Alan Gemmell

Alan Gemmell OBE has been Director British Council India since April 2016.

Alan was the British Council’s Director Israel since November 2012 running a £10m stem cell research fund working with world-leading medical research foundations like the British Heart Foundation and Parkinson’s UK.

He launched the UK’s first multi-lateral research fund in the
Middle East, a platform for Israeli, Palestinian and British
scientists to work together to tackle critical water challenges in
the region, and a PhD programme for Palestinian scientists to study at Israeli universities — supporting a new generation of scientists to work together across borders.

In 2015, Alan commissioned mixthecity an interactive digital art work with the BBC and Arts Council of England featuring Israeli YouTube artist Kutiman and British digital agency Flying Object. Over 500,000 users in 190 countries have taken part.

Partnering with the United Nations and the British Film Institute, Alan created fiveFilms4freedom, the world’s first global, online LGBT Film Festival. In 2016 fiveFilms4freedom became the world’s biggest online LGBT Film Festival with 1.5m film views and a total social media reach of 140m people.

In 2016 fiveFilms4freedom published a Global List of 33 inspiring people from around the world promoting freedom and equality. The 2016 List included Indian film-maker Sridhar Rangayan and actor and director Manish Gandhi.

Alan has worked in Mexico and Brazil. He joined the British Council in 2008 to head its Government Relations. Alan spent five years in the centre of the UK Government working on: 1. counter-terrorism and the crisis response to domestic and international terror plots; 2. developing the economic migration strands of the UK’s points-based migration system; and 3. as Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary of the Home Office Sir John Gieve.

Before joining the civil service Alan established the Scottish Youth Parliament. He studied law at Glasgow University and piano and trombone at the Junior School of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Scottish Conservatoire).

Alan was appointed OBE in the 2016 New Year Honours List for services to arts and science.