Connecting the UK to the world and the world to the UK, the British Council is the UK's international cultural relations body.
In an inter-dependent, turbulent world we believe that creating opportunities for people to understand each other better, work together more and learn from one another is crucial to building secure, more prosperous and sustainable futures for us all.
Our activities - whether in the arts, science, sport, English teaching, climate change or education - nurture greater trust and understanding between different countries and cultures. They also build strong international links to and from Britain, opening doors for the UK onto the rest of the world and for the world back to the UK.
Our work gives people - both in Britain and across the hundred-plus countries we work in - opportunities to learn, share and connect worldwide.
Millions of people each year learn English, find out more about British culture and come to study in the UK through the British Council. Many more share their ideas and experiences with others across the world through teaching, as part of academic and cultural links, or through community-building activities. Thousands connect with something bigger, joining networks to develop skills and understanding together in areas like school-linking, climate change, science or entrepreneurism.
We have created 2,700 school links between UK classrooms and other countries, connecting more than a million pupils worldwide.
We teach English to more than 350,000 students in our teaching centres worldwide. Over 10 million learners of English use our free online resources.
We help bring 450,000 foreign students to the UK, which generates £8.5 billion for the British economy and can forge life-long links back to the UK. Through Erasmus, 10,000 UK students get to study or work across the EU.
Our libraries in Burma attract more than 250,000 visits a year and 60,000 people visited our information centres in Zimbabwe last year.
In India, we are training 750,000 English teachers to help the government provide essential skills to millions of young people living in poverty. We are working with the Iraqi government to rebuild their country's educational infrastructure.
Through International Inspiration, we are working with UNICEF and UK Sport to deliver the UK's legacy programme from the 2012 Olympic Games. Over a million children are currently taking part in activities aimed at improving physical education in 20 countries.
900,000 people visited the UK Pavillion at the Venice Biennale international art exhibition, where we were showcasing British talent.
We are supporting the work of 1000 International Climate Champions (young campaigners), in over 60 countries, raising awareness and understanding of climate change and giving them access to international leaders.
At the British Council, we have been working in cultural relations - or what we also refer to as people-to-people diplomacy - for 75 years. In other countries, where this kind of work is conducted by government departments, it is sometimes referred to as cultural diplomacy and has more recently also been described as 'smart power'.
Global events of recent years - coupled with the growing trend, especially online, for people to trust peers they've never met before over governments, businesses and institutions - reinforce our belief that the idea of cultural relations between people worldwide has come of age; this work really can change lives and the world we live in for the better.
The people-to-people links of cultural relations build the trust and understanding and support the international networks and joint cooperation needed to tackle some of the global challenges facing us all from economic crises to conflict and climate change.
Cultural relations can help us find ways of living together, as global citizens, for a better future for all.