Update on the British Council in Syria
01 March 2012
The British Council recognises the grave seriousness of the current situation in Syria. We believe that people-to-people links, whatever the government-to-government relations, make a powerful and lasting contribution to a more peaceful, tolerant and prosperous world.
So, throughout the unrest that began in March 2011, we have continued working to link young Syrians with the outside world through English, education and the arts.
We work with a range of people across Syria including learners of English, civil society groups and community leaders, artists and cultural leaders, candidates for UK exams and many other students and young people. There is strong demand for our work from the Syrian public, particularly amongst younger people who represent the future of the country.
We have kept the security of our staff, customers and premises under close and constant review. In the last few months - and particularly in recent days - the increase in violence in the country has led us to scale down our activity. We have withdrawn our Director and Deputy Director, both of whom are UK nationals and we have closed our office in Damascus to the public and staff. Our dedicated team of 35 Syrian staff is carrying out work where possible. Our Director will continue to lead our team from Beirut for the foreseeable future.
Notes to editors
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. We work in over 100 countries in the arts, education and English and in 2010/11 we engaged face to face with 30 million people and reached 578 million. We have 6,800 staff worldwide. Our total turnover in 2010/11 was £693 million, of which our grant-in-aid from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was £190 million. The remainder was generated through trading activities such as English language teaching. For every £1 of taxpayer money invested we earn £2.65 in additional income. www.britishcouncil.org