The British Council has produced a new publication entitled, English Across the Fracture Lines, edited by Elizabeth J. Erling. The publication is free to download and can be found online at the following link:

According to the British Council website, “This volume takes stock of contexts around the globe in which English is being used and taught as a means of alleviating conflict and promoting security, stability and peace. The book provides new insights into the various communicative needs in such situations, and shows the impact and potential of programmes promoting English as a means of reconciliation, resilience, environmental sustainability and intercultural understanding. It offers a space for reflection on how English language teaching can nurture learners’ wellbeing by equipping them with a language in which not only injustice and pain are articulated and expressed to the wider international community, but also forgiveness and empathy. In addition, it provides recommendations for how all of us involved in the English language teaching (ELT) profession can facilitate making connections and promote participation in global dialogues through English, keeping hope alive in challenging times.

TIRF Trustee John Knagg, who is the Global Head of English for Education Systems at the British Council, wrote the Foreword for English Across the Fracture Lines. It is being shared in its entirety below.

John Knagg

“The British Council works for a safer, more inclusive and more prosperous world. We do this through programmes which connect people internationally and which we hope contribute to increased intercultural understanding and mutual respect between peoples. Language plays a critical part in international communication, both in terms of the languages chosen to communicate with, and the words and tone of voice that we choose. The languages that we speak contribute a great deal to our sense of personal identity, and politicians use language policy to forge national identities. Looking at peoples around the world, we see that multilingualism is the norm rather than the exception and that people use different languages in different domains and for different purposes. Social cohesion is fostered by accepting and encouraging such multilingualism, and in particular by allowing and helping people to use the languages that they want to use. Language and language policy can be used to resolve conflict and to increase social cohesion, and it can be used for the opposite effect, to divide, to exclude, and even to incite violence. This book focuses on the positive potential of language and of language learning and teaching in a variety of different and difficult contexts.”

“The British Council has a particular remit to develop a wider knowledge of English in the world and we work with individuals, institutions and governments to that end in a global context where English has come to assume a role as a language of international communication in an increasing number of contexts and domains. In helping to develop this wider knowledge of English, including giving access to that knowledge to wider and less advantaged groups, we must always remember that the role of English is to add to a person’s linguistic competence, and not to replace nor to relegate the languages they already have.”

“National foreign policies are often articulated in terms of increasing prosperity and security in both the home nation and the wider world. The acquisition of competence in English as a means to access international communication and opportunities is often seen as a way of increasing individual economic prosperity. In this book, however, we wanted to look at the contribution English and the teaching of English can make to security, safety, peace and international understanding. We wanted to look at security in its widest sense, not just the use of English in the avoidance of war or violent conflict, but also its potential to contribute to intercultural understanding and social cohesion. We also wanted to include the potential of language learning to develop the resilience of individuals in difficult contexts and to develop skills such as tolerance and forgiveness that contribute to healthy societies.”

“I would like to thank our editor Beth Erling and the contributors to this book for allowing us to fulfil our objectives through a series of inspiring practical case studies which encompass both the use of English and the potential of English language teaching and learning, and which cover an impressive range of contexts from all over the world – we are confident that there will be something new for every reader. We hope that these stories can motivate others to use languages and language learning to create a better, more secure international future for all of us.”