Aspen Institute Awards British Council CEO Martin Davidson First-Ever Aspen Cultural Diplomacy Award

November 18, 2008  • Institute Contributor

Contact: Carrie Annand

Aspen Institute Awards British Council CEO Martin Davidson First-Ever Aspen Cultural Diplomacy Award
Davidson Visits Washington and Los Angeles This Week

Washington, DC – November 18, 2008 – The Aspen Institute awarded British Council CEO Martin Davidson the first-ever Aspen Cultural Diplomacy Award during the Aspen Cultural Diplomacy Forum in Paris, France, on November 15. The award recognizes excellence, lifetime achievement and innovation in the field of cultural diplomacy.

“The British Council has been a world leader in strengthening international relationships through the power of vibrant arts and culture for almost 75 years. Through support of education, the arts and sciences, and through the promotion of direct educational and cultural exchanges, its highly innovative programs have contributed immeasurably to greater mutual understanding of the common values of all people. It is a most deserving choice for the first annual Aspen Institute award in cultural diplomacy, sponsored by our Global Initiative on Arts, Culture, and Society,” says Elliot Gerson, Aspen Institute Executive Vice President, Policy and Public Programs, International Partners.

Martin Davidson has served the British Council for nearly 25 years. Starting his career with the British Council in China in 1984, Mr. Davidson has held various posts in the British Council’s Geographical Directorate with responsibilities that have included South East Europe, in a particularly troubled time in the region’s history, the Middle East, East Asia and the Americas.

Under Martin Davidson’s leadership, the British Council has started programs like Transatlantic Network 2020, which unites young, rising leaders across many sectors on both sides of the Atlantic to address global issues. International Climate Champions, begun last year, is a program that selects high school age environmentalists from 13 countries to communicate about climate change in their communities. Last year, the National Theatre of Scotland’s play about the Iraq War, “Black Watch,” toured the United States to sold-out crowds and critical acclaim from the New York Times and New York Magazine among other outlets.

“It is a great honor for the leader of the British Council to be recognized by such a prestigious and internationally recognized institution as The Aspen Institute,” said Sharon Memis, director of British Council USA. “We look forward to continuing our cultural diplomacy work in the United States and in a establishing a productive partnership with The Aspen Institute.”

Martin Davidson is in the United States this week. Today, he will address Gov. Schwarzenegger’s global climate change summit in Los Angeles on the role of youth in climate change. Mr. Davidson will then travel to Washington to visit the British Council’s USA headquarters.

For interviews, please contact Carrie Annand (contact information above). Mr. Davidson is available to speak on the Aspen Institute Award and Forum or on cultural relations as it relates to foreign policy.

About the Aspen Institute: The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC, Aspen, CO, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and has an international network of partners. For more information, visit

About the British Council: The British Council is the United Kingdom’s international non-profit organization for cultural relations and education opportunities. In the US, we increase recognition of the wide range of learning opportunities available in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and facilitate educational cooperation between the US and UK.

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