The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS)


Commonwealth House, 55-58 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5JH, UK

Telephone: (44) 20 3727 4300



Year established: 1868

Number of staff: 10

Annual expenditure: £937,178 in 2013

Officers (2015):

Director: Dr Greg Munro

Chief Operating Officer: Annette Prandzioch

Director of Youth and Education Programmes: Helen Jones MBE

Aims and objectives:

The RCS is a network of individuals and organisations committed to improving the lives and prospects of Commonwealth citizens across the world.

In all its work, it seeks to:

• Promote and uphold the Commonwealth’s fundamental values, guided by the Commonwealth Charter

• Equip people, including young people, across the Commonwealth with a voice and the confidence, necessary skills and understanding to use that voice effectively

• Work in partnership with other organisations to further the engagement relevant to Commonwealth citizens

• Stimulate discussion and thought about the role of the modern Commonwealth

Main activities:

The work of the RCS covers a broad range of activities over a portfolio of different events, ranging from advocacy campaigns and youth programmes
to convening people and organisations to develop and promote the value of the Commonwealth and the Society.

Operating at the forefront of Commonwealth affairs, the RCS works to improve the lives and prospects of individuals by:

• Acting as a champion to identify areas for social, environmental and economic change

• Celebrating cultural differences and building on the shared values that continue to unite citizens across the Commonwealth

• Developing dialogue and building partnerships with organisations for the well-being and prosperity of individuals

• Empowering young people to share their voice and leadership around the Commonwealth

The RCS organises meetings and roundtables in support of policy development, programme delivery and advocacy campaigns. It arranges the biggest celebration of the Commonwealth and its values: the annual Commonwealth Day Observance at Westminster Abbey, the largest inter-faith gathering in the UK, in the presence of the Head of the Commonwealth, High Commissioners, representatives from civil society organisations and approximately 1,000 schoolchildren.

The RCS’s youth engagement includes:

• The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, the oldest essay writing competition in the world • Working with emerging young leaders, including

Diaspora Dialogues
• Developing the Commonwealth Youth Gender and

Equality Network (CYGEN)
• Convening a youth forum held in Malta in May 2015 • Being a partner for The Queen’s Young Leaders


The RCS acts as the Secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Commonwealth and the Council of Commonwealth Societies. It acts as a focal point for the London-based diplomatic community to promote dialogue around Commonwealth values.

Through its engagement with Commonwealth citizens, through more than 60 self-governing branches and affiliated societies throughout the Commonwealth and beyond, the RCS aims to connect people with the Commonwealth to ensure that the association remains relevant in an ever- changing world.

Recent publications:

The Commonwealth Ministers Reference Book 2015 (with Henley Media Group)

Collaboration and Consensus: Building a Constructive Commonwealth Approach to LGBT Rights (2015; with the Kaleidoscope Trust)

Hidden Violence in the Commonwealth (2014)

The Gender Agenda – Youth Perspectives from Across the Commonwealth (2015)

The RCS also publishes the magazine Commonwealth Voices three times a year.