British Council Marks 75th Anniversary Today

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Akinwale Akintunde

The British Council has said it will unveil its exciting programme of events to celebrate 75 years of creating opportunities and making an impact in Nigeria by launching its “Thanks to You” campaign.

The Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, revealed this in a statement yesterday, saying it started operation on June 9, 1944 with the first library, known as British Council House on the Marina in the old exhibition hall, Lagos.

Since then, the statement said the British Council “has changed the lives of millions of Nigerians through our different programmes. We currently operate in over 100 countries globally.”

At the British Council, the statement said, “We have realised that people deserve opportunities that can provide better livelihoods, and that valuable connections can facilitate these opportunities.

“In Nigeria, we do this through our work in education, providing training and capacity building initiatives to people in the Arts, enterprise, society and education sectors.

“We also provide access to global opportunities through our exams, where we provide Nigerians with globally recognized professional and university qualifications right here in Nigeria.

“Every year, we reach out to thousands of students, educators, policymakers, academics, researchers, creatives and entrepreneurs in Nigeria with our work across these sectors,” the statement said.

Quoted in the statement, the Country Director for the British Council, Lucy Pearson said since 1944, the British Council has changed the lives of millions of Nigerians through our different programmes.”

Pearson said, “By celebrating this 75th anniversary, we are celebrating the success of our employees, our partners, our beneficiaries and all who have been a part of this journey thus far. Thanks to you, we are 75.”

A sustained, 12-month

campaign of exciting gala events, community gatherings, TEDx-style talks and

social media activities, both across Nigeria and in the UK, will showcase 75

amazing stories of how the British Council has been a part of people’s lives in

the last 75 years and how these in turn, have positively impacted the lives and

communities of millions of others.

Inspirational examples

will include the likes of, Itoro Eze-Anaba, founder of the remarkable Mirabel

Centre, a first of its kind sexual assault referral facility in Nigeria, it has

provided free forensic medical and counselling services to over 3,000 clients

from different parts of Lagos State.

This followed Itoro’s

British Council-sponsored, educational trip to study Violence Against Women. “I was impressed and

immediately made up my mind to open a centre in Nigeria. The British Council

provided the funding to establish the Mirabel Centre. Without this support, it

would have been really difficult,”

Also, Nwamaka Ogboanna, a

political economist and research analyst, who was a beneficiary of the British

Council’s Future Leaders Connect Programme.

Ogboanna said, “I feel much more empowered and convinced about my long-term ambitions to significantly develop and implement successful industrial policies within Nigeria and across Africa.”

Stephen Oke, a recipient

of a NLNG-British Council Postgraduate Scholarship to the University of Cambridge

in 2014, who is now a top associate with Nigeria’s leading commercial law firm.

Oke said, “The intellectual stimulation of studying at the University of

Cambridge and the privilege of interacting in a cultural convergence of people

from all parts of the world gave me new perspectives that I will forever be

grateful for.”

The council works

with more than 10 million people every year out of offices in Abuja, Kano,

Lagos and Port Harcourt reaching audiences of more than 52 million.

To put the scale of the council’s

activities in Nigeria into perspective, in 2018/2019 alone, 117,352

internationally recognised exams were taken by Nigerians connecting them to

worldwide learning opportunities, which will improve their life

chances. 2,935 teachers have been trained through schools and English

language programmes since 2018.

More than 3,900 students across 26 schools have gained access to an international dimension in their education through the International School’s Award to help them prepare for successful future careers in an increasingly global economy.

Also in 2018, 4,832 artists were provided with empowerment opportunities through training and networking platforms.

As part of the

anniversary celebration campaign, the British Council in Nigeria is inviting

all those whose lives have been transformed or empowered by its work to get

involved in the celebration by sharing their British Council story.