Our spokespeople can talk about our work and give expert comment on a range of issues, including:
- The UK's standing in the world
- The importance of foreign languages and international skills for the UK economy
- The value of international students to the UK
- The role of English, education and the arts in international relations.
To arrange an interview, contact the Press team.
Ciarán Devane took up the role of Chief Executive of the British Council in January 2015.
Ciarán was educated at University College Dublin where he gained first-class honours in biochemical engineering. He joined Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) working internationally across several functions of their business. He later joined Gemini Consulting where he led multi-country change programmes for companies such as DuPont, AstraZeneca and Glaxo. He also holds a Masters degree in International Policy and Practice from the George Washington University, Washington DC.
Ciarán joined Macmillan Cancer Support as Chief Executive in May 2007. There he developed the strategy which doubled the size of the charity in terms of income, reach and impact. Ciarán is a trustee of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and is a Non-Executive Director of NHS England and of Social Finance Ltd.
Sir Vernon Ellis
Sir Vernon Ellis is Chair of the British Council, with a background in both business and the arts. Prior to becoming Chair in 2010, he spent all his working life at Accenture, holding major roles including International Chairman. His other past roles include Chairman of the English National Opera and Classical Opera Company, and he remains as President of both. Through his own Foundation, Sir Vernon supports several arts companies, artists and charities. He was knighted for services to music in 2011.
John Worne is the British Council’s Director of Strategy and a regular TV and radio commentator on ‘soft power’ and the UK’s standing in the world. He writes and speaks regularly about the UK on the world stage – including the impact of major events on the UK’s reputation, the importance of languages and international skills for UK young people, and the proven value of English, education and the Arts in building trust and opportunities for the people, cultural and educational institutions and businesses of the UK.
Dr Jo Beall
Jo Beall is Director of Education and Society and on the Executive Board at the British Council. A graduate of the London School of Economics, Jo’s past roles include Professor of Development Studies at the LSE and Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Cape Town. Jo is a specialist on internationalising higher education and international development and a regular speaker at major conferences in these fields. Her work has taken her to Africa, Asia and Latin America, with extensive periods of research in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and South Africa. She has written numerous books and articles on a wide range of topics including governance and civil society, women and development and fragile cities and fragile states.
Graham Sheffield is Director of Arts at the British Council. He is responsible for leading and developing the British Council’s exciting global arts programme - and his extensive international work has taken him to countries including Brazil, South Africa, Qatar and Burma. Graham is a graduate of Edinburgh University and has held senior roles at the BBC, South Bank Centre and as Artistic Director at the Barbican. He has written for outlets including the Independent and Huffington Post. Media appearances include BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions? and leading a Barbican team to victory on University Challenge.
We also have many other experts, based in 110 countries worldwide. Please contact our Press Office team to discuss how we can help you.