I write this note from Rwanda’s capital city of Kigali where I have been for the past three days attending the Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly.
Marking 10 years as a Commonwealth nation, Rwanda is a beautiful and progressive country that spans in excess of 10,000 square miles and has a population of over 12 million people.
The newest member of the 71 Commonwealth nations and territories, Rwanda has proven to be such warm and welcoming hosts and I look forward to celebrating many more years with them as part of the Commonwealth family.
After a lively opening ceremony, the opening day of my visit featured a series of workshops for delegates from all the Commonwealth nations and territories present.
Central to this was the launch of the Transformation 2022 refresh, which details the Commonwealth Sport Movement’s strategic plan from 2019 through to 2022.
A key part of the Movement’s plans will be to establish a new strategic priority that focuses on empowering athletes and their sports to ‘Realise Collective Impact’ as a means of affecting positive social change.
We also learnt about the development of the sports programme and the athlete allocation process for Birmingham, and the proposed CGF digital strategy which featured a detailed and fascinating presentation from Alex Balfour from Digital Brand Services.
The day concluded with regional meetings with a strong collective discussion on key issues affecting the CGAs in Europe.
Day two of the assembly was dedicated to strengthening CGA governance and influence in human rights and social change with a range of interesting presentations, panel sessions and workshops with human rights at their core.
The impact that the Commonwealth Movement can make using sport as a catalyst and agent for change, sets the Commonwealth family aside from all other sports organisations.
At the conclusion of the day’s meetings , we attended a dinner hosted by Espérance Nyirasafari, the Rwandan Minister of Sports and Culture, which featured some colourful and energetic entertainment from local dancers.
Friday, the actual day of the CGF General Assembly, again featured a number of presentations, discussions and debate within the membership.
An update on the financial position of the CGF which has improved considerably since the award of the 2022 Games to Birmingham.
There was exciting news on the development of the CGF Foundation which should offer new and interesting opportunities for CGAs going forward.
The afternoon session focused on the core of what the CGF is all about, delivering a Commonwealth Games.
There was a review of the extraordinary Gold Coast Games which not only brought back some very happy memories, but also showed what an enormous impact the event had on the region and the extensive legacy that the area is now enjoying.
Delegates were given a real insight into the excitement that the Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago in 2021 will bring for our young Team England athletes . Their theme of “Changing Lives Forever” promises a brilliant Games.
The highlight of course, although I’m biased, was the update provided to the Movement on the fantastic progress made by the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee. The sport, the venues, the culture, the diversity, the commercial programme and the warm welcome that all teams will receive were enthusiastically embraced by all delegates.
Although I have seen the presentation on numerous occasions, it still sends shivers down the spine such is the excitement it creates.
For more information visit www.birmingham2022.com
The formalities of the meeting ended with the election of a very strong looking new Board which includes the following three newly elected Regional Vice-Presidents to the Executive Board: Judy Simons J.P (Bermuda), Chris Chan (Singapore), and Harry Murphy (Gibraltar).
Alongside and rest of the Executive Board they will be responsible for overseeing a crucial time for the Movement as it embraces Transformation 2022.
I would also like to take this opportunity to offer my congratulations to Dame Louise Martin who has been re-elected to serve as President of the CGF for a second four-year term.
Under Louise’s leadership since first taking the position in 2015 the CGF has continued to go from strength to strength and I have no doubt that will remain to be the case throughout her tenure.
Right, that’s it, I’m off to get changed for the closing function at the Kigali Cultural Village.