonwealth membership is made up of small island States. As a small island State, Malta has a strong voice to discuss the realities and challenges that small island States face and propose solutions.
• As a nation, Malta can strengthen and renew diplomatic relations and trade opportunities, participate in launching educational and cultural programmes, and provide leadership.
• CHOGM 2015 is a networking opportunity. Part of CHOGM 2015, the Business Forum brings together top business leaders from around the world. Maltese businesses and individual sectors have a great opportunity to explore new markets and strengthen their business. That way, we can create a more prosperous Commonwealth.
• The Commonwealth People’s Forum is the largest gathering of civil society organisations within the Commonwealth. This forum is the biggest opportunity for civil society to engage with Commonwealth issues.
• Young people are the future. With 60 per cent of the Commonwealth population under the age of 30, the Commonwealth Youth Forum gives young people an important voice.
• For the first time ever, a Women’s Forum is being organised as part of CHOGM Malta 2015. This forum is intended to raise awareness on women’s issues in Commonwealth.
Prof.Maithree Wickremesinghe in her capacity as a Professor of the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, Charnika Imbulana and Sarah Soysa participated at the CHOGM Women’s Forum