The view from abroad
As Others See Us RADIO Radio Four Scheduled for Monday 31 December
How does the rest of the world see Great Britain? As the country’s place in the world comes under scrutiny in the wake of the Brexit vote, Neil MacGregor visits five countries – Germany, India, Egypt, Nigeria and Canada – to assess how leading political, business and cultural figures in these nations perceive us.
History is intrinsic to the discussions that MacGregor, former director of the British Museum, has as he meets individuals such as Wole Soyinka, the first African Nobel Laureate for Literature; Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs; and Shobana Kamineni, first female president of the Confederation of Indian Industries.
Some of the memories they share – of reading Charles Dickens or watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus – are positive, but these are citizens of countries where British influence hasn’t always been benign. “We found a quirky but extremely well-informed mix of affection and admiration, irritation and bewilderment,” says MacGregor of his interviewees’ attitudes to Britain.
Neil MacGregor in conversation with Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel. His new series explores how other countries view Britain and its history