Wednesday 23 April 2014

The British Council has used UN World English Language Day to celebrate the benefits of multilingualism.

UN World English Language Day is an annual celebration of the English Language  – one of the official languages of the UN.

In an article British Council Regional Director, Adrian Chadwick OBE, spoke of the educational and career opportunities offered by having English as a second language, to people living in the Middle East and North Africa, commenting;

“Governments of the region are increasingly turning to English as a valuable contributor to their economic development and the creation of highly skilled workforce.

“As the region’s largest provider of English teaching and exams, the British Council is working hard to support and enable increasing numbers of young people to learn English, gain qualifications and skills, and expand their career and educational opportunities.”

In the MENA region the British Council has taught over 195,000 students of English since 2010. Last year it delivered over 420,000 English exams to individual learners and the corporate sector. 

Online, the British Council LearnEnglish MENA Facebook page has 2.5 million followers, who are using British Council resources to improve their English, and connect with an online community of fellow learners. 

It is estimated that there are over 50 million people learning English in the region, taught by over 430,000 teachers – with English becoming a desirable language have. 

Martin Hope British Council, Director Qatar added;

“English is the language of international commerce and trade - those that have English, have a skill that differentiates them in the eyes of a potential employer.

“In today’s interconnected world, being able to speak a global language such as English is extremely valuable for an individual.

“As a global language, English helps to build better understanding and trust between cultures; bridging the language gap, allowing people to express ideas, share experiences and connect with each other.”

Notes to Editor

About UN World English Language Day

English Language Day at the UN is celebrated on 23 April, the date traditionally observed as the birthday of William Shakespeare. The Day is the result of a 2010 initiative by the Department of Public Information, establishing language days for each of the Organization's six official languages. The purpose of the UN's language days is to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization.

Language Days at the UN aim to entertain as well as inform, with the goal of increasing awareness and respect for the history, culture and achievements of each of the six working languages among the UN community.


About the British Council

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.

Our 7000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.

For more information, please visit: You can also keep in touch with the British Council through and