I am delighted to be working in Egypt as Director of the British Council at a time when we are finding unprecedented demand for the work we do and the services we provide. Next year we will be celebrating 80 years in Egypt. Throughout that time we have been working to provide educational opportunities and cultural relations, and create international opportunities for both the people of the UK and Egypt.
I am pleased to say that we are now reaching more and more Egyptians, building connections between our two countries. Thanks to our strong relationships and networks, we work with a wide cross section of people. From the Egyptian government to private and public institutions, our projects have helped to increase the participation of women and girls in their communities; providing training for innovative community projects and offering opportunities to participants to travel to new countries to share experiences, seek inspiration and to interact with their peers.
In the last year 15,000 people attended our activities and exhibitions, and festivals and performances we supported.
Our education programmes help to support a more prosperous Egypt. We build strong, long-term relationships between UK and Egyptian higher education institutions, including the Supreme Council of Universities and Presidents of Egyptian public universities; building skills and capacity through study visits and policy dialogue events.
English, as ever, remains at the core of what we do. We are helping to improve the English skills of millions of Egyptians by supporting reform, managing policy change and inspiring teachers to teach and learners to learn. This year 47,000 students studied in our teaching centres, our highest number on record.
We are also helping to deliver exams to thousands of young people all across the country. I am proud that last year 60,000 exam candidates took more than 130,000 examinations with us; exams which can help open the door to a world of opportunities.
I am delighted that there is growing UK–Egypt collaboration in the area of science and research since the announcement of the UK government’s five-year ‘Newton/Mosharafa Fund,’ an initiative which will see major investment from both countries to develop greater ties in this area.
We remain committed to ensuring that everything we do is shaped by the needs of the people we work with both in the United Kingdom and in Egypt.
Our mission remains as relevant today as when we started, nearly 80 years ago.