The Association would like to encourage its members to unlock their memories of their time with the Commonwealth Secretariat or other Commonwealth organisations.
We would like to work in the following areas:
- Oral History. The aim will be to record interviews with members about their Commonwealth experiences and to place these on a website available to all. This will complement in a small way the oral history project which the Institute of Commonwealth Studies has produced.
- Written History. We appreciate that not everyone will want to record an interview and that some would prefer to write about their experiences. If you would like to record your thoughts, please let us know what you would like to write about. Contributions of any length would be welcome.
- Discussion Groups. Your memories and views may not coincide with those of other colleagues, but that’s part of the value of the Commonwealth. We would like to get you all talking together about your time at the Secretariat. The aim would be to have group discussions on a range of topics lasting between one and two hours, followed by a reception for those present. The meetings would be recorded. If you are interested in taking part – and meeting old colleagues – please let us know. Please also let us know if you would like to lead one of these discussions – and suggest a topic or event. Zoom would be available if necessary.
- Document Collection. Many of us have Secretariat documents or publications at home. The aim is to build up a collection of the publications which would be freely available to researchers and would be deposited with an institution such as the Secretariat Library & Archives. The Secretariat now has policies on the release of materials into the public domain after 30 years, so any internal documents would be offered to the Secretariat Archives to fill any gaps its collection. The source of the documents would not be divulged! Any photographs which you took while working for the Secretariat would also be gratefully received and if you prefer to keep the originals, we would arrange for digital copies to be made.
We started this project some years ago, but it was overtaken by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies’ oral history project.
If anyone is interested in taking it forward, or if you have ideas for any other activities, please contact David Blake. You can email him at email@example.com