Welcome to the British Council Libya.
When I was a student studying Arabic at Manchester University the first Arabs I met and came to know where from Libya. They showed me photographs of their country and I was astonished to see the spectacular Roman ruins of Leptis Magna and Sabrata and the beautiful green hills of Shahhat, such a contrast to the sandy deserts that I had imagined Libya to be.
When I visited the Arab World myself I soon discovered its rich cultural heritage and magnificent natural beauty and hoped that one day I would be able to see Libya with my own eyes. So how ironic it is that after many years working in the Middle East I have been appointed the Country Director of the British Council in Libya but am unable to enter the country for the time being.
Nevertheless I am extremely proud and pleased to be given this opportunity. Libya is a remarkable country with a long and vibrant history. In my very short time in the role I have met an impressive range of people who have charmed and inspired me through the work they do and I am very much looking forward to working with more of you in the future.
It is clear that Libya at the moment faces many challenges and there are difficulties to overcome but I hope that we will continue to work together. Through working together our projects and programmes in arts and culture and education we will foster stronger links between the peoples of our two countries for it is the purpose of the British Council to grow friendly knowledge and understanding between countries.
Today we are proud to continue that tradition of cultural and educational relations with the people of Libya. A great many Libyans have learned English in our centre, some have undertaken courses of study in the UK and others have taken part in the arts and training events that we have organised.
2016 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the first British Council office in Libya. I hope that our cooperation may continue and I look forward very much to seeing the wonders of Libya with my own eyes.
Tony Calderbank, British Council Director, Libya