The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. As an organisation, it has been building a close relationship and understanding between the people of the United Kingdom and Iraq since 1953, changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. In spite of the violence that has plagued this extraordinary country over the past 30 years, relations between the UK and Iraq remain strong. The breadth and variety of projects delivered over the last 80 years is truly impressive and it is a great privilege for me to lead the British Council’s teams in Baghdad, Erbil and Basra as they continue this strong tradition. Our most recent success story was the Active Citizens programme which reached over 10,000 people who became involved in the projects across Baghdad, Anbar, Basra, Erbil, Dehuk, Sulaimaniyah, and Mosul. The campaign “I am an Iraqi Woman, so I am …” won the British Council’s global competition.
The British Council’s scope of work has been further increased and includes newly liberated areas such as Mosul and Anbar. The British Council has taken responsibility for implementing programs in fields that are highly important across Iraq. Through partnership with Iraqi and international organisations such as UNESCO and the European Union, we run large-scale vocational reform programmes, aimed at better equipping Iraqi youth for a future where they can prosper and contribute to Iraq’s economic and social development. Through our DFID funded Connecting Classrooms and International Schools Award, we promote internationalism among young people by recognising and rewarding schools in Iraq that build an international dimension into the teaching-learning process.
Our own Language for Resilience programme builds English language and core skills across Iraq’s youth, and the HIWAR programmes build and promote national reconciliation and peace between different religions and beliefs.
Our exams centres facilitate Iraq’s access to English Language, Professional and Schools exams. With centres currently in Baghdad, Erbil, Sulimaniyah and Duhook, we are also hoping to open centres in the south of Iraq. Future plans also include the expansion of English Language teaching.
We are serious about our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy within the British Council, and seek, through our work, to engage with all sectors of society. Our programmes are designed to reach women, people with disability, people of all age groups and all other minorities present in Iraq. Our work with children is always designed and managed with their protection and safeguarding in mind. Of particular interest is the recently launched capacity-building project in Primary and Secondary schools which focuses on supporting access to high quality education for disabled children and girls living in rural areas.
I look forward to working with you towards these objectives.
Dr. Victoria Lindsay,
Country Director, British Council Iraq