Posted on March 12, 2007

Queen Wants Diversity Celebrated

BBC News, March 12, 2007

The Queen will urge people to celebrate diversity and find it a cause for strength and unity in her annual Commonwealth Day message.

She will call on people to try to respect and understand each other better in a “difficult” world.

The Queen also praises the Commonwealth in her message, saying its shared beliefs and values result in greater security and prosperity.

The speech forms part of the Observance service at Westminster Abbey.

Other speakers will include the Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, who won Channel 4’s Celebrity Big Brother earlier this year after suffering alleged racism on the show.

Ms Shetty is due to be presented to the Queen at the service.

The theme for this year’s Commonwealth Day celebrations is “The Commonwealth—respecting difference, promoting understanding”.

The Queen will focus on the benefits of the Commonwealth, which she sees as being a collection of villages.

“In close-knit communities like these, there are beliefs and values we share and cherish,” she will say.

“We know that helping others will lead to greater security and prosperity for ourselves.

“Because we feel this way, our governments and peoples aim to work even more closely together.

“And as individuals, we find that taking part in Commonwealth activities can be inspirational and personally rewarding.

“In today’s difficult and sometimes divided world, I believe that it is more important than ever to keep trying to respect and understand each other better.”

‘Thriving community’

She will also say that people should see each other as being individuals who are special.

“The more we see others in this way, the more we can understand them and their points of view.

“In what we think and say and do, let us as individuals actively seek out the views of others, let us make the best use of what our beliefs and history teach us.

“Let us have open minds and hearts and let us, like the Commonwealth, find our diversity a cause for celebration and a source for strength and unity.”

The speech concludes: “This is a thought worth bearing in mind as we gather on Commonwealth Day. We are a thriving community, we value our past, we make the most of our present and we are working together to build our future.

“By respecting difference and promoting understanding, the future will be a better one for us all.”