The Diversity Unit is a core team of two people, supported by an established network of global diversity leads and working groups. The Unit sets and drives the strategic direction of equailty, diversity, and inclusion across the organisation's offices in over 110 countries.

Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion - Dr. Fiona Bartels-Ellis, OBE

Dr Fiona Bartels-Ellis OBE is Global Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. In this role she sets and drives the strategic direction of diversity across the organisation’s offices in 110 countries and territories with an emphasis on applied approach leveraging key tools. This and the UK’s approach are frequently shared with a wide range of external international contacts and stakeholders including government ministries, NGOs and the private sector.

Fiona’s qualifications include certificates in mediation and a post graduate Certificate in Higher Education, diplomas in advanced social work and counselling, an M.Phil in Social Policy and a Doctorate in Professional Studies.

In 2002 Fiona received a Mainstreaming Diversity Award from the European Federation of Black Women Business Owners, in June 2005 an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and in 2009 the ORC Worldwide Equality and Diversity Champions Award. She was named in the 2014, 2015 and 2017 Power Lists of Britain’s most influential black people and the 2015 Women to Watch USA Profiles in Diversity list.

Deputy Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion - Jane Franklin

Jane is Deputy Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the British Council. She has worked in a range of teams within the British Council since 1995, joining the Diversity Unit in 2001.

Her responsibilities include helping to set and drive the organisation’s global strategy around EDI, as well as the design and delivery of tools and initiatives to support mainstreaming across the organisation.

She has a Masters in Promoting Equality and Managing Diversity, with a thesis based on research to identify best practice approaches to diversity management in international organisations and has co-authored a publication on Equality Monitoring in an International Setting. Jane is also an ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) trained mediator and a trustee of Burnage Food Bank.

Global Diversity Leads

Our Global Diversity Leads support management teams across all British Council offices to build Equality, Diversity and Inclusion into all aspects of our work. They have the unique expertise and understanding of their own cultures to help reflect the issues facing our staff around the world and at the same time are committed to our approach to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and ensure our work is relevant across different cultures and contexts. They are a crucial network for the Diversity Unit, enabling us to work in a fluid and dynamic manner across the globe. 

Disability Advisory Panel

Our Disability Advisory Panel is a group of external specialists with significant personal and professional experience of different aspects of disability. They provide advice and guidance and take the role of ‘critical friends’ in supporting us to better promote disability equality across the work we do. We draw upon their expertise to inform organisational best practice as well as provide input on programmes and projects.