Monday 05 October 2020


DUBAI: The British Council UAE, the UK’s international organisaton for cultural relations and educational opportunities, has appointed Aída Salamanca MBE, as its new Director.

She will lead a 195-strong team in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, working across arts and culture, education and the English language, building relationships between the UK and the UAE.

To welcome her to the new role, Aída met with the British Ambassador to the UAE, Patrick Moody today to discuss British Council’s work and future areas for collaboration. 

The meeting included a tour of the British Council’s Teaching Centre in Dubai and a  visit  to the Etihad Museum’s latest  exhibition  - ‘Photographs in Dialogue’ : UAE—1971—UK’, which explores the historic transition from Trucial States to the establishment of the United Arab Emirates. The exhibition, which is supported by the British Council, includes photographs sourced from the National Portrait Gallery, London, as well as from UAE archives.

Speaking about her appointment, the British Ambassador said: "We’re very pleased to welcome Aída to the UAE. The British Council, as one of our key partners, has been fundamental in strengthening links between the two countries and contributing to the UK’s global soft power and prosperity.

“We look forward to working closely with Aída in launching the next 50 years of the partnership between the UK and the UAE”. 

The British Council have been on the ground in the UAE since 1969, helping to introduce young people to a wide range of cultural and educational opportunities available with the UK. In 2020, they will reach over 275,500 young people through their work in English, Exams and Programmes, with a focus on building UAE’s future skills.

 Aída is the first woman to act as country director for British Council UAE.

She said: “I’m delighted to be joining at such a pivotal moment for both the organisation and the UAE. This is a time for us to think and work differently, delivering more programmes remotely and digitally – with the potential to reach new audiences across the UAE, with a more accessible offer. 

“I’m also especially grateful to have the opportunity to come to a country with such commitment to supporting women's empowerment and I look forward to meeting those who are transforming this country and learn from their experience.”

Ms Salamanca has been working in diplomacy and fostering relations with various shareholders for more than 16 years through the British Council - previously leading operations in Croatia and Slovenia and acting as Deputy Director in Colombia. Throughout she has led major Education projects including curriculum reform, national teacher training programmes, internationalisation of Higher Education and the promotion of Science and innovation links. She was also responsible for the Arts and Education response from the UK to the Colombia Peace Agreements signed in 2016. 

In 2014, she was awarded an MBE Honour by HM The Queen in recognition of her achievements and contribution to the British Council and the UK in Colombia.

The British Council is the UK’s leading cultural relations body. For more information on our work in UAE, visit:

Notes to Editor

For further information please contact: 

Claire McAuley, Senior Communication Manager, Gulf Cluster - T +44 (0) 28 9019 2224 | M +44 (0) 7856524504


About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.