The British Council is a British organisation specialising in international cultural and educational opportunities. It works in over 100 countries: promoting a wider knowledge of the United Kingdom and the English language; encouraging cultural, scientific, technological and educational co-operation with the United Kingdom.

The British Council is governed by a Royal Charter. It is also a public corporation and an executive non departmental public body (NDPB), sponsored by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The History:

  • 1934: British Foreign Office officials created the “British Committee for Relations with Other Countries” to support English education abroad, promote British culture and fight the rise of fascism. The name quickly became British Council for Relations with Other Countries.
  • 1936: The organisation’s name was officially shortened to the British Council.
  • 1938: The British Council opens its first four offices in  Bucharest (Romania), Cairo (Egypt), Lisbon (Portugal) and Warsaw (Poland), the offices in Portugal are currently the oldest in continuous operation in the world.
  • 1940: King George VI granted the British Council a Royal Charter for promoting “a wider knowledge of [the United Kingdom] and the English language abroad and developing closer cultural relations between [the UK] and other countries”.
  • 1942: The British Council undertook a promotion of British culture overseas.
  • 1944: In August, after the liberation of Paris, Austin Gill was sent by the council to reestablish the Paris office.

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