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British council in Nigeria marks 75th anniversary


Lucy Pearson

The British Council has rolled out drums to mark 75 years in Nigeria by launching its “Thanks to You” campaign.On 09 June 1944, the first library, known as British Council House, opened on the Marina in the old Exhibition hall, Lagos. Since then, the British Council has changed the lives of millions of Nigerians through different programmes.

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.

Lucy Pearson, Nigeria Country Director for the British Council said, “at the British Council, 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, creative and entrepreneurs in Nigeria with our work across these sectors.


“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.”

Inspirational examples will include the likes of, Itoro Eze-Anaba, founder of the remarkable Mirabel Centre, a first of its kind sexual assault referral facilityin Nigeria,it has provided free forensic medical and counseling 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. Itoro said, “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, 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 one of Nigeria’s leading commercial law firm, affirmed that 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 him a new perspectives that he will forever be grateful for.

The British 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 British 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.


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