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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Princess Royal visit to Vanuatu in Support of Commonwealth Study Conferences

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Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, has just returned from Vanuatu in the South Pacific in her role as President of The Duke of Edinburgh's Commonwealth Study Conferences (CSC).

The Princess Royal has been supporting the development of emerging Pacific leaders as part of the CSC Emerging Leaders' Pacific Dialogue (EPLD).

These mid-career leaders are likely to be the future leaders of Pacific organisations, communities and countries. The opportunity to consider challenges and initiatives in the company of their peers from different sectors and countries is a unique developmental experience. Since 1956 the Conferences have helped some of the Commonwealth's guiding lights reach the forefront of their fields with future Prime Ministers, indigenous leaders, Governors General and Archbishops attending.


The warmth of the welcome across the Pacific to the study groups has been tremendous, none more so than in Vanuatu, the potential venue for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2017 (CHOGM). The study groups included a visit to the nearby island of Tanna, the home of  one of the Conference delegates.

After a request by the Vanuatu Prime Minister, the Hon Joe Natuman MP, for a delegation to visit, photos now emerge of the welcome by the villagers of Yaohnanen on the island of Tanna,   Prime Minister Natuman is an MP for the island of Tanna.

Yaohnanen villagers believe that The Duke of Edinburgh is a divine being and embodies the spirit of a legendary son who will one day return to them.

The delegation requested by the Prime Minister was met by the President of Tafea Provincial Government Council and were greeted by several hundred villagers, whose Chiefs asked that a message be passed back to Buckingham Palace:

"We are sorry that the Princess was unable to visit at short notice but respectfully request that the Royal Family visit us soon please".

The delegation presented a cricket bat and ball with the colours of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) of which HRH The Duke of Edinburgh is an Honorary Life Member. The MCC is the home of the 'Laws of Cricket'. There is an emerging youth cricket outreach programme in Vanuatu and Tanna, supported by the Vanuatu Cricket Association, whose the National team compete in the ICC World Cricket League.
Depending upon funding, the next CSC Emerging Leaders' Dialogue is scheduled to take place in Malaysia in 2016.

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