In this essay George R. Wilkes – Director of the Religion and Ethics in the Making of War and Peace Project (Relwar), Edinburgh – Sohaib Ashraf – Research Associate at the Religion and Ethics in the Making of War and Peace Project – Muhammed Yassin Hammami – humanitarian worker – and Abdulstaar Kriwi – humanitarian activist – consider the role of the cultural relations organisation in bridging the local and the global; the need not to overlook the smallest detail of any given conflict, while still recognising the power of building links across borders and amplifying the voice of those affected by conflict.

About the Cultural Relations Collection

The Cultural Relations Collection was an essay series exploring research themes from arts and culture, education and the English language in the context of the work of the British Council around the world. Written primarily by early-career researchers, often in collaboration with British Council staff, the Collection examines what is meant by ‘cultural relations’ and how this approach has evolved in theory and practice over time. 

The essays offer concise, accessible and multi-disciplinary introductions to both what the British Council does and how we do it. Collectively, they foreground the benefits of locally-led and people-centred approaches that are grounded in values of mutuality and reciprocity. They also highlight the positive impact on connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide that can be accrued when these approaches are built on long-term, sustained relationships with diverse partners and communities. 

Specific topics addressed through the Collection include peacebuilding, climate change, digital cultural relations, the Covid-19 pandemic, international development and soft power.