This paper aims to discuss the role of British Council in conducting cultural diplomacy for UK. The analysis would be done by closely looking at the historical highlights and achievements of British Council…
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Cultural diplomacy is imperative for states in order to achieve opportunities and broader prospects of business, education etc. from different parts of the world. It will not be incorrect to state that cultural diplomacy is as important for a country as its foreign policy. It is due to the fact that both maintain peaceful international relationship of a respective country with other countries in terms of politics, economics, education etc. British Council is one of the renowned cultural diplomacy tools of United Kingdom that has had a prestigious history of marinating peaceful relationship of UK with other countries. This paper aims to discuss the role of British Council in conducting cultural diplomacy for UK. The analysis would be done by closely looking at the historical highlights and achievements of British Council. Furthermore, its significance would also be studied in the paper within the context of its foreign policy.
British Council is referred to the international cultural body of United Kingdom that was initiated in order to represent UK’s culture in different parts of the world. British Council is basically an independent council which is public in its scope. It should be noted that British Council is closely working with government. The role of government in administrating British Council is in terms of selecting countries where cultural diplomatic activities can be undertaken (Taylor, Cultural Diplomacy and the British Council:). The goals and missions of British Council have common agenda of conducting cultural diplomacy for UK in international world order to develop a positive image of UK (Ager).
British Council is also considered as an intermediary of foreign policy department of United Kingdom as its concept was discussed and passed at the foreign diplomatic organization of UK. British Council was initiated at the time when many other cultural organizations from France and counterparts of Europe were actually becoming victorious in conducting cultural diplomacy across the globe. It can be said that British Council was initiated as an inspired project from the existing cultural organizations of French and Germans in late 1920s (Hecht and Donfried). In actual terms, British Council was initiated in 1934 in order to introduce different countries with Britain’s standard of education and its culture. The core goals of representing education and cultural standing of Britain were achieved by organizing expedition tasks, concerts, art exhibitions, tutorials and lectures etc (Hecht and Donfried). The primary focus of British Council in the initial stages was to give coverage to the Middle Eastern countries and underdeveloped countries of Europe where much assistance for education was needed during 1950s (Thomas). The working process of British Council was majorly indirect in its initial stages until it started to operate in its own offices. Earlier, a number of consulates were being worked through by British Council which relatively slowed down its working mechanism. Obviously, it was a very crucial stage for British Council to begin operating from its own offices in different locations of the world (Levermore and Budd). It was for this reason that the organization collected information regarding different communities of the world at the first place to give preference to location. After getting an augment idea through research regarding different communities, British Council resumed its operation through offices opened abroad. In this series, the first office of British Council was opened at Egypt. It should be noted that the working criteria of British Council got complicated as international politics was heading towards World War II (Levermore and Budd). A great deal of barriers was noted in the working process of British Council as World War II led in the closure of most of its offices in Middle East and Mediterranean countries. It should be not
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