Now British Diplomats Based Overseas Lack Language Skills!

Charles Crawford, a British Diplomat who was based in Belgrade, Sarajevo and Warsaw during his career, has written an article in The Telegraph highlighting the distinct lack of language skills in British Diplomats based overseas. What he calls ‘the most vital of all inter-cultural skills’ – learning languages – was practically obliterated by the previous UK government.  One of the legacies of the lack of encouragement to learn languages in the UK is that there are now very few British Diplomats who speak a high level of the native language of the country they work in.

Crawford goes on to say that language learning in the UK has been systematically scaled back due to cost cutting and political policies, to a point where learning languages is at the point of collapsing within the education sector as well as in the Diplomatic Sector. Crawford highlights a few instances in his article when speaking a language fluently can really help diplomatic situations as well as aid British businesses to enter local markets.

‘Whoever you are, it’s vital to speak the international language of courtesy’ he says. Crawford speaks Polish, Russian, Afrikaans and Serbo-Croat.

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