This diversity is to be celebrated and cherished not only because it is so central to our identities and our sense of belonging...

Sixty years on from independence it is clear that very strong foundations of mutual respect and understanding were laid down when Malaysia became part of the Commonwealth, with its shared principles, strong values and vision of a common future.

I must say that I have always been fascinated by Malaysia’s rich cultural, religious and racial diversity - which, if I may say so, is something to be both cherished and celebrated. 

That so many distinguished figures have come together this evening is testament both to the Balfour Declaration's profound significance for all Jewish people, and if I may say so, to the United Kingdom's role in helping to make the State of Israel a reality.

Our two countries understand that if we are to address the challenges facing our world – from the horror of man-made climate change to the pernicious evil of terrorism – we must work together in partnership, just as we must if we are to enrich our societies and fuel our economies to deliver better futures for our children and grandchildren.

I remain convinced that by working together, it is still possible to take the decisive action necessary to save the world's remaining forests.  But we should be in no doubt that the future of the world's vital forests, and therefore of the planet, as a whole, really does rest in our hands.

small acts of kindness can make a huge difference at such a tragic time

I just wanted to reassure you that your role is absolutely crucial because you can help create a more integrated approach to solving so many difficult issues, that otherwise don’t get solved at the community level.

It is always a little daunting to address such eminent literary company – but I am heartened by the thought that we probably do all have one thing in common: we are here tonight because of books and the pleasure they give us – and what a pleasure that is!

You all represent, not only yourselves and your own achievements, but also the millions of remarkable women who make a difference every day. I salute you all – for your courage, selflessness and dedication.