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The Duke of Edinburgh's Commonwealth Study Conferences and Emerging Leaders' Dialogues

HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, PRESIDENT

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, FOUNDER AND PATRON

The first Commonwealth Study Conference (CSC) held at Oxford in 1956 was, in the words of its founder HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, "an extraordinary experiment". It set out to provide an opportunity for people from all over the Commonwealth and all walks of life to leave behind their usual roles and, with a diverse group of people, examine the relationship between industry and the community around it.

The purpose was not to produce high sounding resolutions and weighty conclusions but to challenge the participants' assumptions and prejudices; to give them the chance to examine real situations and the issues arising from the interaction of businesses, their employees and the communities in which they operated. The members were, at Prince Philip's insistence, to be "people who appeared likely to be in the next generations of leaders so that when the time came for them to take important decisions they would have the benefit of what they had discovered together on the Study Conference to help them".

Although the first conference was conceived as a "one-off", its members found it such a worthwhile experience that they determined to make it available to subsequent generations of Commonwealth leaders. From 1956 to 2007, ten Commonwealth Study Conferences were held at six-year intervals, variously hosted in the United Kingdom, Canada, India, and Australia. In 2023, Canada hosted the 11th Duke of Edinburgh’s Commonwealth Study Conference.

In 2025, Canada will be hosting the Caribbean Canada Leaders Dialogue.

In addition to organizing the first 10 successful Conferences, Alumni members decided to create more frequent leadership development opportunities in their countries and regions. In 1983, following a similar experiential leadership learning format, Canadian Alumni launched the Governor General's Canadian Leadership Conference. held every 4 years.

In 2006, Australia Alumni launched the first Emerging Leaders' Dialogue (ELD) for the Pacific Region. Caribbean and Canadian Alumni launched their first ELD in 2011, and Malaysia Alumni launched the first Asia ELD in 2016. In each region subsequent dialogues are held every 4 years. In 2013 the UK held the first annual CSC Leaders program for senior Commonwealth leaders.

In 2006, the Canadian Alumni published "Leadership in the Making - 50 Years of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh's Commonwealth Study Conferences", and in 2018 they published the book, "HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh: A Tribute from Commonwealth Study Conference and Emerging Leaders' Dialogue Alumni.

Highlights from the books can be accessed here.

To reflect the history, diversity, progression and the unique shared experiential leadership development format, the Commonwealth Study Conferences and Emerging Leaders' Dialogues share the distinction of recognition as: The Duke of Edinburgh's Commonwealth Study Conferences | Emerging Leaders Dialogues

Upon completion of the CLD Canada programs, participants become members of the eminent network of global leaders connected through the Association of Emerging Leaders' Dialogues Commonwealth Leadership Development Conferences.

chronology of programs 

(1956 - 2018)

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