His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales visited the new headquarters of the British Council in Stratford, London on 28 October, to learn more about its modern, diverse and digital cultural relations work in the UK and across the globe, with climate change a significant focus of the visit in the lead up to COP26.
The Prince, who is the British Council’s Vice-Patron, met young international climate change scholars, participated in a virtual English lesson with a class of international students from six countries, spoke with pupils in Scotland and Nepal via live link about their suggestions to combat climate change, and heard about the British Council’s work in the arts. He also interacted with British Council staff to hear directly about the impact of the British Council’s work globally, particularly during the pandemic.
The Prince was introduced to participants on the Climate Connection programme, which brings people around the world together to meet the challenges of climate change through arts and culture, education, and the English language. He spoke with four ‘Green Scholars’ – from Egypt, Nigeria, Turkey, and India – who have received scholarships to study climate-related subjects at UK universities, delivered by the British Council as part of the Study UK campaign – GREAT Scholarships for a sustainable future.
The Green Scholars presented the Prince with a copy of the British Council’s Global Youth Letter, which directly addresses policymakers and leaders in relation to young people’s aspirations and recommendations around climate change. The letter is based on research into the views and experiences of 8,000 young people across 23 countries, including those from traditionally overlooked groups such as young people with disabilities, minority groups and indigenous communities. The 8,000 Rising campaign encourages young people to add their voice to the Letter.
These findings have contributed towards COY (UN Conference of Youth) 16’s Youth Statement, which will be formally presented to Minister Alok Sharma MP, COP26 President Designate, at COP26.
Cultural Protection Fund
Since 2016, the Cultural Protection Fund (CPF) – a partnership between British Council and the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport – has awarded £34 million to protect cultural heritage at risk from global challenges, such as conflict and climate change. It has supported projects in 16 countries across the Middle East, North and East Africa.
The Prince spoke with representatives from four CPF projects about their work with local partners and communities to protect heritage, build capacity, and raise awareness, and viewed a selection of related artefacts. This included the model of a traditional boat from Iraq, where valuable boat making skills are being protected by a CPF project led by Safina Projects, and 3D printed panels showing intricate minbar (mosque pulpit) designs from Cairo, which have been documented and protected by a CPF project led by Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation.
You can read here for more information on this visit.