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Encyclopedia > British Council
Logo of the British Council
British Council building in London
British Council building in London
British Council, Hong Kong
British Council, Hong Kong

The British Council is one of the United Kingdom's cultural relations organisations and which specialises in educational opportunities. It is a non-departmental public body and is registered as a charity in England. Founded in 1934, one of its patrons is Queen Elizabeth II and its Chair is Lord Kinnock, the former leader of the UK Labour Party. Its 'sponsoring department' is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, although it has day-to-day operational independence. Martin Davidson is its Chief Executive, appointed in April 2007. Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... Shortcut: WP:NPOVD Articles that have been linked to this page are the subject of an NPOV dispute (NPOV stands for Neutral Point Of View; see below). ... Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Image File history File links British_Council_logo. ... Image File history File links British_Council_logo. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2816x2112, 2179 KB) British Council, 10 Spring Gardens, London SW1A 2BN Photo taken by User:Edward on 19 March 2006 with a Casio EX-S600. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2816x2112, 2179 KB) British Council, 10 Spring Gardens, London SW1A 2BN Photo taken by User:Edward on 19 March 2006 with a Casio EX-S600. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 556 pixelsFull resolution (960 × 667 pixel, file size: 149 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) 英國文化協會, British Council Author= zh:User:MaDonna HM File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 556 pixelsFull resolution (960 × 667 pixel, file size: 149 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) 英國文化協會, British Council Author= zh:User:MaDonna HM File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this... The term Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation (or QUANGO), attributed to Sir Douglas Hague, was originally invented as a joke, but fell into common usage in the United Kingdom to describe the agencies produced by the growing trend of government devolving power to appointed, or self-appointed bodies. ... Elizabeth II in an official portrait as Queen of Canada (on the occasion of her Golden Jubilee in 2002, wearing the Sovereigns badges of the Order of Canada and the Order of Military Merit) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary) (born 21 April 1926), styled HM The... A chairperson is the political correct term for the presiding officer of a meeting, organization, committee, or other deliberative body. ... Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock, PC (born 28 March 1942) is a British politician. ... The Labour Party is a political party in the United Kingdom. ... The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Whitehall, seen from St. ...

Contents

Overview

The British Council exists "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 110 countries and territories. It has UK branch offices in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff and a headquarters in Spring Gardens, off Whitehall in central London. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ...


Initiatives

While supporting curriculum development with teaching materials the British Council is also strengthening perceptions of the UK by introducing millions of people to British ideas. There are 70 British Council Teaching Centres in 53 countries. It taught 1,189,000 class hours to 300,000 learners in 2006/07.


In examination centres around the world, the British Council administers 1.5 million UK examinations to over one million candidates each year- and this is set to grow. The British Council is making it easier to register and pay for these examinations online. The British Council is also working with the UK's award bodies to extend the range of professional qualifications available overseas to establish the UK as the international benchmark in areas such as accounting.


In schools around the UK, the British Council is working with the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the devolved administrations to help three million children gain an International School Award, which increases their understanding and appreciation of other cultures. There are now 2700 UK schools working towards an award. In the Middle East the British Council has launched a major school links programme to bring together children in the UK and the region to breakdown negative perceptions and foster inter-cultural dialogue. 153 schools in the region are involved in 53 collaborative projects.


On playing fields in 40 countries young people have learned new leadership and teambuilding skills by being involved in Dreams+Teams sports festivals. 5500 young leaders have been trained and 280,000 people have been reached in their schools and communities through programme activities. The British Council is expanding the programme to help more young people prepare for global citizenship.


English for peace is an important and growing element of British Council English language work in Africa. It works with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence to improve the English language skills of military personnel assigned to international peacekeeping duties through the Peacekeeping English Project (PEP). PEP is helping prepare approximately 50,000 military and police service personnel in 28 countries worldwide for peacekeeping mission duties.


In many countries, including the UK, the British Council runs cafés scientifiques, informal events to engage people with creative ideas about science. They take place in cafes, 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 and Malaysia to discuss the social and ethical aspects of issues from Darwin to DNA, from global warming to artificial intelligence.


ZeroCarbonCity is the British Council’s global campaign to raise awareness about climate change and the energy challenges 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’s commitment to use the G8 and EU presidencies 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 ZeroCarbon City and 2.5 million people have been reached directly by the campaign.


The British Council-supported production of Love’s Labours Lost in 2005 was the first performance of a Shakespeare play in Afghanistan in over 17 years. The play was performed in the Afghan language of Dari and the capacity audience responded enthusiastically to the eternal and universal themes of Shakespeare’s play and to the local references and music.


The British Council has pioneered work on promoting the UK experience with the creative industries abroad, including running a series of awards for young creative entrepreneurs worldwide such as the International Young Publisher of the Year and International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year awards. Creative Industries (or sometimes Creative Economy) refers to a set of interlocking industry sectors, and are often cited as being a growing part of the global economy. ... The International Young Publisher of the Year is an award programme ran by the British Council and the London Book Fair targeted at publishers aged 25 to 35 from transitional and developing economies. ... The International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year award is a British Council and London Calling award programme for young (aged 25 to 35) entrepreneurs in the music industry from the developing and transitional economies, launched in 2006. ...


Making a world of difference


Criticism

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 and Jerusalem (where there had been a British Council Library since 1946). The British Council libraries in Athens[1] and in Belgrade[2] are also to close.


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 to the Council as it refocused its activities on China and The Gulf where it can get a 'bigger bang for the buck'. Council offices were closed in Lesotho, Swaziland, Ecuador and provincial Länder in Germany in 2000–2001 — as well as Belarus — prompting Parliamentary criticism. Subsequent promises by British Council Chair Kinnock to a conference in Edinburgh [3] that the Belarus closure would hopefully prove to be just a "temporary" withdrawal proved illusory. The British Council office in Peru also closed in September 2006 as part of a rethink of its strategy in Latin America [4]. Germany is a Federal Republic made up of 16 States, known in German as Länder (singular Land). ... Latin America consists of the countries of South America and some of North America (including Central America and some the islands of the Caribbean) whose inhabitants mostly speak Romance languages, although Native American languages are also spoken. ...


Following the closure of the British Council Library in Athens and the transfer of 8,000 books — 'the entire literary heritage of The British Council in Greece' — to the English department of Athens University, the novelist Fay Weldon, who had been a vociferous supporter of the earlier campaign to prevent the closure of the British Council's libraries, complained to The Observer that British Council abandonment of Europe in favour of a huge increase in funding for activities in the Middle East and Muslim world would hit women fiction writers especially hard because they will not be read in those closed patriarchal societies with tiny educated élites. 'I hope the Islamic world is grateful,' Weldon told The Observer, but 'I doubt that it will be.' Continuing her attack on British Council decision making she added: 'What do they hope to do? Win hearts and minds by sending in rappers to Saudi Arabia and the Middle East? We're trying to impose our culture and values on the culture of countries that don't share them, in the extraordinary conviction that we are right. All of this feels like somebody's bright idea that has not been properly thought out. The British Council should examine its own motives, attitudes and indeed cultural imperialism, because what they are doing is totally short-sighted.' The same article also quoted Charles Arnold-Baker, author of The Companion to British History as saying 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 [5]. Fay Weldon (born September 22, 1931) is a British novelist, short story writer, playwright and essayist whose work has been associated with the cause of feminism. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...


The article also points out that the Institut Francais and Goethe-Institut, unlike British Council, are both expanding and replenishing libraries Europe-wide [6]. France opened its new library in Tel Aviv in 2007 — just a few months after British Council closed there and shut down the British Council library in West Jerusalem [7]. In Gaza, the Institut Francais supports the Gaza municipal library in partnership with the local authority and a municipal twinning link between Gaza City and a French port Dunkerque [8]. Goethe in der Campagna The Goethe-Institut (GI) is a German non-profit organisation whose mission is to promote German language and culture outside of the German-speaking countries. ...


[1] Far from quitting, British Council is bridging gaps, letter to The Observer, 12 August 2007


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 [9]. Jeremy Hunt (born November 1, 1966) is the Conservative MP for Surrey South West and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. ...


Formally it is to its sponsoring department, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, that the UK Parliamentary Table Office refers any parliamentary questions about British Council [10]. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Whitehall, seen from St. ...


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 commercial consultancy — often acting as a managing agent for UK Government departments which it lobbies assiduously for business.[citation needed] Its main 'areas of activity', at least as reflected by its website, are 'Learning/Teaching, the Arts, Science and Society'. In recent years it has experienced difficulties operating in Russia, contributing itself to the sometimes tense UK-Russia relationship. It operates under a 1994 "cultural agreement", but has been under pressure from the Russian authorities for some years to establish a new Cultural Centres Agreement (CCA) which would formalise the British Council's status in Russia.[citation needed] The British Council is now registered for tax in Russia and following threats of court action, BC now pays tax on its "fee-earning work".[citation needed] Incidentally, the head of the British Council office in St. Petersburg is Stephen Kinnock.[citation needed]


The British Council in China operates in rather murky waters. It employs non-Chinese English language examiners on contracts that do not appear to be enforceable under either Chinese or British law.[citation needed] Complaints about these contracts have not been addressed and attempts to engage in dialogue with senior managers in China and in the UK have repeatedly been ignored. The effectiveness of British Council efforts to promote higher education in China have also recently been examined in England by The House of Commons Select Committee on Education and Skills in a report issued on 5 August 2007 [11]. 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[12] is being 'championed' by British multinational oil companies such as BP and Shell, the pharmaceutical giant GSK and arms company BAe Systems which is under investigation by the US Justice Department for its commercial ethics[13]. is the 217th day of the year (218th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ...


Criticism of British Council marketing efforts have also come from Scotland where The Sunday Herald obtained documents under the Freedom of Information Act showing that 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 [14].


After 1998 education and culture in Scotland were devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Charities registered in England (like British Council) which now wish to operate in Scotland are required to register as cross-border charities in Scotland from February 2007.


Founded in 1934 as the British Committee for Relations with Other Countries, the British Council was inspired by Sir Reginald (Rex) Leeper's recognition of the importance of "cultural propaganda" in promoting British interests.


It is also featured in one of the scenes in Graham Greene's The Third Man — the Wildfred Hyde-White character (Crabbin) in the film of that novel, worked for The British Council. In 1946, the writer George Orwell 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" (from 'Horizon Questionnaire: The Cost of Letters', in Horizon, 1946). In her autobiography, Dame Stella Rimington, the first woman head of MI5, mentions working for British Council in India prior to joining the British Intelligence Services. British Council employees also seem to feature regularly in the special section of the UK Honours List reserved for those attached to overseas diplomatic postings despite the ambiguous status of the organisation and confusion over whether they are entitled to normal diplomatic immunities in countries such as Russia. The Russian Government has also challenged their claim to be exempt from paying local taxation on their commercial language teaching courses and over The British Council's support for Russian NGOs that are perceived as political. The British Council has been referred to (and its man on-station, Goole) - frequently in a humorous way by Lawrence Durrell in his collection of anecdotes about a diplomat's life on foreign postings for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Antrobus Complete[15]. This article is about the writer. ... The Third Man (1949) is a British film noir directed by Carol Reed. ... Dame Stella Rimington in her official photo as Director-General of MI5 Dame Stella Rimington, DCB (born May 1935) was the Director-General (DG) of MI5 from 1992 to 1996. ... MI-5 redirects here. ... Lawrence George Durrell (February 27, 1912 – November 7, 1990) was a British novelist, poet, dramatist, and travel writer, though he resisted affiliation with Britain and preferred to be considered cosmopolitan. ... This page is about negotiations; for the board game, see Diplomacy (game). ...


Chairs

Chairs of the British Council have been:

William George Tyrrell, 1st Baron Tyrrell GCB, GCMG, KCVO (1866 - 1947) was a British diplomat. ... George Ambrose Lloyd, 1st Baron Lloyd, GCSI, KCIE, PC, (1879-February 4, 1941) was a British Conservative politician strongly associated with the Diehard wing of the party. ... Sir Malcolm A. Robertson, Rt Hon Sir, PC, GCMG, KBE was the British Ambassador in Argentina during the 1920s. ... For other persons named David Kelly, see David Kelly (disambiguation). ... Edward Ettingdene Bridges, 1st Baron Bridges, KG, GCB, GCVO, PC, MC (4 August 1892 – 27 August 1969) was a British civil servant. ... Bernard Edward Fergusson, Baron Ballantrae, KT, GCMG, GCVO, DSO, OBE (6 May 1911 – 28 November 1980) was a Brigadier in the British Army, military historian and Governor-General of New Zealand. ... Helena Ann Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws QC (born 12 May 1950) is a Labour member of the House of Lords. ... Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock, PC (born 28 March 1942) is a British politician. ...

Recognition

In 2005, along with the Alliance française, the Società Dante Alighieri, the Goethe-Institut, the Instituto Cervantes and the Instituto Camões, the British Council shared in the Prince of Asturias Award 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. The Alliance française logo The Alliance française (AF) is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to promote French language and culture outside France. ... The Dante Alighieri Society was formed in Italy in July 1889 with the intention of creating a society to promote Italian culture and language around the world, especially among the expatriate Italian community. ... Goethe in der Campagna The Goethe-Institut (GI) is a German non-profit organisation whose mission is to promote German language and culture outside of the German-speaking countries. ... Instituto Cervantes enblem Created by the Spanish government in 1991 the Instituto Cervantes is a worldwide non-profit organisation dedicated to the teaching of Spanish as a second language, as well as the promotion of Spanish and Hispanic American culture throughout non-Spanish-speaking countries. ... Instituto Camões (also in English Camoens Institute or Camões Institute) is an institution created for the promotion of the Portuguese language and culture in the world, the Camões Institute has administrative and patrimonial autonomy, that, under the supervision of the Minister of the Foreign affairses, assures the... The Prince of Asturias Awards (Spanish: Premios Príncipe de Asturias, Asturian: Premios Príncipe dAsturies) is a series of annual prizes given in Spain by the Fundación Príncipe de Asturias to individuals, entities, organizations or others from around the world who make notable achievements in the...


References

  1. ^ Athens library, Hansard 27 June 2007
  2. ^ http://www.britishcouncil.org/serbia-library-newprofile.htm
  3. ^ Neil Kinnock at the Edinburgh Festival of Politics, (from about 36-42 minutes into the streaming video clip and the question/answer from about 62 minutes in)
  4. ^ Lords Hansard text, English language advisory services in Peru were moved first to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil then repatriated back to London HQ. Hansard Column WA130, June 26, 2006
  5. ^ 'Outcry as British Council quits Europe to woo Muslim world' by Helena Smith, Athens The Observer 5 August 2007
  6. ^ The Observer 5 August 2007
  7. ^ West Jerusalem library closure
  8. ^ Gaza library Powerpoint presentation
  9. ^ Lobbying example
  10. ^ Sponsoring Department in Hansard 25 June 2007
  11. ^ Promoting higher education in China
  12. ^ UK India Education and Research Initiative
  13. ^ BAe Systems investigation The Boston Globe 27 June 2007
  14. ^ Feuds and turf wars put Fresh Talent flagship plan in jeopardy The Sunday Herald 30 October 2005
  15. ^ Durrell L (1985) Antrobus Complete, 202pp, Faber & Faber, ISBN 0-571-13603-6.

is the 178th day of the year (179th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... The new Scottish Parliament Building at Holyrood designed by the Catalan architect Enric Miralles and opened in October 2004. ... For other uses, see Politics (disambiguation). ... Streaming media is multimedia that is continuously received by, and normally displayed to, the end-user while it is being delivered by the provider. ... is the 177th day of the year (178th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 217th day of the year (218th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 217th day of the year (218th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 176th day of the year (177th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 178th day of the year (179th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 303rd day of the year (304th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also

Other organisations:

Related topics The Alliance française logo The Alliance française (AF) is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to promote French language and culture outside France. ... The Dante Alighieri Society was formed in Italy in July 1889 with the intention of creating a society to promote Italian culture and language around the world, especially among the exptat Italian community. ... The Estonian Institute is a non-governmental and non-profit organisation aiming to promote Estonian culture abroad. ... Goethe in der Campagna The Goethe-Institut (GI) is a German non-profit organisation whose mission is to promote German language and culture outside of the German-speaking countries. ... Instituto Cervantes enblem Created by the Spanish government in 1991 the Instituto Cervantes is a worldwide non-profit organisation dedicated to the teaching of Spanish as a second language, as well as the promotion of Spanish and Hispanic American culture throughout non-Spanish-speaking countries. ... Instituto Camões (also in English Camoens Institute or Camões Institute) is an institution created for the promotion of the Portuguese language and culture in the world, the Camões Institute has administrative and patrimonial autonomy, that, under the supervision of the Minister of the Foreign affairses, assures the... Logo of the Confucius Institute. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Café Scientifique is a grassroots public science initiative currently running in 42 cities across the United Kingdom and cities in other countries. ... The European Union National Institutes for Culture, (EUNIC), is a partnership of national institutions for culture, engaged beyond their national borders and operating with a degree of autonomy from their governments. ... The Festival of Muslim Cultures, a national celebration of Muslim cultures, begins in January 2006 and continues into July 2007. ... The acronyms Qango and Quango, variously spelt out as QUAsi Non Governmental Organisation, Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation, and Quasi-Autonomous National Government Organisation have been used, notably in the United Kingdom, but also in Australia, Ireland and other countries, to describe a range of organisations to which governments have...

External links

  • British Council official website

  Results from FactBites:
 
British Council - definition of British Council in Encyclopedia (119 words)
The British Council is a partly UK Government-funded cultural relations organisation and a registered charity in the UK.
It aims to build mutually beneficial cultural and educational relationships between people in the UK and in other countries, and increase appreciation of the UK's creative ideas and achievements.
In 2004 the British Council celebrates its 70th anniversary.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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