Barbara Wickham OBE is the Director of the British Council in India. Barbara joined the India team in 2019 from Bangladesh where she led the British Council operation for over four years. During this time, she firmly established the British Council as a strategic partner for the Government of Bangladesh, working hand in hand on its education reform agendas and sitting on the National Advisory Board for Impact Investment alongside representatives from the UN and World Bank. She benefitted more than 15 million young people by putting them and the skills they need to be successful at the heart of British Council programmes.
In the arts, Barbara oversaw the production of A Different Romeo and Juliet featuring an entire cast of actors with disabilities led by esteemed UK theatre director Jenny Sealey and the Graeae theatre company. The play was made into a film screened across Bangladesh and was the subject of a BBC documentary. It led to a follow-on international production of The Tempest involving actors from Bangladesh, the UK, Japan and Brazil to be staged at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
As a committed environmentalist, she’s proud to have established a carbon neutral operation in Bangladesh through a mangrove rehabilitation scheme and would like to achieve the same goal for our India operation. Barbara is also British Council Strategic Lead for Child Protection across South Asia and is committed to ensuring that all children that we work with across all our programmes are safe from harm.
Barbara has worked across the globe: Middle East, Europe, East Asia, Latin America and Africa but has spent the longest part of her career in South Asia in Nepal, Pakistan and most recently Bangladesh. She studied history and applied linguistics and speaks Spanish and Mandarin. She was appointed OBE in the 2017 New Year Honours List for Services to Cultural Relations between the UK and Bangladesh and the UK and Pakistan.
No stranger to the region but not that familiar with India, she’s looking forward to working with partners in both India and the UK to strengthen both the people to people and institutional links between the two countries.