British Council

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The British Council "is the UK's public diplomacy and cultural organisation." They note that: "We work in 100 countries, in arts, education, governance, and science." [1]

"The British Council was founded as an organ of international propaganda. During the late 1920s an influential group of civil servants became convinced that ‘British’ values of parliamentary democracy could be subsumed by the rising tide of fascism. Their response was the British Committee for Relations with Other Countries, which became the British Council. Particular Council initiatives included the teaching of English, but political messages always came along with the language tuition...
"During the Cold War the British Council maintained its propaganda value and developed an important double function. It provided a point of contact with western ideas in the non-aligned world and, when thaws permitted, the Eastern Bloc. More than this, the British Council provided a view of the West distinct from that presented by the United States and its equivalent operation: the United States Information Agency; building a sense of the diversity of western culture.
"There can be little doubt that the British Council facilitated the post-war emergence of English as an international language, or that its activities have aided the wider objectives of British foreign policy. The Council helped to ensure a cultural place for Britain in the modern world beyond that justified by its economic or political power: it has been a central organ of what the American scholar Joseph Nye Jr. has called ‘soft power.’ This said, however the Council has seldom attracted adequate resources or respect from policy makers, beside the occasional nod towards the Council being ‘good for trade’." [2]

Counterpoint "is the cultural relations think-tank of the British Council."

Official Historian

"Philip M. Taylor is Professor of International Communications at the University of Leeds, UK. He was the first historian to be allowed into the archives of the British Council." [3]

Advisory Committees

Examples of Projects Funded



Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


External links

  • Nicholas J Cull, "Propaganda?", British Council, Accessed December 2006.