Martin Davidson, just appointed director-general of the British Council, has enjoyed a rapid rise to the top
Martin Davidson has promoted British culture and the English language in half of the world's continents. In April, he will represent the UK across the globe as the new director-general of the British Council.
The St Andrews University English literature graduate was an administrator for the Hong Kong Government and a weekend pilot in the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force. He said that at the age of 24 he was mesmerised by East Asia and was determined to live and work abroad. Four years later, he left to pursue cultural diplomacy at the British Council and fast-tracked his way to the top.
In the space of 22 years he has become director of the British Council in China, then director for East Asia and the Americas, then Europe, Americas and Middle East and then, in September last year, he was appointed deputy director-general.
Colleagues say it is his enthusiasm, energy and love for innovation that have impressed his counterparts abroad and at home.
Mr Davidson said: "The British Council's mission of building trust between the UK and peoples and cultures across the world is more relevant than ever. We talk about the young people who are alienated and those who are questioning values, and it seems to me that building trust between the UK and other countries is absolutely fundamental.
"I want to see education stay absolutely at the heart of what we do. I'm particularly interested in working with the education sector."