10. Mai 2021 18:00
Paul Smith, Director, British Council Germany
In his talk, Paul Smith will focus on how the cultural, educational and professional ties that deeply bind our two countries have been somewhat buffeted by EU Exit but remain far too embedded to be seriously damaged and that they are, in fact, the ties and relationships that matter much more than politics , economics and trade. It is a reassertion, on behalf of the UK cultural, education and professional sectors, to the championing of Europe and, in particular, the most vibrant UK/German relations. However, this is not easy and there are a number of issues which still challenge this, otherwise rhetorical ambition, e.g. how will the new Turing Scheme work after the UK exits Erasmus+ and how the arts will return to bilateral mobility with new work permit/visa et al requirements.
To be followed by a questions session with Rupert Strachwitz, Vice Chairman, Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft.
Paul Smith has been Director of the British Council in Germany and Cluster Lead for Northwest Europe since March 2020. Born in 1956, he studied at King Edward’s School Birmingham and then at Queens‘ College Cambridge. From 1978 to 1980 he lectured in literature at St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, and then pursued doctoral studies in Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University also working as a tutor for BA honours students.
He joined the British Council in 1983 and was posted to Kano and Lagos (Nigeria), Burma, Chile, Germany and Bangladesh and then as Director of the British Council in New Zealand and in West India (Mumbai). From 2005-2010 he was Director of the British Council in Egypt and Cluster Lead for North Africa, from 2010-2012 Director of the British Council in Afghanistan and Cultural Counsellor at the British Embassy in Kabul and from 2012-2016 Director of the British Council in the USA and Cultural Counsellor to the British Embassy in Washington DC. From 2016-2020 he was Director of the British Council in Indonesia. Whilst Director Germany he was also, from March to June 2021, Director Netherlands. In the UK he has held the posts of Director Drama and Dance (1987-1989) and Director Arts (1999-2000).
He was awarded the OBE in 1999. His interests include history, international cultural relations and all the arts especially drama. He has directed plays, particularly Shakespeare, in various countries and has published numerous articles in academic texts.