Watch the annual lecture http://vimeo.com/21477023 Listen to a BBC interview with Ben recorded before the annual lecture

“A lot of people there don’t really seem to trust us.” This is what a colleague said to me after a visit to the South East of Turkey. By “us” he meant the UK and the West.

Last year when I joined the English-language centre at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, I thought it was just that – a centre for teaching English. As a student, I didn't expect it would be my window to the world.

As part of a recent partnership project between the British Council and social enterprise Offscreen Expeditions, six 18-21 year-olds from the UK travelled to Pakistan to explore the country behind the headlines. The Offscreen Expeditions website posts a new video from the Journey to Pakistan every Monday. This week's episode takes the young people to Mirpur. One of

I tried not to have too many preconceptions before coming to Afghanistan, but this was difficult considering the news tends to focus on the poverty there, the instability of the country, or how many British soldiers have been casualties of insurgent actions.