The British Council in the Commonwealth

The British Council has offices, libraries, and information centres in thirty-two of the fifty-four countries of the Commonwealth. In creating partnerships through cultural, educational, and technical cooperation, the Council aims to work closely with Commonwealth organisations, and with public, private, and non-governmental bodies in Commonwealth countries, to foster international collaboration in areas important to the Commonwealth and to the UK.

Part of Britain's Commonwealth Partnership-
The UK Year of the Commonwealth 1997
Working with the Commonwealth
13th CCEM Parallel Convention, Botswana
The Commonwealth and Europe
Commonwealth Heads of Goverment Meeting
Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning
Commonwealth Schools Online
Association of Commonwealth Studies

Part of Britain's Commonwealth Partnership - The UK Year of the Commonwealth 1997

As part of the UK's programme with a special focus on the Commonwealth for 1997, the year in which the Commonwealth Heads of Government met in Edinburgh, the British Council has been engaged in a number of events aimed at developing and enhancing Commonwealth co-operation.

- 13th CCEM Parallel Convention, Botswana

For the first time the meeting of Commonwealth Ministers of Education in July 1997 was complemented by a convention including a symposium bringing together 200 participants on the theme of education and technology, an exhibition which enabled sixty companies to demonstrate educational technology and equipment from all over the Commonwealth, and displays and showcases by governments and non-governmental bodies aimed at showing Commonwealth experience and best practice across the education and training spectrum. Organised by the Council and IDP Education Australia, this convention interacted with the Ministers' meeting in Gaborone through a joint Opening Ceremony and a unique panel discussion where a panel of Ministers and representatives of the World Bank, NGOs and the private sector took questions from the combined audience. Disks of the proceedings of the symposium are now available.

- The Commonwealth and Europe: Investment and Trade - Opportunities for Partnership
Click here for the European Networking Homepage: which will take you to 'The European and Commonwealth' link.

This British Council organised conference brought together from across the Commonwealth and the European Union eighty high flyers from both the private and public sectors who are expected to (and in some cases already do) have a critical role in shaping trade and investment structures into the next millennium. They represented the most dynamic sectors in government, the private sector, media and academia. The conference considered the key opportunities and perceived obstacles in the economic relationships between the European Union and the Commonwealth. A brief communiqué of conclusions of the conference was submitted to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and to the Business Forum which preceded it.

- The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

The Commonwealth Heads of Government met in Edinburgh from 24 to 27 October 1997. The Meeting was preceded by a key Commonwealth Business Forum in London. To underline British support for the Commonwealth, for the first time, a series of events ran in the margins of CHOGM. The Royal Commonwealth Society was asked to lead and co-ordinate the overall programme, in collaboration with FCO and Edinburgh City Council. 'The Peoples Commonwealth' was a new concept in the context of CHOGM and it provided a window on British expertise and partnership activities through the Business Forum, a wide ranging series of seminars, and a Commonwealth Centre exhibiting partnership activities between British organisations and Commonwealth countries. The British Council organised or supported a number of these associated events.

Working with the Commonwealth

Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning

To celebrate 10 years of The Commonwealth of Learning (COL), the first Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning will be held in Brunei 1-5 March 1999. The Forum is being co-hosted by COL, the Brunei Ministry of Education and Universiti Brunei Darussalam, and has the theme "Empowerment through Knowledge and Technology". The Forum will examine open learning in a broad range of applications and will showcase what is achievable with vision, concern for the learner, effective teaching and learning, and appropriate application of technology. Agendas ranging from basic literacy, to post-graduate and professional education, non-formal adult and community education, and technical and vocational education will be addressed. Further information is available from The Commonwealth of Learning.

- Commonwealth Schools On-line

A major Information and Communications Technology (ICT) initiative was launched at the British Council Exhibition, 'Eyes on the horizon, feet on the ground', mounted in Edinburgh for CHOGM. One million schoolchildren were e-mailed and invited to e-mail their vision for the Commonwealth and their views on how they feel technology can enhance learning and understanding. The Commonwealth Schools On-Line web-site has received thousands of hits, and a growing number are responding to a questionnaire put together over the net by Mereway School, Northampton and Mater Spei School, Botswana. Partners in this initiative are Interaid, a Reading based NGO, BT and ICL. A summary of the feedback received will be presented to the next CHOGM in South Africa in 1999. It is hoped that this will provide a vision for the Commonwealth in the next millennium that incorporates the collective view of children from all over the Commonwealth.

- For information about Commonwealth Studies visit the Association of Commonwealth Studies




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