The British Commonwealth of Nations, or simply the Commonwealth, is a political association of 54 independent member states, most of which are former territories of the British Empire. The Commonwealth was established in 1926 with the signing of the Balfour Declaration, which formalized the relationship between the United Kingdom and its dominions.
The Commonwealth is a diverse group of countries, with a wide range of cultures, languages, and histories. However, all member states share a common commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
The Commonwealth is headed by the Queen of the United Kingdom, who is also the head of state of 15 member states. The Queen is represented in each member state by a Governor-General, who is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the government of that state.
The Commonwealth Secretariat is the executive body of the Commonwealth. It is based in London and is headed by the Secretary-General, who is appointed by the Commonwealth Heads of Government.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is the highest decision-making body of the Commonwealth. It is held every two years and is attended by the heads of government of all member states.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of states, and there is no obligation for member states to remain members. However, the Commonwealth has proven to be a valuable forum for cooperation and dialogue between its members.