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Cambridge Centre for Sixth-form Studies mark Commonwealth Day


By Gemma Gardner


Commonwealth Day at CCSS Picture: Keith Heppell
Commonwealth Day at CCSS Picture: Keith Heppell

Students from countries across the globe joined together at Cambridge Centre for Sixth-form Studies (CCSS) to celebrate Commonwealth Day.

Across the world, 52 countries took part in the annual event under the theme ‘A Peace-building Commonwealth’. Around 15 per cent of CCSS’s students are from Commonwealth countries outside the UK.

CCSS principal Stuart Nicholson said: “Commonwealth Day is an opportunity for our students to come together and appreciate the cultures of classmates from different countries.

“As well as fostering a spirit of tolerance and appreciation of other cultures, it has been proven that studying alongside people from different countries has lifelong advantages, including preparing students for university and careers.

“Events such as Commonwealth Day are very much part of this.”

CCSS students from Commonwealth countries including Nigeria, Cyprus, India, Tanzania and Malaysia, as well as the UK, were keen to talk about the day’s theme at the event in the college’s Benedict Place café on Monday.

“As Mother Teresa once said, ‘Peace begins with a smile’,” said 16-year-old British student Niamh. “For me, this underpins how the path to peace is paved by understanding, tolerance and acceptance.

“To bring about peace, we must avoid polarisation and narrow-mindedness, which can lead to irreparable and futile conflict over contrasting ideologies and systems.”

Sakshi, also 16, from India believes peace can be achieved, if not immediately.

“Freedom and rights and coming together as one will take us one step closer to peace. People should be able to live the way they want to, where they want to and how they want to. Achieving peace is not easy, but it is definitely worth giving your best to move a step closer to it.”

During her time at CCSS, Sakshi said that she had got to know more about the Commonwealth and the countries in it.

“I’ve learnt different things about some of the countries – their culture, language, their religion, their lifestyles. It’s fun to get to know people from different parts of the world.”

The school has a number of teachers from Commonwealth countries, including Indian-born Girish Menon, who said: “To me, the Commonwealth represents a scholarship that enabled me to study at the London School of Economics many years ago. It also represents cricket and the English language.”

The celebration is held on the second Monday in March each year to promote the Commonwealth’s shared values of peace, democracy and equality, and to celebrate the association’s rich diversity.

The day included a multi-faith service at Westminster Abbey in London attended by the Queen, the head of the Commonwealth.

For more about the centre, visit www.ccss.co.uk.



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