Could you brief our readers regarding the British Council’s activities in the Kurdistan Region?
The British Council is the United Kingdom’s official cultural organization. Our purpose is to create international opportunities for the peoples of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq we have been working for many years and opened an office in Erbil in 2009. Our main areas of work are in English language teaching, Education and the Arts.

What are your plans and objectives for 2016?
In 2016 we have an exciting program of activities, including supporting the Ministry of Education to improve English Language teaching by providing training in “English for Teachers” as well as workshops in methodology, we will be launching a global publication based on research in Kurdistan, entitled “English medium instruction in Iraq Kurdistan”, presenting the perspectives of lecturers in Kurdistan universities.

We will be launching a global publication based on research in Kurdistan “English medium instruction in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq” perspectives from lecturers in Kurdistan universities.

We have contracted a consultant on Refugee Education to advise us on how best we can support Kurdistan in building resilience through English teaching for IDPs and Syrian refugees in the region. In February another consultant will be advising MHE on an English preparatory year program at Charmo University. We have a program of work with schools called “Connecting Classrooms” and we will be launching a major EU project working with schools in Iraq, including in KRI. 2016 is the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth so we are running the “Shakespeare Lives” program, including a live theatre performance in Erbil in April, led by the world famous Globe Theatre from London among other activities.

Are Kurdish students showing significant interest in studying in the UK? What are your plans to increase more awareness?
Yes, Kurdish students greatly value studying in the UK and it is a popular choice for students in Kurdistan. We will continue to support UK universities in their campaigns to promote their courses in the UK. We have an exams center in Erbil for the IELTS test which is a requirement for all students going to the UK to study.

You have recently signed an agreement with Sulaimani Polytechnic University to deliver online English courses. Could you give us more information regarding this partnership, and also your cooperation with other Universities in the Kurdistan Region?
We passionately believe that the future of learning in Higher Education is digital and we have offered to partner with all universities in the Kurdistan Region on our Learn English Connect courses. Learn English Connect is an exciting and innovative blended learning course which enables university students to study a British Council English course at their usual place of study. The Sulaimani Polytechnic University is the first in Kurdistan to sign this partnership with us.?