British Council
Overview
 
The British Council is a United Kingdom-based organisation specialising in international educational and cultural opportunities. It is registered as a charity both in England and Wales, and in Scotland. Founded in 1934 as the British Committee for Relations with Other Countries, and granted a royal charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

 by King George VI in 1940, the British Council was inspired by Sir Reginald (Rex) Leeper
Reginald Leeper
Sir Reginald Wildig Allen Leeper was a British civil servant and diplomat. He was the founder of the British Council....

's recognition of the importance of "cultural propaganda" in promoting British interests.
Encyclopedia
The British Council is a United Kingdom-based organisation specialising in international educational and cultural opportunities. It is registered as a charity both in England and Wales, and in Scotland. Founded in 1934 as the British Committee for Relations with Other Countries, and granted a royal charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

 by King George VI in 1940, the British Council was inspired by Sir Reginald (Rex) Leeper
Reginald Leeper
Sir Reginald Wildig Allen Leeper was a British civil servant and diplomat. He was the founder of the British Council....

's recognition of the importance of "cultural propaganda" in promoting British interests. Its "sponsoring department" within the United Kingdom Government is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, commonly called the Foreign Office or the FCO is a British government department responsible for promoting the interests of the United Kingdom overseas, created in 1968 by merging the Foreign Office and the Commonwealth Office.The head of the FCO is the...

, although it has day-to-day operational independence. Martin Davidson is its chief executive, appointed in April 2007.

On 19 August 2011, suicide attackers stormed the British Council office in the Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 capital, Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

, killing at least 12 people – none of them British – and taking over the compound. Prior to the attack British Council's Director in Kabul confirmed that "programmes of military English are core to the work of the British Council in Afghanistan."

Overview

The British Council's remit is "to build mutually beneficial cultural and educational relationships between the United Kingdom and other countries, and increase appreciation of the United Kingdom’s creative ideas and achievements." Its overseas network extends to 233 locations in over 100 countries and territories. It has headquarters in Spring Gardens, near Whitehall
Whitehall
Whitehall is a road in Westminster, in London, England. It is the main artery running north from Parliament Square, towards Charing Cross at the southern end of Trafalgar Square...

 in Central London
Central London
Central London is the innermost part of London, England. There is no official or commonly accepted definition of its area, but its characteristics are understood to include a high density built environment, high land values, an elevated daytime population and a concentration of regionally,...

. There are other branch offices in Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

, Cardiff
Cardiff
Cardiff is the capital, largest city and most populous county of Wales and the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is Wales' chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for...

, Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 and Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

.

Of its total income of £551m in 2006/07, the British Council received £195m of grants from the British government. The rest was earned through charging for teaching English to individuals and organisations, examinations and consultancy. Its main areas of activity are 'Learning/Teaching, the Arts, Science and Society'.

In June 2009 it was announced that 400-500 jobs at the British Council would be shed as part of wider restructuring of the organisation which was reported to involve outsourcing back-office jobs overseas and a further centralisation of its regional operation across the United Kingdom.

In September 2009 British Council Director of Arts Rebecca Walton told Monocle magazine: "We've really been striving to put the arts back alongside the main purpose of the British Council which is cultural relations. The arts are the most powerful tool you have to build a dialogue discussion across boundaries. It was only very recently that I heard a member of the Foreign Office say for the first time that arts are now as important as sanctions in the toolkit. We want people to become more inclined towards the UK and more sensitive to the positive benefits of the UK in the world. We want to focus on the BRIC countries. Russia is a difficult area politically. Also, in the Gulf we're just growing our presence. We're extending playwriting development work down there, which is about writing about areas of interest for younger people, seeing what can capture their interests. We've had this going on at the Royal Court with readings from the Near East and North Africa and we want this to go down the Gulf as well. As a country we do the longer-term stuff; there are occasions when I think the UK needs to do more of the big bucks projects, when it can change the atmosphere of a city quite viscerally, like France's Louvre in Abu Dhabi.". In February 2011 Rebecca Walton was replaced as Director of Arts by Graham Sheffield whose abrupt resignation a few weeks earlier 'on health grounds' from an arts post in Hong Kong had raised eyebrows in East Asia.

In its December 2009 survey of Soft Power Monocle magazine mentioned France's network of 'Alliances Francaises' as 'second to none'. It omitted to make any specific reference whatsoever to the activities of the British Council while ranking UK's 'soft power' a first equal with France. The same issue of Monocle pointed out in a separate feature the leading role played by a Swedish private company EF (English First) in promoting English language teaching. It also included the key role of the BBC World Service
BBC World Service
The BBC World Service is the world's largest international broadcaster, broadcasting in 27 languages to many parts of the world via analogue and digital shortwave, internet streaming and podcasting, satellite, FM and MW relays...

 in its list of 'soft power' metrics for the UK.

British Council-run initiatives such as the Peacekeeping English Project in Libya are funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence - and continue to raise eyebrows amongst some British Council private sector critics.

In May 2011 The International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Saif Ghaddafi who British Council had dealings with in Libya - including the provision of a free place in one of their schools benefitting a senior member of the Ghaddafi Foundation which Saif Ghaddafi controls. In reporting on this indictment for war crimes, The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

 correspondent observed: "Saif Gaddafi's indictment for committing atrocities against civilians will profoundly embarrass the wealthy and influential circle of friends he cultivated over eight years studying at the London School of Economics and living a playboy's life in Hampstead. According to prosecution documents, his image in the west as a moderniser and reformer, often at odds with his autocratic father, was a carefully crafted sham" ('Court accuses Gaddafis of war crimes: [International Criminal Court] Prosecutor sets precedent by indicting son with links to west, says expert" Julian Borger, Diplomatic Editor, The Guardian (Thursday 17 May 2011)) Pressed to justify this link - which British Council attempted to deny for many years - Freedom of Information campaigners eventually extracted this admission from The British Council:

" Student X is the son of one of the British Council’s most important contacts in Libya - the [title given] of the Gaddafi Development Foundation and one of the right-hand men of [name given], the possible future leader of Libya. The Foundation is highly influential in change programmes across all sectors, including the energy sector and engendering positive relations with their top decision-makers is therefore very useful to us in furthering our objective to assist Libya in oil sector reform. The on-the-spot justification for the sponsorship was therefore that it would help us pursue our capacity building work in the oil sector and BC registration staff pragmatically summarised all of this as ‘NOC’ ['National Oil Corporation'] on our records."

The British Council's statement also conceded that 'Student X' was too young to be a staff member of NOC and were thus forced to issue this apology:
" I have checked back on the information we originally provided for you and discovered – I can only apologise – that whereas we correctly listed him as one of our sponsored students, we erroneously described him as a NOC ‘staff member’. [name given] is perfectly right to point out that he is too young to be a staff member. Student X is actually less directly connected with NOC but was categorised in this way because the relationships involved are quite complex and it would be impossible for registration staff to summarise them in one line on our records."

In seeking to justify such 'pragmatism' the British Council statement on this matter concluded:

" As long as modest numbers of English course sponsorships continue to help us meet our principal objective of generating mutual understanding and respect between Libya and the UK, it makes perfect sense to continue with the practice."

History

The impetus for what became the British Council arose in the Foreign Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, commonly called the Foreign Office or the FCO is a British government department responsible for promoting the interests of the United Kingdom overseas, created in 1968 by merging the Foreign Office and the Commonwealth Office.The head of the FCO is the...

 during the late 1920s when the official cultural organisations of the French, Germans and Italians were being quite successful. Together with some like-minded individuals they created the "British Committee for Relations with Other Countries" in 1934. The word "committee" was quickly dropped and it became the "British Council for Relations with Other Countries". Initially the committee's work focused on two areas, support for English education abroad and promulgation of British culture through lecture tours, musical troupes and art exhibitions. The first geographic area to be targeted was the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, followed by the poorer countries in Europe and then Latin America. In 1936, the organisation's name was officially shortened to the "British Council. The council worked out of the various British consulates, but then began opening its own offices in various countries, starting with Egypt in 1938. The overseas associates of the British Council collected information about local conditions, opportunities and openness to British initiates, which information was compiled in London. These "information" functions were transferred to the newly recreated Ministry of Information in 1939 at the start of World War II.

During the war most offices in Europe and the Middle east were closed, except in neutral Sweden, Portugal and Spain. Instead, educational opportunities were provided in the refugee camps within Britain, and for Allied servicemen stationed there. In 1939 the "Resident Foreigners Division" was established to manage those services. By the end of the war there were British Council assistance centres in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford, Stratford-on-Avon, and Wilton in England, Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

 and Leith
Leith
-South Leith v. North Leith:Up until the late 16th century Leith , comprised two separate towns on either side of the river....

 in Scotland, and Cardiff
Cardiff
Cardiff is the capital, largest city and most populous county of Wales and the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is Wales' chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for...

 in Wales, as well as a centre for the Society for Visiting Scientists and an Allied Lawyers' Foyer. In 1940 a Royal Charter was granted to the British Council by King George VI. After the war, the British Council focused on Europe, but due to lack of funds, closed its offices in many other places. In August 1944, after the liberation of Paris, Austin Gill
Austin Gill
Austin Gill CBE was a British scholar of the French language and culture. He was the Marshall Professor of French at the University of Glasgow from 1966 to 1971....

 was sent by the council to reestablish the Paris office, which soon had tours by the Old Vic company, Julian Huxley
Julian Huxley
Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS was an English evolutionary biologist, humanist and internationalist. He was a proponent of natural selection, and a leading figure in the mid-twentieth century evolutionary synthesis...

 and T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.The poem that made his...

. As refugees returned home, about half of the inland centres were closed, but the rest undertook the new mission of providing support for foreign students and short-term visitors.

After the reconstruction efforts, funding from the Foreign Office declined, and the British Council was forced to pull out of a number of countries for political reasons, including most of Eastern Europe, China, and Persia
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. Overall the world-wide network deteriorated. The raison d'etre for the British Council came under attack in a series of four government review commissions which produced the Drogheda, Hill, Vosper and Duncan Reports, respectively. The British Council survived, but with a lower profile. In 1943-4, the Bland Report that emerged from a Foreign Office review of postwar intelligence needs and organisation concluded the best prospects of 'cover' for intelligence activity "would come from 'the creation of small businesses which would in fact be solely run in the interests of the SIS'; the recruitment of established British businessmen who ran their own private concerns and would 'have no-one to fear in the shape of a board of directors in London'; and 'the obtaining of cover from semi-national and often non-profit making British institutions with offices in foreign countries.' These could include British railway companies or the British Overseas Airways Corporation. Another possibility was the British Council, though it was somewhat grumpily noted that the Council had 'never been ready in the past to lend the smallest assistance to the SIS.'.

Expenses scandal

Conservative MP Mark Lancaster
Mark Lancaster
John Mark Lancaster TD is a British Conservative Party politician. He was elected as Member of Parliament for the North East Milton Keynes constituency at the 2005 general election and held its successor seat, Milton Keynes North, at the 2010 general election...

, now Parliamentary Private Secretary
Parliamentary Private Secretary
A Parliamentary Private Secretary is a role given to a United Kingdom Member of Parliament by a senior minister in government or shadow minister to act as their contact for the House of Commons; this role is junior to that of Parliamentary Under-Secretary, which is a ministerial post, salaried by...

 to the Secretary of State for International Development
Secretary of State for International Development
In the United Kingdom, the Secretary of State for International Development is a Cabinet minister responsible for the Department for International Development and for promoting development overseas, particularly in the third world...

, the then Speaker of the House of Commons
Speaker of the House of Commons
Speaker of the House of Commons can refer to:*Speaker of the House of Commons *Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada*Speaker of the Northern Ireland House of Commons...

 Michael Martin
Michael Martin (politician)
Michael John Martin, Baron Martin of Springburn, PC is a British politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Glasgow Springburn from 1979 to 2005, and then for Glasgow North East until 2009...

, and other MPs were involved in rows over expenses incurred on undisclosed taxpayer-funded British Council trips. The dispute erupted after Alda Barry, the Commons Registrar of Members' Interests, ruled that MPs should not have to declare details of trips they make abroad as guests of the British Council, a taxpayer-funded body. MPs must normally declare any hospitality they receive from outside organisations, and the British Council does not appear on a list of bodies whose gifts are exempt from the requirement. When The Sunday Telegraph used the Freedom of Information Act to ask the Commons authorities why the trips were not being declared, The then Speaker (Mr Martin) stepped in and took the highly unusual step of signing a special certificate preventing the release of any information about how the decision was reached. The document, headed 'The Certificate', cites Parliamentary privilege as the reason to impose secrecy. It even halts any further investigation by Richard Thomas, the English Information Commissioner, who would normally have the power to intervene.
The Speaker's move to block information that campaigners claim should be in the public domain has been condemned by MPs from all parties as well as civil liberty advocates.

In June 2010 British Council Chief Executive Martin Davidson faced press criticism for expenses claimed in apparent breach of British Council's own internal rules for overnight stays in London. Mr Davidson earns £169,383 a year and chooses to commute from Dorset, according to 'The Evening Standard'.

Teaching

There are 70 British Council Teaching Centres in 53 countries. It taught 1,189,000 class hours to 300,000 learners in 2006/07 . The British Council claims to be 'the world's largest English language teaching organisation.'

In its examination centres, the British Council administers 1.5 million UK examinations to over one million candidates each year. It is also working with the UK's award bodies to extend the range of professional qualifications available overseas. The Council also oversees British schools operating internationally through bodies such as COBIS, NABSS, and the European Council of International Schools
European Council of International Schools
The European Council of International Schools - ECIS is an association of international schools founded in 1965. ECIS is a collaborative network promoting the ideals and best practice of international education....

.
The Council jointly runs the global IELTS
IELTS
IELTS , or 'International English Language Testing System', is an international standardised test of English language proficiency. It is jointly managed by University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, the British Council and IDP Education Pty Ltd, and was established in 1989.There are two versions of...

 English language standardised test with University of Cambridge ESOL
English language learning and teaching
English as a second language , English for speakers of other languages and English as a foreign language all refer to the use or study of English by speakers with different native languages. The precise usage, including the different use of the terms ESL and ESOL in different countries, is...

 Examinations and IDP Education Australia. In 2011 the West Australia Corruption and Crime Commission held hearings into a scam at Curtin University in West Australia where an employee admitted taking money to change multiple test results. The Commission was told that the IELTS software often crashed causing log-in problems that in turn led Curtin University's staff to share passwords - with a resulting collapse in IELTS security.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/curtin-university-may-decide-ielts-is-too-risky/story-e6frgcjx-1226030293003

In schools in England, the British Council is working with the Department for Education
Department for Education
The Department for Education is a department of the UK government responsible for issues affecting people in England up to the age of 19, including child protection and education....

 to help three million children gain an International School Award to increase their "understanding and appreciation of other cultures". There are now 2,700 UK schools working towards an award. In the Middle East, the British Council runs a school links programme bringing children in the UK together with those in the region in order to break down negative perceptions of Britain and foster "inter-cultural dialogue". To date, 153 schools in the Middle East are involved in 53 collaborative projects.

Military English

In recent years The British Council has been awarded a number of closed contracts to run courses in what they describe as 'military English'. In November 2010 – nine months before a Taleban attack on the British Council in Kabul resulted in fatalities – British Council Director in Afghanistan Paul Smith explained publicly on his blog the extent of the shift by the Council in recent years from a strict emphasis on culture and education into politics, religion and involvement in language training for the armed forces. Expanding on this theme, he added in April 2011: "I’m always keen to emphasise the cultural relations significance and liberating power of teaching military cadres English, particularly these soldiers and officers who, by learning the international language, are better able to join the conversation about the rights and values for which they are fighting."

Working abroad

Within the UK the British Council administers the International Association of the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE)
IAESTE
The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience commonly referred to as IAESTE is an international organization exchanging students for technical work experience abroad. Students gain relevant technical training lasting from 4 weeks to 18 months...

. This programme operates in over 80 countries worldwide and offers students, studying in the UK, the opportunity to take an internship as part of an international placement working abroad.

The programme accepts highly motivated undergraduates studying a technical degree i.e. engineering, science, architecture or pharmacy, and are in their second year or above and have a strong desire to work abroad in a paid, course-related internship. Placements typically occur for 8–12 weeks during the summer months, however opportunities exist for positions lasting up to a year, suitable for anyone interested in working abroad during their placement or gap year.

The programme also offers employers the opportunity to hire high calibre foreign undergraduates. For many companies in industries which are currently experiencing a shortage of graduate’s e.g. electronic engineering
Electronic engineering
Electronics engineering, also referred to as electronic engineering, is an engineering discipline where non-linear and active electrical components such as electron tubes, and semiconductor devices, especially transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, are utilized to design electronic...

, this can provide an important source of labour.

Sports festivals

On playing field
Playing field
A playing field is a field used for playing sports or games. They are generally outdoors, but many large structures exist to enclose playing fields from bad weather. Generally, playing fields are wide expanses of grass, dirt or sand without many obstructions...

s in 40 countries the British Council hopes that young people have learned new leadership and team-building skills by being involved in "Dreams+Teams" sports festivals. This programme has trained 5,500 "young leaders" and has reached 280,000 people in their schools and communities. The British Council is expanding its activities to help more young people prepare for "global citizenship".

English for peace

"Peacekeeping English" is an important and growing element of British Council English language work in Africa and other parts of the world. It works with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

 to improve the English language skills of military personnel the Peacekeeping English Project (PEP). PEP is helping train approximately 50,000 military and police service personnel in 28 countries worldwide, amongst them Libya, Ethiopia and Georgia. The Peacekeeping English Project is managed by the British Council and funded by the UK government global conflict prevention fund.

Online initiatives

In 2007, the British Council China Region launched a new community website for English learners and teachers across mainland China and Hong Kong. The site already has over 30,000 members. English Online has social networking functionality as well as a range of podcasts for English learners - http://www.englishonline.org.cn.

The British Council has entered Second Life
Second Life
Second Life is an online virtual world developed by Linden Lab. It was launched on June 23, 2003. A number of free client programs, or Viewers, enable Second Life users, called Residents, to interact with each other through avatars...

 Teen Grid to create an educational island for learners of English as of 2007.

Cafés Scientifiques

In the UK and some other countries, the British Council runs cafés scientifiques
Café Scientifique
Café Scientifique is a grassroots public science initiative currently running in 42 cities across the United Kingdom and cities in other countries. At least twelve cafés outside the UK are organised by the British Council alone. Similar but independent events have also sprung up in many cities...

, informal events to engage people with creative ideas about science
Natural science
The natural sciences are branches of science that seek to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world by using empirical and scientific methods...

. They take place in cafés, bars and bookshops and begin with a short talk from a UK scientist or science writer. Events so far have brought together audiences from as far away as India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Malaysia to discuss the social and ethical aspects of issues from Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

 to DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

, from global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 to artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

.

ZeroCarbonCity

ZeroCarbonCity is the British Council’s global campaign to raise awareness about climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

 and the energy challenges
World energy resources and consumption
]World energy consumption in 2010: over 5% growthEnergy markets have combined crisis recovery and strong industry dynamism. Energy consumption in the G20 soared by more than 5% in 2010, after the slight decrease of 2009. This strong increase is the result of two converging trends...

 facing the world’s cities. It chose climate change as the major theme for its science work "to underline the leadership being shown by the UK in tackling this major issue, the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

's commitment to use the G8
G8
The Group of Eight is a forum, created by France in 1975, for the governments of seven major economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1997, the group added Russia, thus becoming the G8...

 and EU presidencies
Presidency of the Council of the European Union
The Presidency of the Council of the European Union is the responsibility for the functioning of the Council of the European Union that rotates between the member states of the European Union every six months. The presidency is not a single president but rather the task is undertaken by a national...

 to renew efforts to confront the global challenges". The programme included a touring exhibition, an online global debate and series of seminars and conferences. 62 countries have participated in ZeroCarbonCity and 2.5 million people have been reached directly by the campaign.

After a successful Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs youth campaign in 2006, the British Council began the "Climate Change Champions" scheme to select young champions from 13 countries (three from each), representing the G8+5.[2] The project's aim is to allow youth ambassadors to spread awareness about climate change's effects and mitigation solutions in their own communities.

British Council UK joined the 10:10
10:10
Drono Acharya composed the film's songs and Ritam Sen, Sandip Chakrabarty, Padmanabha Dasgupta, Rana Basu Thakur and Rangeet wrote the lyrics.-External links:* IMDB Title* * *...

 project to help them reduce their carbon footprint. One year later they announced that they had reduced their carbon emissions (according to 10:10's criteria) by 26%.

Shakespearean play in Afghanistan

The British Council-supported production of Love's Labour's Lost
Love's Labour's Lost
Love's Labour's Lost is one of William Shakespeare's early comedies, believed to have been written in the mid-1590s, and first published in 1598.-Title:...

in 2005 was the first performance of a Shakespeare play in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 in over 17 years. The play was performed in the Afghan language of Dari
Dari (Persian)
Dari or Fārsī-ye Darī in historical terms refers to the Persian court language of the Sassanids. In contemporary usage, the term refers to the dialects of modern Persian language spoken in Afghanistan, and hence known as Afghan Persian in some Western sources. It is the term officially recognized...

 and the capacity audience responded enthusiastically to the eternal and universal themes of Shakespeare’s play and to the local references and music.

Young Creative Entrepreneur Awards

The British Council has joined in work on promoting the UK experience with the creative industries
Creative industries
The creative industries refers to a range of economic activities which are concerned with the generation or exploitation of knowledge and information...

 abroad, including running a series of awards for young creative entrepreneurs worldwide such as the International Young Publisher of the Year
International Young Publisher of the Year
The International Young Publisher of the Year is a British Council award programme, which has been developed with the support of the London Book Fair. It is targeted at publishers aged 25 to 35 from emerging economies. The winner receives a free exhibition stand at the next London Book Fair and a...

, UK Young Publishing Entrepreneur
UK Young Publishing Entrepreneur Awards
The UK Young Publishing Entrepreneur Award celebrates entrepreneurial ability within publishing, and strengthens creative leadership, networking, and capacity building in the UK publishing industry...

 and International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year
International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year
The International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year award is a British Council and London Calling award program for young entrepreneurs in the music industry from the developing and transitional economies, launched in 2006....

 awards.

The YCE award programme is divided into two strands: one for international creative entrepreneurs from emerging economies, and another one for UK creative entrepreneurs.

The Prime Minister's Global Fellowship

The British Council is responsible for the running of this programme, although it is funded by the Department for Education
Department for Education
The Department for Education is a department of the UK government responsible for issues affecting people in England up to the age of 19, including child protection and education....

. The British Council administers training for the 100 fellows each year, delivers the programme in each country and is involved in co-ordinating their activities upon their return. (For more information, see main article The Prime Minister's Global Fellowship
The Prime Minister's Global Fellowship
The Global Fellowship programme works with 18 and 19 year old students from England to give them a strong foundation in interacting with one of the three major emerging economies...

.)

Difficulties in Russia

In recent years the Council has experienced difficulties operating in Russia, contributing to the sometimes tense British-Russian relationship. It operates under a 1994 intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the fields of education, science and culture. The British Government has been seeking for some years to establish a new Cultural Centres Agreement (CCA) which would formalise the British Council's status in Russia. The British Council is now registered for tax in Russia and pays tax on its "fee-earning work". The Russian Government has also challenged the Council's claim to have been exempt in the past from paying local taxation on its commercial language teaching courses and also over the British Council's support for Russian NGOs that are perceived as political.

In late 2007 the British Council announced that it would cease carrying out all ESOL and other English Language examinations in Russia with effect from 1 January 2008. It cited "circumstances beyond our control" as being the cause and it appeared that some examinations that had already been booked have been cancelled. In addition, the British Council stated that all offices in Russia, with the exception of Moscow, St Petersburg and Ekaterinburg would close before the end of 2007. Subsequent confirmation of closures is reported here.

A further development occurred on 12 December 2007, when it was reported that the British Council had been ordered by the Russian Foreign Ministry to close its two remaining offices outside of Moscow before the beginning of January 2008. The Ministry maintained that the British Council was "operating illegally" within Russia and that "the Council had violated tax regulations, among other laws". The Russian position was summarised in an article published on the Moscow News website.

After the Council's offices in St Petersburg and Ekaterinburg reopened in mid-January after the New Year break, the Russian authorities accused Britain of intentional provocation, because this action was illegal. However, British Ambassador Sir Tony Brenton
Tony Brenton
Sir Anthony Russell Brenton KCMG is a former British diplomat.Mr Brenton entered the British Foreign Office 1975, where he began his career learning Arabic and then spent three years in the British Embassy in Cairo working on the Middle East Dispute...

 said he had informed Vladimir Titov
Vladimir Titov
Vladimir Georgiyevich Titov , Colonel, Russian Air Force, Ret., and former Russian cosmonaut was born January 1, 1947, in Sretensk, in the Zabaykalsky Krai region of Russia. He is married to the former Alexandra Kozlova of Ivanovo Region, Russia...

, the deputy foreign minister, that the offices would remain open as "the British Council is working entirely legally, that it will continue therefore to work, that any Russian action against it would be a breach of international law". On 15 January 2008, the head of the St Petersburg office Stephen Kinnock
Stephen Kinnock
The Hon. Stephen Kinnock is a British executive who held various senior positions with the British Council prior to joining the World Economic Forum in January 2009 as director, head of Europe and Central Asia...

, son of Neil Kinnock
Neil Kinnock
Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock is a Welsh politician belonging to the Labour Party. He served as a Member of Parliament from 1970 until 1995 and as Labour Leader and Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition from 1983 until 1992 - his leadership of the party during nearly nine years making him...

 the then Chair of The British Council, was detained for alleged traffic offences and drunken driving; but declined to take an alcohol-level breath test, claiming diplomatic status, which was confirmed as valid when the British Consul-General arrived at the scene about one hour later. He was then released. Stephen Kinnock left Russia the following day and was posted elsewhere.

Following the reopening, FSB officials interviewed British Council staff at both St Petersburg and Ekaterinburg, apparently informing them that they were working for an illegal organisation. This resulted in the closure of both offices, owing to lack of staff, and they remained shut on 17 January 2008.
While the British saw little possibility of reopening the offices given the problems with their staff, Yury Fedotov, Russia's ambassador to London, told journalists that a solution to the dispute could be reached if Britain showed more respect for Moscow's position: "A resolution is possible, but we need to gain more respect and avoid further public discussions which under the current circumstances are unhelpful," he explained. Allegations of being an "intelligence front" were levied by the FSB.

In June 2008 it was announced that the British Council was being further investigated by the Russian tax authorities for non-payment of tax. This hinged on a disputed tax bill with respect to a tax assessment which was issued in May 2008, but which relates to 2007.

In an emailed statement the British Council said, “The British Council is registered with the tax authorities, it regularly pays taxes ... and carries out all the demands of the Russian tax authorities.”

Should the full amount remain unpaid , then possible actions by the Russian tax authorities include the seizure of property, including books, furniture, poetry (sic) and computers, from the British Council’s now sole-remaining Russian office in Moscow. Such action has been described by an official as being the "standard procedure in cases where tax authorities believe that there is still an outstanding sum".

In December 2008 a Russian court reinstituted the tax case against the British Council for £2.3m, overturning a decision by a lower court which UK diplomats had hoped had resolved this matter. The Council also parted company with Stephen Kinnock, who took up a new post with The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland from January 2009.

Criticism

British Council's website claims it publishes "edited minutes of the Board of Trustees". The last minutes published, however, relate to July 2009.

In March 2007, the British Council announced its 'intention to increase its investment in the Middle East, North Africa and Central and Southern Asia. This will largely be funded by cuts in other services, libraries and office closures across Europe. In June 2007, MPs were told of further closures in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

 and Jerusalem (where there had been a British Council Library since 1946). The British Council libraries in Athens and in Belgrade are also to close. Similarly in India, the British Council Libraries at Bhopal and Trivandrum were closed despite protests from library users . as part of the Council's policy to "reduce its physical presence" in the country and to divert funds to mega projects in the fields of culture, education, science and research.

At the end of December 2009 the British Council Library in Mumbai closed its doors to its members for the last time. Indian commentators were unimpressed by promises of online alternatives.

British Council libraries and offices have also been closed in a number of other countries judged by the British Council to be of little strategic or commercial importance as it refocused its activities on China and The Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

. Council offices were closed in Lesotho
Lesotho
Lesotho , officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, is a landlocked country and enclave, surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. It is just over in size with a population of approximately 2,067,000. Its capital and largest city is Maseru. Lesotho is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The name...

, Swaziland, Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

 and provincial Länder
States of Germany
Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...

 in Germany in 2000–2001 — as well as Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

 — prompting Parliamentary criticism. Subsequent promises by British Council Chair Neil Kinnock to a conference in Edinburgh that the Belarus closure would hopefully prove to be just a "temporary" withdrawal proved illusory. The British Council office in Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 also closed in September 2006 as part of a rethink of its strategy in Latin America. In Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 British Council closed its offices in Turin and Bologna, and reduced the size of offices in Milan and Rome (with the closure of the library in the latter).

Charles Arnold-Baker
Charles Arnold-Baker
Charles Arnold-Baker, OBE, born Wolfgang Charles Werner von Blumenthal was an English barrister , an academic and a historian. He was the author of the Companion to British History...

, author of the Companion to British History
Companion to British History
The Companion to British History is a single-volume encyclopaedic reference work "bigger than a foundation stone, longer than the Bible" written by the sole hand of Charles Arnold-Baker and originally published by his son Henry von Blumenthal in 1996...

 said of the British Council's shift in priorities: 'This whole policy is misconstrued from top to bottom. We are going somewhere where we can't succeed and neglecting our friends in Europe who wish us well. The only people who are going to read our books in Beirut or Baghdad are converts already.

The article also points out that the Alliance française
Alliance française
The Alliance française , or AF, is an international organisation that aims to promote French language and culture around the world. created in Paris on 21 July 1883, its primary concern is teaching French as a second language and is headquartered in Paris -History:The Alliance was created in Paris...

 and the Goethe-Institut
Goethe-Institut
The Goethe-Institut is a non-profit German cultural institution operational worldwide, promoting the study of the German language abroad and encouraging international cultural exchange and relations. The Goethe-Institut also fosters knowledge about Germany by providing information on German...

, unlike the British Council, are both expanding and replenishing libraries Europe-wide. France opened its new library in Tel Aviv in 2007 — just a few months after the British Council closed there and shut down the British Council library in West Jerusalem. In Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

, the Institut Francais supports the Gaza municipal library in partnership with the local authority and a municipal twinning link between Gaza City and the French port of Dunkerque. In Oslo British
Council informs Norwegian callers that 'our office is not open to the public and we do not have an enquiry service'. Goethe Institute also has a more visible presence in Glasgow than the British Council. There is now, in contrast, only one British Council office left in Germany - and that is in East Berlin.

While Members of Parliament and others have criticised the lack of strong parliamentary accountability for the British Council, the organisation does have close lobbying links to individual parliamentarians. These included the Conservative Party Shadow Culture spokesman Jeremy Hunt MP whose Hotcourses company has close links to the British Council through Sheffield Data Services.

Formally it is to its sponsoring department, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, commonly called the Foreign Office or the FCO is a British government department responsible for promoting the interests of the United Kingdom overseas, created in 1968 by merging the Foreign Office and the Commonwealth Office.The head of the FCO is the...

, that the UK Parliamentary Table Office refers any parliamentary questions about the British Council.

The effectiveness of British Council efforts to promote higher education in China was examined in England by The House of Commons Select Committee on Education and Skills in a report issued in August 2007. It expressed concern that in terms of joint educational programmes involving Chinese universities, UK lagged behind Australia, USA, Hong Kong China, Canada and France. In its evidence to this committee, the British Council had argued that "UK degrees are highly valued by international students for their global recognition. International students adopt an essentially utilitarian view of higher education which is likely to increasingly involve consideration of value for money, including opting for programmes at least partly delivered offshore". As their preferred marketing 'model', the British Council gave the example of India where their UK India Education and Research Initiative is being 'championed' by British multinational oil companies such as BP
BP
BP p.l.c. is a global oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest energy company and fourth-largest company in the world measured by revenues and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors"...

 and Shell
Royal Dutch Shell
Royal Dutch Shell plc , commonly known as Shell, is a global oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the fifth-largest company in the world according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine and one of the six...

, the pharmaceutical giant GSK
GlaxoSmithKline
GlaxoSmithKline plc is a global pharmaceutical, biologics, vaccines and consumer healthcare company headquartered in London, United Kingdom...

 and arms company BAE Systems
BAE Systems
BAE Systems plc is a British multinational defence, security and aerospace company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, that has global interests, particularly in North America through its subsidiary BAE Systems Inc. BAE is among the world's largest military contractors; in 2009 it was the...

.

Criticism of British Council marketing efforts in this area have also come from Scotland where The Sunday Herald obtained documents under the Freedom of Information Act showing that the British Council's Marketing Co-ordinator in the USA had been referring to the University of Stirling as 'The University of Sterling' (sic) and also documenting 'tensions' between Scottish Executive civil servants and British Council in India and China over overseas promotion of universities in Scotland where education is a devolved responsibility. The Sunday Herald reported that these turf wars were undermining the Scottish Executive's key Fresh Talent policy.

After 1998 education and culture in Scotland were devolved to the Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament is the devolved national, unicameral legislature of Scotland, located in the Holyrood area of the capital, Edinburgh. The Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood", is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament...

. Since February 2007, charities registered in England (like the British Council) which now wish to operate in Scotland are required to register as cross-border charities in Scotland.

Some of the activities of the British Council were examined in 2007/08 by the National Audit Office
National Audit Office (United Kingdom)
The National Audit Office is an independent Parliamentary body in the United Kingdom which is responsible for auditing central government departments, government agencies and non-departmental public bodies...

 (NAO). The NAO's report, The British Council: Achieving Impact, concluded ‘that the British Council’s performance is strong and valued by its customers and stakeholders’. It also concluded, however, that its English classes are elitist and have unfair advantages over commercial providers, as well as questioning thousands of unanswered phone-calls and e-mails to British Council offices.

The NAO report had a footnote on page 5 which excluded the British Council's contract work from scrutiny and evaluation: 'The main exclusion from the scope of the study was the Council's work under contract for a range of UK and international agencies, mainly in support of international development programmes." It went on to suggest that examination of this is unnecessary because: "Such work is won under competition and at least covers its costs overall. Primary responsibility for the value for money of the work lies with the agencies procuring it".

As part of its examination of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Annual Report, the Foreign Affairs Committee spends an hour each year examining witnesses from the British Council but even this level of scrutiny is undermined by a Commons ruling exempting MPs from the requirement to declare overseas trips paid for by The British Council.

Two members of the Public Accounts Committee (Nigel Griffiths
Nigel Griffiths
Nigel Griffiths is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South from 1987 to 2010.-Early life:...

 MP and Ian Davidson MP
Ian Davidson (Scottish politician)
Ian Graham Davidson is a Scottish Labour Co-operative politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Glasgow South West since 2005...

) were office-bearers in the British Council Associate Parliamentary Group. Nigel Griffiths MP was Vice-Chair of this British Council lobby group until stepping down as an MP following a sex scandal on House of Commons premises being exposed by a Sunday newspaper.

In 2008 the British Council was called before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) following earlier publication of a National Audit Office report. The subsequent PAC report confirmed that Nigel Griffiths MP - Vice Chair of The British Council Associate Parliamentary Group - was part of the small number of PAC members who approved this report on the British Council despite not having been recorded as being present during the evidence session - in June 2008 - where the British Council's Chief Executive was cross-examined. Mr Griffiths had earlier travelled to Russia and spoke favourably of British Council activities there in January 1998 around the time that their man in St Petersburg (Stephen Kinnock) was expelled.

In April 2009 the British Council was told to clean up its act by the Information Commissioner after losing staff data that included details of their trade union affiliations and lying about the encryption status of the computer disc lost.

Following the accusations made against the British Council in Russia (see above) Trevor Royle, the experienced Diplomatic Editor of The Sunday Herald quoted a 'British diplomatic source' admitting: "There is a widespread assumption that The British Council is a wing of our Secret Intelligence Services, however minor. Officially it is no such thing but there are connections. Why should it be otherwise because all information is invaluable? After all, the British Council also deals with trade missions and inevitably that involves low-grade intelligence-gathering."

Eyebrows were raised down under when the British Council awarded a scholarship for the LSE to the daughter of Australia's Foreign Minister.

The British Council in fiction and reality

Royle also goes on to note that the novel The Russia House
The Russia House
The Russia House is a novel by John le Carré published in 1989. The title refers to the nickname given to the portion of the British Secret Intelligence Service that was devoted to spying on the Soviet Union. A film based on the novel was released in 1990, starring Sean Connery and Michelle...

by John Le Carré
John le Carré
David John Moore Cornwell , who writes under the name John le Carré, is an author of espionage novels. During the 1950s and the 1960s, Cornwell worked for MI5 and MI6, and began writing novels under the pseudonym "John le Carré"...

 (former consular official David Cornwell) opens with a reference to The British Council. The organisation's "first ever audio fair for the teaching of the English language and the spread of British culture" is "grinding to its excruciating end" and one of its officials is packing away his stuff when he is approached by an attractive Russian woman to undertake clandestine delivery of a manuscript which she claims is a novel to an English publisher who she says is 'her friend'!

It is also featured in one of the scenes in Graham Greene
Graham Greene
Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH was an English author, playwright and literary critic. His works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world...

's The Third Man
The Third Man
The Third Man is a 1949 British film noir, directed by Carol Reed and starring Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, and Trevor Howard. Many critics rank it as a masterpiece, particularly remembered for its atmospheric cinematography, performances, and unique musical score...

— the character Crabbin, played by Wilfrid Hyde-White
Wilfrid Hyde-White
Wilfrid Hyde-White was an English character actor.-Early life and career:Wilfrid Hyde White was born at the rectory in Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire, the son of William Edward White, canon of Gloucester Cathedral, and his wife, Ethel Adelaide Drought...

 in the film, worked for The British Council. In 1946, the writer George Orwell
George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair , better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist...

 advised serious authors not to work for it as a day-job arguing that "the effort [of writing] is too much to make if one has already squandered one's energies on semi-creative work such as teaching, broadcasting or composing propaganda for bodies such as the British Council". In her autobiography, Dame Stella Rimington
Stella Rimington
Dame Stella Rimington, DCB is a British author, who was the Director General of MI5 from 1992 to 1996. She was the first female DG of MI5, and the first DG whose name was publicised on appointment...

, the first woman head of MI5
MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

, mentions working for British Council in India prior to joining the British Intelligence Services.

The British Council has been referred to (and its man on-station, Goole) - frequently in a humorous way by Lawrence Durrell
Lawrence Durrell
Lawrence George Durrell was an expatriate British novelist, poet, dramatist, and travel writer, though he resisted affiliation with Britain and preferred to be considered cosmopolitan...

 in his collection of anecdotes about a diplomat
Diplomat
A diplomat is a person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with another state or international organization. The main functions of diplomats revolve around the representation and protection of the interests and nationals of the sending state, as well as the promotion of information and...

's life on foreign postings for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Antrobus Complete.

In the authorised history of MI6: The History of The Secret Intelligence Service 1909-1949 by Keith Jeffery
Keith Jeffery
Keith Jeffery, MRIA is a Northern Irish historian specializing in modern British, British Imperial, and Irish history. Having obtained his BA, MA, and PhD degrees from St. John's College, Cambridge, the latter under the supervision of John Andrew Gallagher, he is currently the Professor of...

, the role of
'The British Council, as potential cover' is mentioned in the index along with references to The Bland Commission of 1944 -
and correspondence with Rex Leeper, British Council's founder.

Israeli football coach training

In April 2011, fifty football coaches from Israel were trained in Israeli-Arab coexistence skills as part of the Football 4 Peace programme, in the UK, so that they will be able to run Football 4 Peacecamps during the summer in Israel. It was developed by the British Council, the Israel Sports Authority, the University of Brighton
University of Brighton
The University of Brighton is an English university of the United Kingdom, with a community of over 23,000 students and 2,600 staff based on campuses in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings. It has one of the best teaching quality ratings in the UK and a strong research record, factors which...

 in the UK and the Sports University in Cologne, Germany and is funded by the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. Coaches from Jordan and Ireland are also part of this programme. The Chelsea School of Sport, part of the University of Brighton, hosts the program.

Chairs

Previous chairs of the British Council have been:
  • 1934–1937 Lord Tyrrell
  • 1937–1941 Lord Lloyd
  • 1941–1945 Sir Malcolm Robertson
    Malcolm Robertson
    Sir Malcolm Arnold Robertson, GCMG, KBE, PC, was the British Ambassador in Argentina from 1929 to 1932....

  • 1946–1955 Sir Ronald Adam
    Ronald Adam
    General Sir Ronald Forbes Adam, 2nd Baronet, GCB, DSO, OBE was a British Army officer whose career spanned World War I and World War II...

  • 1955–1959 Sir David Kelly
    David Kelly
    David Christopher Kelly, CMG was a British scientist and expert on biological warfare, employed by the British Ministry of Defence, and formerly a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq...

  • 1959–1967 Lord Bridges
  • 1968–1971 Lord Fulton
    John Fulton, Baron Fulton
    John Scott Fulton, Baron Fulton was a British university administrator and public servant. In education, he served as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales and of the University of Sussex, and was chair of the Universities Central Council on Admissions between 1961 and 1964...

  • 1971–1972 Sir Leslie Rowan
  • 1972–1976 Lord Ballantrae
    Bernard Fergusson, Baron Ballantrae
    Bernard Edward Fergusson, Baron Ballantrae, KT, GCMG, GCVO, DSO, OBE was a brigadier in the British Army, military historian and the last British-born Governor-General of New Zealand.- Military service :...

  • 1977–1984 Sir Charles Troughton
  • 1985–1992 Sir David Orr
  • 1992–1998 Sir Martin Jacomb
    Martin Jacomb
    Sir Martin Jacomb is a former Chancellor of the University of Buckingham and Chairman of Canary Wharf Group.-Education and career:...

  • 1998–2004 Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws
    Helena Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws
    Helena Ann Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws QC, FRSA, is a British barrister, broadcaster, and Labour member of the House of Lords. She is a former chair of the Human Genetics Commission, which advises the UK government on ethical, social, and legal issues arising from developments in...

  • 2004–2009 Lord Kinnock
    Neil Kinnock
    Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock is a Welsh politician belonging to the Labour Party. He served as a Member of Parliament from 1970 until 1995 and as Labour Leader and Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition from 1983 until 1992 - his leadership of the party during nearly nine years making him...

  • 2010–present Sir Vernon Ellis

Recognition

In 2005, along with the Alliance française
Alliance française
The Alliance française , or AF, is an international organisation that aims to promote French language and culture around the world. created in Paris on 21 July 1883, its primary concern is teaching French as a second language and is headquartered in Paris -History:The Alliance was created in Paris...

, the Società Dante Alighieri, the Goethe-Institut
Goethe-Institut
The Goethe-Institut is a non-profit German cultural institution operational worldwide, promoting the study of the German language abroad and encouraging international cultural exchange and relations. The Goethe-Institut also fosters knowledge about Germany by providing information on German...

, the Instituto Cervantes
Instituto Cervantes
The Cervantes Institute is a worldwide non-profit organization created by the Spanish government in 1991. It is named after Miguel de Cervantes , the author of Don Quixote and perhaps the most important figure in the history of Spanish literature...

 and the Instituto Camões
Instituto Camões
The Instituto Camões is an institution created in 1992 for the world-wide promotion of the Portuguese language and culture...

, the British Council shared in the Prince of Asturias Award
Prince of Asturias Awards
The Prince of Asturias Awards are a series of annual prizes awarded in Spain by the Prince of Asturias Foundation to individuals, entities or organizations from around the world who make notable achievements in the sciences, humanities, and public affairs....

 for the outstanding achievements of Western Europe's national cultural agencies in communications and the humanities. At the time of this joint award the full extent of The British Council's closure policies in Europe was not yet public knowledge.

See also

  • Eunic
  • Festival of Muslim Cultures
    Festival of Muslim Cultures
    The Festival of Muslim Cultures, a national celebration of Muslim cultures held in the United Kingdom, began in January 2006 and ended July 2007...

  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language
    Teaching English as a Foreign Language
    Teaching English as a foreign language refers to teaching English to students whose first language is not English. TEFL usually occurs in the student's own country, either within the state school system, or privately, e.g., in an after-hours language school or with a tutor...

     (TEFL)

External links


Video clips

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