In the image, a middle-aged woman smiles at the camera. The woman's hair is at the nape level and there are lightings in yellow and purple. There is a  transparent purple box on the woman's right side. It says 'If your path has crossed with the British Council, share your story with us'. There is a logo upper right, which is the British council and the 80th year logo.

The British Council’s 80th Anniversary in Turkey

The British Council has been working in Turkey continuously since 1940, bringing international opportunities to life, every day. 
The whole world is going through a difficult period and we believe that all of us need a reason to be hopeful. 2020 is the 80th anniversary of the British Council in Turkey. We want to celebrate the anniversary of UK-Turkey cultural relations in this challenging year by building on our commitment to mutuality and inclusion through our programmes and by putting our audiences at the heart of what we do. 
We believe that gender equality and women’s empowerment are crucial in creating inclusive, open and prosperous societies. So to celebrate our 80th year in Turkey, we want to find 80 women whose paths have crossed with the British Council in the past 80 years so that we can tell their stories - and share them as widely as possible. 
While staying home to be safe, why not take a journey to the past and dive into your memories… How did your path cross with the British Council? How did the British Council affect you? Did the British Council change your life in some way? Maybe you were a member of our library, a participant in one of our programmes or a project partner, or maybe you took your IELTS test with the British Council in Turkey… 
We believe all voices are precious. If this isn’t you, perhaps you know someone who has crossed paths with us. If so, please spread the word to help us find the women whose lives we’ve touched during our past 80 years in Turkey.
You are at the heart of what we do! And we wish to celebrate many more years together so please don’t forget to #StayHome.
#BirlikteDahaİyiye (TogetherToBeBetter)
#80Yıl80Kadın (80Years80Women)


How can I participate?

While thinking about your story, let’s meet with some of the inspiring women whose paths have crossed with the British Council before.

In the image, there is a girl looking up the camera in an environment reminiscent of the theater. Behind the girl, there are 5 people, 4 male and 1 female, who are sitting scattered and looking upwards laughing. The girl in the middle, she has black hair at shoulder level. she's wearing a black shirt.

Meet Didem Tali! Let's hear from her on how the British Council's Alumni Awards affected her career journey…

''I have been working as a journalist and documentary producer since I finished my master's degree in media and development studies at London School of Economics in 2013. Thanks to my profession, I had the chance to work all over the world. I have produced news and documentaries on human rights and cultures for many leading media organisations such as National Geographic, The New York Times and the BBC. 

In 2019, the British Council deemed me worthy of an award in the ‘Social Impact’ category at the ‘Alumni Awards’ for my efforts. On this occasion, I became more familiar with the British Council. In addition to this award, the British Council's training and grant opportunities has been a great benefit for me to develop myself, my career and leadership skills. 

I made use of the grant opportunity to develop a book I've been working on for a long time and to make new connections in the English publishing industry. Thanks to this, I attended a respectable conference in New York, and I am still receiving editorial support from the best-known publishers to optimize my book.''

Meet Reyhan Güneş! Let's hear from her on what has changed in her career with the British Council's professional development program for English teachers…

“As a teacher, I have never worked with 'Professional Learning Communities' during my professional life. I always tried to create practices that will increase the success of my students with my own means. This situation lasted until my path crossed with the British Council... How? One day, an official document came to my school on the organization of educational trainings to support the professional development and language skills of English teachers. The document mentions a program within the scope of the cooperation between the Ministry of National Education, Directorate General of Teacher Training and Development and the British Council. The teachers to be chosen were obviously going to undertake important tasks. I was lucky and I was chosen as one of them. The trainings and opportunities we received from the British Council were so different that I could not have imagined. In addition to providing four language skills not only for English, it also showed ways to be innovative and creative in the culture of cooperation in education and training. Moreover, and it made me very excited, it gave me the chance to attend the International Conference of English Teachers (IATEFL) conference held every year in the UK. 

The British Council has helped me to connect with my colleagues, whom I will be inspired on a national and international scale.” 

Meet Rümeysa Çamdereli! Let's listen her journey with the British Council from 2017 to present day…

“Our paths crossed with the British Council for the first time during the Next Generation Turkey research they performed in 2017. On behalf of Reçel Blog, I had the chance to take part in the advisory board of the research report with Batuhan Aydagül, Hansın Doğan and Nilay Erdem. Being in the same structure with these names and exchanging ideas around the youth theme was very instructive and inspiring process. Now, not long after our previous meeting, I’m taking part on the advisory board WOW-Women of the World Festival Istanbul on behalf of Havle Women's Association and Foundation for Life with  Özlem Ece, İpek Bozkurt, Asena Günal and Ülker Uncu, where we exchange ideas and have a productive design process. 

For me, all these processes allowed me to see and recognise my own competencies and potential, as well as to be part of the important discussions and sharing in the field. In addition, my visits to London within the scope of these two studies was also an important experience and memory in my life.” 

Meet Prof. Dr. Zülal Balpınar! Let's listen her story and British Council’s support to her career from her mouth…

“Our paths first crossed with the British Council in 1982, when the Anadolu University Faculty of Education was established, thanks to Michael Smith, who was appointed by the institution at the university. 

When Anadolu University Open Education Faculty started its education studies, English course was among the courses that should be prepared according to distance education principles. At that time, we knew that we needed a lot of information and support in language teaching with distance education, which has never been applied in our country before, and has few examples in the world. 

Our search for information and support ended with the help of the British Council. Michael Smith and I attended a three-week distance learning seminar at Brigton Polytechnic, with a British Council scholarship. Again, with the support of the institution, we were able to meet with the producers of the ‘Follow Me’ program prepared by the BBC and our expert friend who has successfully implemented this program in China. We have had a long working process, which includes both the writing of books and the adaptation of television programs. During that busy working period, the British Council was always with us, and they even provided us with our IBM typewriter, which was rare to find at the time so we could write our books in English. 

These programs, which teach English by distance education and are the first in our country, attracted great attention not only from our students but also from the public. The contributions of the British Council in this success and interest cannot be underestimated. In my view, this support is one of the most important projects realized in Turkey.” 

What happens when I send my story?

The 80th anniversary panel will read all the stories to ensure we have representations from different age groups, regions and subjects. We will share your stories on and British Council in Turkey social media accounts on Instagram (@turkeybritishcouncil), on Twitter (@trBritish) or on Facebook (@britishcouncilturkey).

We will contact you through the medium you shared your story. Make sure your account is public and you can receive e-mails from by adding the e-mail address onto your contact list.

80 stories will be chosen, and owners of the stories will be invited join us in a celebration of our work together over the past 80 years. 

80 stories will be announced on 15 September 2020.

External links