Barbara Wickham, Director British Council India
Barbara Wickham, Director British Council India

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 4 years. During this time her main achievements include establishing the British Council as a strategic partner for the Government of Bangladesh’s aspirations for quality education for all - across primary, secondary and tertiary; building on the considerable legacy of our library at the heart of Dhaka University and transforming this into a 21st century cultural centre for the people of the city and beyond with the introduction of digital resources as well as using our expertise to support the transformation of the public library network across the country into modern, thriving community resource centres.

Barbara has had a lifelong passion for education and English having started her career as an English language teacher in Cairo and, by putting young people, and the skills that they need to be successful, at the heart of our programme, Barbara enabled considerable numbers of young Bangladeshis to improve both their own lives and those of their communities. 

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 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. 

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.

Barbara has worked across the globe from the Middle East, Europe, East Asia and Latin America to 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.