Sir Ronald Saunders
THE University of London has selected Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organisation of American States (OAS) Sir Ronald Sanders as a member of a committee to conduct an inquiry into the future of Commonwealth Studies at the university.
On Monday, the university’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Wendy Thompson made the announcement, Caribbean News Global (CNG) reported.
The committee is under the chairmanship of Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a former Defence and Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary of the British Government.
The first meeting is expected to be held on January 21. The ten-person committee is expected to take evidence from across the Commonwealth and submit its report and recommendations by June 2021.
Sir Ronald said, “I am delighted to serve on this important committee. The Commonwealth has been a significant actor in world politics – for instance in ending Apartheid in South Africa. Because of its diverse membership, it has the capacity to help the world negotiate solutions to global problems. Therefore, Commonwealth studies are important to University teaching and research.”
He has been involved in Commonwealth matters in various capacities since 1982. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and at Massey College in the University of Toronto. His scholarly work on the Commonwealth has been widely published and he was the Rapporteur of the Eminent Persons Group, created by Heads of Government to make recommendations on reform of the Commonwealth in 2011.
Other members of the committee include: President and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth of Learning Professor Asha Kanwar, chief executive and secretary-general of the Association of Commonwealth Universities Dr Joanna Newman, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Stephen Twigg and former Justice of the High Court of Australia Michael Kirby, CNG reported.
Sir Ronald recently shared his opinions on the storming of the US Capitol Hill by outgoing President Donald Trump supporters with the US media in which he criticised the OAS for initially being silent on one of greatest threats to democracy.
He said, “When similar events occurred in other parts of the world, especially developing countries, except those countries where the US government favours the regimes in power, the US has been swift to act with threats, sanctions, condemnation and by promoting censure in bodies such as the Organization of American States (OAS). Other governments that hang-on to the coat tails of the US have been quick to support their actions.
“Yet, even as the horrors at Capitol Hill were unfolding live on television screens worldwide, the OAS Secretary-General was silent until pushed publicly to speak. Hangers-on governments issued tame statements, none of them belled the cat by calling the name of the person solely responsible for bringing the US to this sorry pass in the eyes of the international community.
It took the leader of the minority NDP in Canada, Jagmeet Singh, to publicly identify the culprit. In a tweet, Singh declared, “The horror unfolding in Washington is frightening and it was incited by Donald Trump. He can end it now but refuses to. Democracy must not be intimidated. The violence must end.”