The Council I saw was clear that its task was to bring, in this case, women together across international boundaries to share experiences for the mutual benefit of all parties, Britain included. It is a great pity that it is so hard to put a price on the social and political benefits of international learning and exchange.
The Foreign Office exists to sell Britain as politicians want others to see us. The DTI exists to promote what we produce. The British Council's work is different: it is as much about learning from others as marketing our own cultural heritage. We gain respect overseas by presenting ourselves honestly and as a country with something to learn from cultural exchange. From what I saw in China, the British Council understands that very well.
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