Friday 27 May 2022


Update on Ukraine 

We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and are appalled by the human tragedy that is unfolding in this war. 

We have worked in Ukraine for the past 30 years and strongly believe it’s more important than ever to build positive connections, mutual understanding and trust between people. Our success and impact is down to the hard work, dedication and commitment of our staff and this still remains the case today. We’re doing everything we can to support our exceptional team in Ukraine.  

Whilst we have temporarily suspended face-to-face activities in Ukraine for the safety and well-being of staff, customers and partners, we have resumed some online activities as we’re determined to keep providing cultural and educational opportunities.

We are committed to supporting our customers with their English language learning journey and we have: 

  • started free online speaking clubs and resumed online teaching for children
  • offered adult learners the opportunity to either learn online by transferring to a course in a neighbouring country or welcomed students wanting to learn face-to-face in another country 
  • created an online hub of free resources for adults and young learners
  • resumed online teaching for young learners. 

We have made IELTS (the world’s most popular English language test, sometimes required for working, studying and living in other countries) as accessible as possible and are offering financial discounts to Ukrainians:

We are:  

  • helping test-takers from Ukraine to transfer without any additional charges to test sessions within the EU
  • offering a 50 per cent discount until the end of June on the standard IELTS test fee for anyone who can provide evidence of their refugee status and are displaced in EU countries. 

We welcomed back English language teachers on to the Online Teacher Community, a peer-led digital platform and a core part of our English Programme work in the region.

Through the work of our Active Citizens partners across Ukraine, we have been able to provide humanitarian support to internally displaced people, organise evacuations and buy sleeping bags, blankets, food, medicine and other essentials in Lutsk, Kropyvnytskyi and Nizhyn.

We have been working in partnership with the Ukrainian Institute to plan a Season of Culture between the UK and Ukraine since 2019 but we had to temporarily pause when the war began. We have adapted our programme from running UK cultural activities in Ukraine to providing a platform for Ukrainian creatives to build relationships in the UK and beyond. The British Council has always been committed to supporting the creative and cultural sectors in Ukraine but now there’s an even greater need.

Ukrainian creatives will be able to showcase their work at prestigious arts events such as the Sheffield Doc Fest, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and the Edinburgh International Film Festival during the Season. Our long-term ambition is that UK/Ukraine Season enables UK arts organisations and creatives to collaborate on projects with Ukraine and for UK audiences to learn more about the rich Ukrainian culture.  

We hope for a swift return to peace and to resume all areas of our work when it is safe to do so. 

Visit the UK-Ukraine Season website

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We support peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. We do this through our work in arts and culture, education and the English language.  We work with people in over 200 countries and territories and are on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2021-22 we reached 650 million people.

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