Research Coffee Featuring: Gerald Power Ph.D.


Research Coffee is a series of events aimed to be a platform for discussions about publications, projects, and working papers of AAU Faculty as well as AAU students.

The upcoming session planned for Friday, March 19th will be hosted by Dr. Gerald Power, who will be presenting his paper on “Cultural Diplomacy and its Limits: The British Council in the Arab Gulf, 1955-68”. We will also welcome AAU faculty members Ebru Akcasu, Ph.D., and Prof. PhDr. Milada Polišenská, C.Sc. as discussants of the paper.

You can find an abstract of the paper below but to receive the full paper prior to the session please register at the link above.


The historiography of British relations with the Arab Gulf states in the era of the Cold War is dominated by economic, military and political issues. This paper turns the attention to cultural relations through an exploration of the role and activities of the British Council in the region. The historiography tells us that British policymakers faced an extremely delicate problem in the Gulf: that of preserving the largely pro-Western attitudes of the shaikhly regimes while refraining from any obtrusive indication of ‘imperialism’ that would inevitably bring the British image into disrepute and weaken its position. This paper seeks to address how the British Council was envisaged as a supplement to the regular British political presence in the Gulf, and considers the extent to which its educational and cultural activities helped shape local perceptions of Britain and thus aid the British grand design in the region.

These events are open to the public.