The British Council has relocated its office in Sylhet and opened brand-new office premises at a new location in Arcadia Tower, Darshan Deuri, Amberkhana. With great pomp and show, the inauguration ceremony took place on 30 October 2018 in the presence of the city’s most important government officials. Ariful Haq Chowdhury, Mayor, Sylhet City Corporation attended the ceremony as the chief guest, while Mohammad Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury, Sylhet Divisional Commissioner was present as a special guest. Additionally, James Cronin, Member of the British Council Trustee Board and Barbara Wickham, Director Bangladesh, British Council welcomed the guests at the inauguration.
The evening kicked off with a traditional Baul music performance to celebrate the musical flavours of Sylhet. Speeches from distinguished guests followed the performance. Mr Ariful Haq Chowdhury, Mayor, Sylhet City Corporation in his remarks said, “I am delighted that the British Council now has its own office in Sylhet. With the state-of-the-art facilities and improved services, I hope that the people of Sylhet will benefit more. I am sure that the stronger presence of the British Council in Sylhet will strengthen our relationship between the people in Sylhet and the UK.”
James Cronin, Member, British Council Trustee Board offers a deeper insight into the position of Sylhet in the wider British Council network. He says, “With the world becoming increasingly global and converging at a breakneck rate, an increasing number of people in Sylhet are choosing UK qualifications to equip them for life in western technical and knowledge-intensive societies. Sylhet is now one of the richest cities in Bangladesh with the area's economy largely built on the UK Sylheti diaspora; as a result, people are generally aware of the value that UK qualifications hold. It is also worth mentioning that Sylhet is now the third biggest market in the world for Secured English Language Testing (SELT), which is a UK visa requirement for Bangladeshi students.”
Barbara Wickham, Director Bangladesh, British Council said, “The new office aims to offer enhanced support and state of the art facilities for Sylhet based audience. We have an aim to expand our activities in other cities and across Bangladesh.’’
The chief guest and hosts formally inaugurated the office by cutting a ceremonial ribbon at the end of the speeches.
The new office has a state-of-the-art look to reinforce the presence of the British Council in Sylhet. The corridors are panelled with a year-marked timeline to demonstrate the journey of the organisation in Bangladesh over the last 65 years. Colourful photos from projects across the different areas of the British Council’s work cover the walls of the office to show-and-tell visitors the stories of our impact. Modern and innovating office equipment are installed to provide new and improved services to the people walking in every day.
Since its establishment in Sylhet in 2004, the British Council has always strived to offer quality services in education and foster cultural relations with the people of Sylhet. Apart from delivering over 7000 exams every year and providing support in examination services, the British Council also have a range of impactful social action projects in Sylhet that are being jointly developed and delivered by the British High Commission, UKAID and the European Union.
The British Council also works with the Government of Bangladesh and many local and UK partner organisations to deliver services and development projects in education, social action and the arts across Bangladesh. In partnership with such organisations, they have brought improvements in teaching and learning, in school and university management, in the attainment of a range of UK qualifications, in community development, in the provision of access to quality educational information through libraries, and in the teaching of English and professional skills training.