Membership of the Royal Commonwealth Society confers unusual benefits, Peter Mann, Chairman of the Hong Kong branch, says. The Hoi Ha resident has been leading the society for two years and is looking for a successor.
RCS members are invited to the British Consul-General’s events as well as functions in unlikely places such as the Harilela Mansion. They also get access to private clubs in Hong Kong, for example the China Club, headed by Sir David Tang, society President and sometime Sai Kung resident.
“You are not supposed to be Chairman for more than three years, so I’m trying to find a successor,” Peter said. The RCS, which brings together people from 52 nations, is described as a soft-power network. Queen Elizabeth II calls it a “platform for the future”.
Peter said he has enjoyed his two years as its leader. “It is rewarding to put people together, to introduce African students, for example, to Hong Kong people and to support charities like Mothers’ Choice and the China Coast Community.” On February 8 Belinda Greer, CEO of the ESF Foundation, will give a speech at the society on the future of ESF schools. On March 13 British Consul-General Andy Heyn will host a Commonwealth Day cocktail party at the Hong Kong Club Garden Lounge where he will read the Queen’s message.
Peter said he believes the Royal Commonwealth Society is becoming more relevant. “Post-Brexit, I think there will be a resurgence of interest in the Commonwealth, not just in trade but in cultural similarity. We are promoting the idea that Hong Kong should be an associate member of the Commonwealth. We are trying to organise a major event for later in the year when a big name, perhaps from the House of Lords, will come to Hong Kong and speak at a conference we are going to call ‘Brexit and the Commonwealth’.”
To be a Fellow of the society will cost you $500 a year, to be a Young Fellow $250. See www.rcshk.com