Libreville, Gabon (CU)_ The Commander of the Gabonese National Order of Merit (Commandeur de l’Ordre National du Merite Gabonais), one of the highest honors of Gabon, has been awarded to the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland, QC. The award is one of the highest honors bestowed on both Gabonese and international individuals. The highest honor, which was established in 1971, was handed to the Secretary-General by the Gabonese President H.E. Ali Bongo Ondimba at the President’s Office in Libreville.
On receiving the great Honor, the Secretary-General expressed excitement, saying that it was a surprise. She said, “It was a great surprise and an extraordinary honor to be made today a Commander of the Gabonese Republic. It was something that I had no idea was going to happen, and has touched me deeply. Gabon is the latest member to join our wonderful family of nations, making us now 56 member states – the largest number we have ever had”.
The Secretary-General added, “And the speed with which Gabon was able to fulfill all the criteria to enable Gabon to join us has been truly remarkable. Their dedication and their commitment to being part of our family is quite inspiring. This is my first visit to Gabon and it is one that I will always remember, not least by virtue of it being marked in this quite extraordinary way. I want to thank the president of Gabon and the people of Gabon for welcoming me and making me feel so much at home and so Gabonese.”
The Secretary-General made her first official visit to Gabon after the country joined the Commonwealth on June 25, 2022. She also welcomed Gabon into the family of the Commonwealth. During the visit, the Secretary-General and her delegation organized a series of discussions with top government officials to discuss how the Commonwealth Secretariat may assist the government and citizens of Gabon in achieving shared values and missions.