Tuesday 22 October 2013

Leaders from the UK and across North Africa will come together at the British Council’s second Hammamet Conference in Tunisia from 13 – 17 November 2013, to discuss challenges ranging from building trust to reforming education.

The conference, which made its debut last year, is a major new British Council conference series connecting senior leaders from the UK with counterparts from the countries of North Africa, providing a unique opportunity to bring together leading figures from politics, civil society, academia, the media, business and the arts.

The Conference will provide a platform for participants to discuss this year’s key themes: Trust and accountability between citizens and leaders; Difference, diversity and dialogue; Active citizenship; Reform of the education system, skills and entrepreneurship; Arts, culture and innovation.

The conference will be co-chaired by Lord Lothian and Dr Atia Lawgali.

Lord Lothian is a member of the UK House of Lords.  He is the first Chair of the Global Strategy Forum and served in the last Conservative Government as Peace Process Minister in Northern Ireland. He has also held the portfolios of Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Foreign Secretary, Shadow Defence Secretary and Chairman of the Conservative Party.

Dr Atia Lawgali of Libya is the current Chairman of the National Commission on Civic Education and served as a Deputy Minister of Culture and Civil Society in the Libyan transitional government.  During the revolution, he was a member of the executive office of the National Transitional Council.

Last year’s conference was a great success and made a significant contribution to fostering greater trust and understanding between senior leaders in all of the participating countries.  In addition, the British Council has been using the outcomes of the policy discussions to further develop its programmes in the region such as Young Arab Voices, and Young Arab Analysts Network International (YAANI). It has also worked with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations to launch a new Young Leader’s Exchange programme between the UK and the countries of North Africa.

Participants from last year have also gone on to do substantial work relating to last year’s themes. This will be shared via the new Hammamet blog, Twitter feed and Facebook page in the in the coming weeks.

John Dubber, Head of External Relations at the British Council and responsible for the UK aspects of the conference, said:

“The Hammamet Conference series forms an increasingly important bridge between the UK and North Africa and fosters dialogue amongst counterparts that we hope will become friends and colleagues. The conference is especially important as it increases understanding of a very important region and helps leaders to share and learn from each other in their work to meet the leadership challenges in each of the participating countries.”

Nigel Bellingham, British Council Country Director in Tunisia and head of the North Africa team organising the conference, said:

“The conference series has become the flagship event for building relationships and understanding between the UK and the countries of North Africa. It was an honour to host the conference last year and I look forward to warmly welcoming this year’s delegates, new and returning, to Hammamet.”  

Anyone can participate by joining the conversation on the conference’s Twitter and Facebook accounts and look out for blog posts on the British Council’s Voices blog from participants past and present.


Media contacts

UK/international Media:

Mark Moulding – Senior Press Officer

mark.moulding@britishcouncil.org ; +44 (0)207 389 4889

Media in the Middle East and North Africa:

Aline Kiwan - Regional Marketing and Communications Manager

aline.kiwan@lb.britishcouncil.org ; +961 (0) 1 428900 246

Notes to Editor

Follow the conference on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HammametConf

The Conference will be held in accordance with Chatham House rules therefore content may be reported without attribution.   Exceptions to this include a number of open sessions:

- Thursday 14 November -  all day

- Friday 15 November am - this includes the formal opening of the conference, keynote addresses and presentation of research from official sponsors, Gallup

- Saturday 17 November pm - closing statements 

About the British Council

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 more than 100 countries and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year teaching English, sharing the Arts and in education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A publically-funded grant-in-aid provides less than a quarter of our turnover which last year was £781m.  The rest we earn from English teaching, UK exams and services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with other institutions, brands and companies.  All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and creates prosperity and security for the UK and the countries we work in all around the world.

For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through http://twitter.com/britishcouncil