Letter: Price to pay for closing the Commonwealth Institute

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Sir: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has warned the Commonwealth Institute in London that its financing would not be guaranteed after March 1996. This prestigious cultural institution, which can in no way be self-financing, is therefore in danger of disappearing.

Besides being a beautiful landmark in Kensington and a building of considerable architectural interest, the Institute houses the best resource centre on the Commonwealth in Europe. It has worked a lot on community projects and for the development of educational programmes aimed at a better understanding between the different communities in Britain. It has also organised regular conferences bringing together the best international experts.

As a scholar working in the field of Commonwealth literature, I can only say that my students and myself would be deprived of an invaluable source of information if the Institute disappeared. The preservation of such an important institution would be one of Britain's most appreciated contributions to culture in Europe.

Yours sincerely,


University of Bourgogne

Dijon, France

30 October

The writer is secretary of the Societe d'Etude des Pays du Commonwealth and editor of 'Commonwealth, Essays and Studies'.