John Worne
John Worne is Director of Strategy at the British Council – the UK’s international cultural relations body. The organisation works in more than 100 countries worldwide, building trust and opportunity for the UK through education, the English language and the arts.

Entries by John Worne

Kids, Eat Your Verts - Languages Are Good For You

(1) Comments | Posted September 3, 2014 | 6:36 AM

As we dumped a bucket over my daughter's head on Monday, we noticed the only thing that's squeezing the Ice Bucket Challenge out of social media timelines this week...

Across the country, proud parents have been posting pictures of their newly uniformed kids, posing with a mixture of excitement...

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Culture Is a Contact Sport

(0) Comments | Posted August 6, 2014 | 7:00 PM

Last week I saw the terrific Commonwealth Games international cultural programme wrapped around the 2014 Glasgow Games. At the same time - thanks to the University of Edinburgh - I met with political, sports and academic leaders to discuss what big sporting events can do for your country.

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Whatever the Weather, Culture's Our Biggest Draw

(0) Comments | Posted July 28, 2014 | 7:00 PM

Once again we're in the middle of a heatwave - which isn't all that unusual for a British summer (cast your mind back to our sun-drenched, rose-tinted Olympic summer of 2012 as the sun shines on Glasgow 2014).

But the rest of the world just doesn't believe it.

In the...

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Shakespeare: A Hit, A Very Palpable Hit

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 11:21 AM

Last week we learned that Shakespeare still bestrides the world's stage, when the British Council asked young adults in five countries to name one person they associate with contemporary UK culture.

And the Bard wasn't a narrow winner either, but came out overwhelmingly on top. Like Cleopatra, 'age...

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WWI - Remember the World as Well as the War

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2014 | 6:00 PM

Think of the First World War and what are the words that come to mind?

For British people the answer is 'Trenches', 'Death', 'Loss of Life', 'Battle of the Somme', our new research shows.

Knowledge of the conflict, that began 100 years ago this summer, is dominated by the events...

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The Languages for the UK's Future

(21) Comments | Posted November 20, 2013 | 6:00 PM

It's a toughie. Famously tongue-tied in foreign languages, and notwithstanding the 200+ languages widely spoken in London and Manchester alone, the fact is the UK needs more people speaking more languages.

The British Council's new Languages for the Future report looks at the 10 languages the UK...

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Good News: Tokyo Just Got Closer

(0) Comments | Posted November 8, 2013 | 6:28 AM

Which two cities are more connected than you'd think? London and Paris or New York?

Nope, the surprise winner when you look at Loughborough University's impressively-named Information-rich Visualisation of Dense Geographical Networks figure 1c is... London and Tokyo.

Not obvious. But when you go, you see...

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Jiàoyù , Jiàoyù, Jiàoyù

(1) Comments | Posted October 15, 2013 | 7:00 PM

As George Osborne laudably drums up business in Beijing, I'm just back from my own visit there - and I bring tidings to gladden the hearts of the people of the UK.

We have a booming export industry which is taking China by storm and returning billions to the...

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London, Paris, New York: Some Things You Just Can't Bottle

(0) Comments | Posted September 5, 2013 | 7:00 PM

This week I was a panellist at the launch event for the inaugural Ipsos MORI Top Cities survey - a worldwide poll that crowned London as the most popular city in Europe, but forced us to tip our bowler hats to New York as the global winner.


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Please 'Elp Me, I Am Briteesh...

(77) Comments | Posted August 13, 2013 | 7:00 PM

Steve McClaren and Joey Barton both have reasons to be cheerful today.

Having both been ridiculed for putting on a fake foreign accent to address reporters in the Netherlands and France respectively, they can take some comfort from knowing that they are not alone. Far from it, in...

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London 2012 - One Year On...

(6) Comments | Posted July 21, 2013 | 7:00 PM

It's a bit 'last year' in 2013 to talk up 2012 but, as we approach the first anniversary of the London Olympics, there's good evidence that 2012 has changed what the world thinks about us.

As our ambassador to China recently said: "The Olympic opening ceremony and the UK...

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Why Soft Power Is Hard for Governments

(4) Comments | Posted June 18, 2013 | 7:00 PM

In today's 24/7 news environment, world governments have it hard. In my experience - working at the centre of UK government in the Cabinet Office a few years back - you have to know your position on absolutely everything and be able to articulate it in a second. And the...

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If Young Scientists Ruled The World...

(1) Comments | Posted June 11, 2013 | 7:00 PM

What a place we'd live in if young scientists ruled the world. Judging the FameLab finals at the Cheltenham Science Festival, I had the privilege of listening to ten young scientists drawn from 27 nations encapsulate a topic in just three minutes.

We learnt the origins of...

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UK Culture Means Business

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2013 | 7:00 PM

Culture reaches the parts other things can't - Culture Secretary Maria Miller said as much in a recent speech at the British Museum.

She argued: "It allows us to build international relationships forging a foundation for the trade deals of tomorrow; it cultivates the creativity which underpins...

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Dollars, Booze and Hashtags: The Global Past, Present and Future of English

(6) Comments | Posted April 3, 2013 | 7:00 PM

As the 'mother country' we can be a bit sniffy about English in the UK. Especially when it comes to 'foreign' influences - from Americanisms to gangsta and technobabble. After all, it's called the Queen's English for a reason.

But it's time to let go of the idea that English...

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Science's Greatest Discovery: It's Okay to Be Wrong

(6) Comments | Posted March 25, 2013 | 7:00 PM

I'm just back from CERN - home, among other things, to the biggest physics experiment on Earth - the Large Hadron Collider - and the invention of the internet by our own Tim Berners Lee.

It's quite a place. Much like a campus university; a jumble of blocks...

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Horseplay Is a Small Price to Pay for Art

(6) Comments | Posted March 14, 2013 | 7:00 PM

An interesting social and artistic experiment has begun outside the British Council on The Mall in London. The artist Mark Wallinger has created a beautiful white horse - symbol of Olde Englande before it was even England (probably when it was Britannicus or just 'those pretty green isles'...

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Avoiding Cultural Chalk and Cheese in the World of Business

(3) Comments | Posted March 4, 2013 | 6:00 PM

If an international life has taught me anything it's that people are more different than the same. It's true at home, abroad, in business, in government and in NGOs. If you've ever been the only native speaker of English in a room or found your cultural references missing the mark,...

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China: Don't Let the Opportunities Get Lost in Translation

(17) Comments | Posted February 3, 2013 | 6:00 PM

Xin Nian Kuai Le, Gong Xi Fa Cai!

If you didn't understand that, you've just missed out on the chance to make friends this week. And you're not alone.

The Mandarin Chinese language is becoming more and more important for the UK because, quite simply, China is becoming more and...

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Want More for Less, Davos Man? Our World Is Your Oyster

(1) Comments | Posted January 23, 2013 | 6:00 PM

As the global elite don snow boots for Davos, those of us tramping through the slush at home will wonder 'what's Davos got to do with me?' I say two things: 1) the UK has always been a great trading nation and, 2) the UK is a modern day cultural...

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