The Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting, abbreviated to CHOGM,
is a biennial summit meeting of the heads of government from all Commonwealth nations. Every two years the meeting
is held in a different member state, and is chaired by that nation's respective Prime Minister or President, who becomes the Commonwealth
Chairperson-in-Office. Recently, meetings have been attended by Queen Elizabeth II, who is
the Head of the Commonwealth, although the
Queen's formal appearance only began in 1997.
The first CHOGM was held in 1971, and there have been
twenty-one held in total: the most recent in Trinidad and Tobago
in 2009. They are held once every two years, although this pattern has twice
been interrupted. They are held around the Commonwealth, rotating by invitation
amongst its members.
In the past, CHOGMs have attempted to orchestrate common policies on certain
contentious issues and current events, with a special focus on issues affecting
member nations. CHOGMs have discussed the continuation of apartheid rule
in South Africa and
how to end it, military coups in Pakistan and Fiji, and allegations of electoral fraud in Zimbabwe. Sometimes the member states agree on a common
idea or solution, and release a joint statement declaring their opinion. More
recently, beginning at the 1997 CHOGM, the
meeting has had an official 'theme', set by the host nation, on which the
primary discussions have been focused.