The Commonwealth has elected Baroness Patricia Scotland as its Secretary-General designate.
The British barrister and jurist, who was unveiled this afternoon at the Commonwealth summit in Malta, is expected to assume office on April 1, 2016 as the sixth Commonwealth Secretary-General and the first woman to take up the post.
“I am incredibly proud to be the first woman to be Commonwealth Secretary-General,” Scotland was quoted as saying in a statement on the Commonwealth website. “I want to put the women’s agenda firmly on the table and work with leaders, governments, local governments and other partners.”
She called on all Commonwealth citizens to join her in making the aspirations a reality.
Scotland, 60, added, “The Commonwealth shares a great deal. It has 33 per cent of the world’s population. It has the capacity to bring together people of all religions; concentrate on what joins us. It’s a real opportunity to invest and work together. If you work together with people respectfully, you can bring about change. Human rights and development go hand-in-hand.”
The Commonwealth noted that Scotland was born in Dominica in 1955, and moved with her family from there to Britain. She obtained her LLB in 1976, was called to the Bar in 1977 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1991.
She received a life peerage and was created Baroness Scotland of Asthal in 1997 and has held many ministerial positions in the United Kingdom government, including as Minister of State (Criminal Justice and Offender Management from 2003 to 2007.
President Muhammadu Buhari is currently in Malta for the Commonwealth Summit.