The British Council was founded to create a friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and the wider world. We call this work cultural relations.
We work in more than 100 countries, connecting millions of people with the United Kingdom through programmes and services in the English language, the arts, education and society. We believe these are the most effective means of engaging with others, and we have been doing this work since 1934.
Our work in English aims to bring high-quality language materials to every learner and teacher who wants them. In developing and post-conflict countries, we teach English and train teachers through radio, web and TV broadcasts. We offer more than three million UK examinations worldwide, helping people gain access to trusted qualifications to support their career and study prospects.
Our work in education and society helps transform national education systems, builds more inclusive and open societies and increases young people’s opportunities. We encourage international students to come and study in the UK, and British students to experience life abroad. We bring schools around the world together, so young people and teachers from different countries can learn from each other.
Our work in the arts involves the very best British and international artistic talent. We help increase audiences for international work in the UK and for UK work globally. We bring artists together and support the development of skills and policy in the arts and creative industries. Through this work, we ensure that culture in its broadest sense plays a vital role in connecting with and understanding each other.
In these ways, the British Council builds links between UK people and institutions and those around the world, helping to create trust and lay foundations for prosperity and security around the world.
Read more about our work in our annual reports.