Tuesday 07 April 2015


Wednesday, 8 April 2015
18.30 – 21.00 

The BBC and the British Council host a public debate in Sydney to discuss the relevance and legacy of the First World War today

To mark the centenary of World War One, the BBC World Service and the British Council are hosting a series of debates around the world to explore the war’s lasting global legacy. The debates are free and open to the public.

World War One has a special meaning for Australia. A century ago troops from the fledgling nation sailed thousands of miles to engage in their first widespread foreign conflict.

Anzac Day has become Australia’s day to remember and is often referred to as ‘the birth of the nation’.  One hundred years after Australian and New Zealand troops landed at Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli peninsula, the day is more prominent than ever. While Anzac Day is widely commemorated, there are those that say it focusses on some aspects of Australian life to the detriment of others.

How did the Australian experience of the war differ from that of other nations? And what role has the 'legend of Anzac' played in the hundred year history of Australia since the first Anzac Day?

For this special debate from Sydney, the BBC’s Razia Iqbal will be joined by Marilyn Lake from the University of Melbourne and Bruce Scates of Monash University.  Theatre director and playwright, Wesley Enoch will present a specially commissioned essay on the cultural impact of the war.  

Helen O’Neil, Country Director, British Council Australia says:  "The British Council is proud to work with the BBC to better understand the enduring legacy of World War One at this time of reflection.  We hope to share Australian views and stories with audiences in all the many countries affected by World War 1.  We also thank the British High Commission for its support  for The war that changed the world.”

Steve Titherington, Executive Editor, BBC World Service says: “All around the world we have found that the centenary of the world's first truly global war has triggered debate, discussion and some real and enduring sense of both glory and pain. It is absolutely key for us to share Australia and New Zealand's story which has lived on through the decades.”


A radio recording of The war that changed the world: will be broadcast across the world by the BBC World Service on Saturday 18 April at 1800 GMT and Sunday 19 April at 1100 GMT.

After closing, journalists who are covering the event are invited to a 10 minute exclusive access to the panel and presenter to ask their special question.

Press contact BBC: 

Press contact BC Australia: Vivienne.skinner@britishcouncil.org.au

Having launched in Bosnia in June 2014 and concluding in Jordan in June 2015, the event in Sydney marks the 9th in a series of debates entitled The War that Changed the World. The debates are also hosted by Allan Little, Amanda Vickery, and Audrey Brown and include Germany, the UK, Turkey, India, France, Tanzania and the USA.

Audiences can register to join the debate here



About the British Council

The British Council is the United Kingdom's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations