'Sport proved an excellent way to make friends and stimulate discussion.' Photo: British Council.

'Sport proved an excellent way to make friends and stimulate discussion.' Photo: British Council.

'Sport proved an excellent way to make friends and stimulate discussion.' Photo: British Council.

Iraq changed a lot in the last two years. But Joe Easdown's fondness of the place from when he got involved with the British Council's Sport in Iraq programme during his final year of school in 2012 is still the same. As we celebrate International Education Week, Joe explains how the experience improved him.

'I became a great believer in the future after learning English.' Students at Al-Azhar English Training Center. Photo: British Council.

'I became a great believer in the future after learning English.' Students at Al-Azhar English Training Center. Photo: British Council.

'I became a great believer in the future after learning English.' Students at Al-Azhar English Training Center. Photo: British Council.

As Al-Azhar English Training Center, which was co-founded by the British Council at Al-Azhar University in Egypt, starts a new academic year, Mohammed Gamal, a former student at the centre, tells us how learning English has helped him study at top institutions and develop new points of view. Mohammed gave a talk to students at the university on this subject earlier this week.

'Though the script may look like loopy squiggles to an untrained eye, learning to read and write isn't as huge a challenge as most people expect.' (Photo of Arabic calligraphy by Mark under Creative Commons licence)

'Though the script may look like loopy squiggles to an untrained eye, learning to read and write isn't as huge a challenge as most people expect.' (Photo of Arabic calligraphy by Mark under Creative Commons licence)

'Though the script may look like loopy squiggles to an untrained eye, learning to read and write isn't as huge a challenge as most people expect.' (Photo of Arabic calligraphy by Mark under Creative Commons licence)

In the ninth in our weekly series on the ten most important languages for the UK’s future, as identified by the British Council’s Languages for the Future report, we turn to the fifth most commonly spoken language in the world, Arabic. Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp is an Arabic translator and teacher and co-founder of Babel Babies, a company promoting language-learning

The young Palestinian filmmakers spent hours interviewing people on the streets of Ramallah (Photo by tgraham under Creative Commons licence).

The young Palestinian filmmakers spent hours interviewing people on the streets of Ramallah (Photo by tgraham under Creative Commons licence).

The young Palestinian filmmakers spent hours interviewing people on the streets of Ramallah (Photo by tgraham under Creative Commons licence).

What's it like to live in the West Bank? A series of short films produced by young Palestinians gives a rare glimpse into everyday life in Ramallah. Suha Khuffash of the British Council explains.

Mohamed Yehia and the football team he has helped create in the village of Alsawhga, Egypt. Photo British Council.

'I had the idea of making something useful for the kids in my village.' Mohamed Yehia and football team in the village of Alsawhga, Egypt. Photo by Mohamed Yehia, used with permission.

Mohamed Yehia and the football team he has helped create in the village of Alsawhga, Egypt. Photo British Council.

What can children learn from being part of a team? Premier Skills football coach Mohamed Yehia has led a community-focused football project to provide equipment, kits and training to more than a hundred children in the village of Alsawhga, Egypt. He explains how football can bring about positive change in children lives.