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Commonwealth Oral Histories


The aim of this AHRC funded project is to produce a unique digital research resource on the oral history of the Commonwealth since 1965. When completed, it will include at least 60 major interviews with leading figures in the recent history of the organisation. The project will provide an essential research tool for anyone investigating the history of the Commonwealth and will serve to promote interest in and understanding of the organisation. These interviews contain the views of a wide range of Commonwealth actors – politicians, diplomats and civil servants – on the evolution of the Commonwealth and its activities since the creation of the Commonwealth Secretariat in 1965.

They focus on key themes in the diplomacy of the Commonwealth: leadership; mediation; bilateral and collaborative international pressure for racial justice; developmental issues; democratization; the Commonwealth’s contribution to the evolution of international norms and legal frameworks on debt forgiveness, the law of the sea, election monitoring, nuclear non-proliferation. The interviews also includes comment from those governments who were on the receiving end of Commonwealth strictures (Britain, in the cases of Rhodesia and South Africa; South Africa; Fiji, Nigeria, Pakistan and Zimbabwe;) as well as observations from the wider Commonwealth ‘family’. Full Story

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