Education and Culture in the UK's relationships with Europe
The British Council APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) subcommittee is launching an inquiry on the role that education and arts can play in strengthening and maintaining the UK's relationships with Europe and in supporting soft power. The British Council is the UK's international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities and believes that by creating friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries, trust is built and international relations are strengthened.
What the APPG Inquiry aims to achieve
The inquiry aims to address how the British Council can work with and alongside those working to strengthen relations through education and culture. It will aim to inform how the British Council and other organisations can contribute towards UK and European soft power in order to ensure positive relationships moving forward, looking towards an optimistic future with its neighbours.
As a group of parliamentarians with an interest in the work of the British Council, the APPG is keen to bring together experts, including the British Council who are working in education and culture in the UK and Europe. The Inquiry will essentially aim to gather evidence of work being done to strengthen bilateral ties with Europe. It will identify risks and opportunities for work in and with the region as well as identify what actions could be taken in the future to ensure strong soft power efforts continue. Key areas that the Inquiry aims to explore are:
1. Details of programmes and projects currently in place in the UK and Europe that are contributing towards bilateral relationships
2. Gaps in this work and how they might be filled
3. Case studies of successful collaboration and work in the region
Countries investing in more cultural and educational ties around the world can help to build international trust and understanding, support mutual respect and mutually beneficial ties between states and help to foster international peace, security and prosperity.
Currently, the UK is one of the world's leading soft power. However, there has been significant increase in levels of investment in cultural institutes and soft power globally. Vast sums are being invested in soft power by China, Russia and other countries seeking to influence global discourse and shape events. Whilst the UK is considering its place in the world post-Brexit, it is important that the UK remains a part of this effort.
The deadline has now passed, though we may still be able to accept evidence.