In January 2017, the British Council was awarded a new contract to deliver a three year project to promote culture and sports in the Gulf region through a wide ranging portfolio of projects.
The project, which will specifically target 14-30 year olds, commenced in January 2017 and is part of a portfolio of programmes called Next Generation Gulf.
Promoting culture and sports is a priority issue for governments in the Gulf as they seek to diversify their economy and provide new attractions for citizens and tourists. Sixty per cent of the population in Gulf Cooperation Council is under 30 and the number of young people is likely to keep growing until 2020. Therefore, all governments in the region are currently implementing strategic visions that put a large emphasis on developing youth.
The overall goal of the new project is to position the UK as the Gulf’s natural partner in culture and sport in three ways.
It will create new opportunities to develop mutual understanding and respect through sharing and appreciating Gulf and UK culture, history and heritage with each other, and developing long-term arts and education relationships between institutions.
It will also position the UK as a world leader in the cultural industries and a strong partner for future cultural relations opportunities in the Gulf’s expanding arts, culture and heritage sectors
Finally, the project will share the UK’s values through sport. This includes women’s participation and leadership, youth engagement, fair play, team working, volunteering, inclusion and diversity, health and well-being.
The activities have been designed to appeal principally to young people through schools, universities, youth clubs and other civil society organisations. The aim is to reach tens of thousands of people face-to-face through the programme, but the impact is intended to extend to millions more through a targeted PR and digital campaign.
At this stage, the Youth Sports Trust has just completed an initial scoping visit in Bahrain and Qatar and will soon be touring the rest of the Gulf to scope opportunities for the UK in other countries.
The programme is funded by the Cabinet Office’s Integrated Activity Fund and worth £6.3 million. For more information, get in touch with Rehana Mughal.