FaceOf: Sir Ciaran Devane, chief executive of the British Council

Sir Ciaran Devane
Updated 05 February 2019

FaceOf: Sir Ciaran Devane, chief executive of the British Council

  • The British Council promotes a wider knowledge of the UK and the English language

Sir Ciaran Devane is the chief executive of the British Council, the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities. He has been serving in this position since January 2015. 

The British Council promotes a wider knowledge of the UK and the English language by encouraging cultural, scientific, technological and educational cooperation with the UK in over 100 countries.

Previously, he was the non-executive director of NHS England in Leeds, the UK between 2012 and 2015. 

Devane served as chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support from 2007 to 2014. During his tenure, he transformed the scale and impact of the charity. Consequently, he led Macmillan to be the UK’s “Brand of the Year” in 2014. And in 2015, Devane received a knighthood for his services to cancer patients.

In September 2018, British Health Minister Simon Harris announced Devane as the first chairperson of the new board of the Irish health service, the Health Service Executive. 

He started his career as an engineer and manager for Imperial Chemical Industries before becoming a management consultant, mostly with Gemini Consulting. He specialized in complex change programs with companies such as AstraZeneca and Rolls Royce.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemical engineering from University College, Dublin. He obtained a master’s in international policy and practices from George Washington University, Washington, DC, and a degree of doctor of science (honoris causa) from University College Dublin. 

In a previous interview with Arab News at the Creative Futures Forum in Riyadh, Devane said that the British Council wanted to broaden the horizons of young Saudis by adding art to their education.

He said the council wants to give young people in the Kingdom different opportunities and turn STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, math) into STEAM with the introduction of art.

Devane praised Vision 2030, saying: “What is great about the approach is that it is focusing not only on the creative cultural side but also the technical and infrastructure side. For the creative sector to be sustainable you need both.”


Saudi Education Ministry launches training program

Updated 6 min 55 sec ago

Saudi Education Ministry launches training program

  • The five-day program is aimed at people interested in research and studies on education policies

RIYADH: The Saudi Education Ministry has launched a training program titled “Effective reform foundations for education policies: Research and policymaking,” presented by the Education Policy Research Center in cooperation with the World Bank. 
The five-day program, taking place on Dec. 9-13, is aimed at people interested in research and studies on education policies.
The program’s topics include managing an effective education system, supporting teachers, promoting concepts and means to finance education, building foundations for early childhood education, and strengthening students’ evaluation and curriculums. 
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Bidyawi, the ministry’s undersecretary for planning and development, inaugurated the program.
He said it aims to introduce trainees to the most important issues of education policies to qualify them as researchers in the field, thus contributing to building capacities in the field of improving educational policies and decision-making.
He also shed light on the partnership between the ministry and the World Bank, which aims to implement programs to develop the education system in line with the Saudi leadership’s aspirations and ambitions.