International House was honoured to be invited to this keynote British Council event discussing Cultural Relations Response to the War in Ukraine. Beccy attended to represent the IH family.
It was a predominantly an in person event with over 100 delegates. Representing the UK were languages education (International House and English UK), and representatives from universities, charities, the Arts Councils, the Foreign Office, the Department for Culture, Cheltenham Literary Festivals, the British Council and others.
We were honoured to be joined by visitors from Ukraine, who travelled specially for the event, and who represented the Office of the President, Ukrainian Ministry of Culture, the Ukrainian Embassy to the UK, NGOs working in Ukraine, schools, the Ukraine State Agency for Arts and Arts Education, Mystetsky Arsenal, IATEFL Ukraine, universities and others.
We were welcomed by the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska via a video link, who shared her view of the importance of culture and education. Some heartwrenching personal stories from some guests echoed the stories that we have heard from our own IH family in Ukraine.
In special interest groups we discussed how important it is to continue to recognise the professionals we deal with, whether teachers, writers, arists or filmmakers, as just that – still professionals. As far as humanly possible they are all continuing to work to create a future Ukraine to be proud of. It was notable that all different professional disciplines were creating strong communities of practice.
The trauma that has been endured by the whole population, and which continues to be faced, was not overlooked. Children, teachers, parents and their families, have been displaced, have lost homes, and have lost loved ones.
Considering this, the optimism of the Ukraine delegation to start working now to create a strong cultural identify for the Ukraine of the future was inspiring.
All photo credits thanks to British Council.