Seb Coe, Chair of LOCOG and International Inspiration Ambassador David Beckham in Athens for the handover of the Olympic Torch inspiring young people during a school visit.
The British Council’s programme for the London 2012 Games touched the lives of people all over the world, building connections and lasting partnerships with the UK, in support of our cultural relations objectives. Drawing on our global network, the British Council’s programme directly engaged people in 133 countries through a range of Cultural, Educational and English language projects related to the Games.
We worked directly with international artists and arts organisations through our cultural programmes, with young people and schools through our educational programmes and with teachers and learners of English through our English language work.
British Council offices around the world found a range of innovative and creative ways of supporting the core programme and reaching out to young people in their countries. Working with local partners including British embassies and high commissions, British Council offices worldwide promoted the Games through a range of activities including cultural performances, English language workshops, exhibitions, educational activities and on-line campaigns.
There were also initiatives that involved a range of different countries. This year the theme of the British Council’s annual Global Virtual Enterprise Challenge was ‘If the Olympic and Paralympic Games were to take place in your country, what business would you develop?’ Teams from Uzbekistan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, South Africa, Bangladesh and Pakistan were invited to enter the competition by submitting a short presentation. Three students from South Africa won the competition. It is estimated that over 80,000 people became aware of the challenge through Facebook, competition entries were viewed over 12,000 times on YouTube, and over 5,000 visitors cast a vote to choose the winning film.
The below examples provide an indication of how the British Council globally engaged young people in activities that enabled them to feel part of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In this way, the British Council helped not only to promote the values of the Games but also helped to enhance UK’s international reputation.