Wednesday 15 February 2017

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. We do this by making a positive contribution to the UK and the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

The British Council as a part of its cultural relations and work to provide a platform for women and girls in South Asia is working with the Southbank Centre and WOW - Women of the World festival. Previously the British Council worked with WOW Festival in Karachi in May 2016.

WOW Kathmandu is happening for the first time on 18 February 2017 at the Nepal Administrative Staff College, Lalitpur. The festival will be convened by Jude Kelly CBE, founder of WOW and Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre, in partnership with the British Council and local curators. It is a one day festival and starts at 11:00 AM and runs until 8:00 PM and is free and open to everyone.

Jude Kelly CBE shares her thoughts on why she founded the festival and why the festival is appropriate for Nepal.

“When I founded WOW I wanted to start a new conversation that could include girls and women, boys and men regardless of educational background, political persuasion or field of interest. I really wanted to say that if you are women, or if you know a woman, this festival can celebrate your history and challenge any obstacles that are being experienced in the world. It was important to me to create the spirit of celebration as that allows people to feel optimistic, and optimism produces energy, stamina and determination. I had no idea that WOW would become a global movement but now that it's in so many countries I'm thrilled and it's beyond all my expectations. 

 “My experience of Nepal suggested to me that women and men need to embrace gender equality as something that would make the whole society more prosperous, more fruitful, more dynamic. There is still too strong a perception that women's equality would undermine men's identity and destroy cultural traditions. It's important to develop a different story demonstrating how everyone will benefit from a gender equal world.” 

Jim Hollington, Director Arts, South Asia shares why British Council is partnering with the Southbank Centre and organising WOW festival in Kathmandu this year.

“Women of the World is first and foremost a festival that celebrates the achievements of women, and here in South Asia we have a lot to celebrate. From politicians to musicians, mountain climbers to social activists, there are powerful role models who can inspire the next generation.

"But there are also many challenges and it’s for that reason the British Council and the Southbank Centre are working with a range of talented organisations and individuals across South Asia to found a series of WOW festivals. Through celebrating the achievements of the women they provide powerful role models, and through bringing together people from across South Asia they help to build a powerful network, able to work together to support women and girls to achieve their full potential.”

"Over 10,000 people attended the first #WOWKHI in Karachi in May 2016, with the second edition currently being planned. We’re delighted that our second destination is Kathmandu and look forward to seeing #WOWKTM inspiring and involving people from across the region." 


What is WOW? 

WOW is a festival that celebrates women and girls and takes a frank look at the obstacles they face across the world. There are talks, performances, activism, workshops, food, music, mentoring, workshops and more. WOW is for everyone, and brings people together from all corners of society - both speakers and audience members - energising and providing the inspiration and tools to make change. 

WOW is a place where hundreds of women’s stories can be shared, feelings vented, minds influenced and fun had. Each WOW is for everyone, bold and broad-based in approach, both lively and serious, bringing together of people from all corners of society. 

The festival is made up of Talks, WOW Bites, a Marketplace, Performances from across the arts, Workshops, Speed Mentoring and more! The local curators are: Hamro Chahana Nepal, Institute of Professional Development, Eleven 11 and Fair Trade Group Nepal.

Background- WOW festival 

WOW launched in 2010 at London’s Southbank Centre, and was founded by Jude Kelly CBE, Southbank Centre’s Artistic Director. The WOW movement is growing, and is now in over 20 cities across 5 continents including Karachi in Pakistan, Finland, New York and Baltimore in the USA, across the UK and Australia and in Hargeysa, Somaliland. With the HRH Duchess of Cornwall as President, Southbank Centre is now planning a WOW Commonwealth festival at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 with all 53 nations. 

Around the world, individuals and communities, including an increasing number of men, are insisting on the simple proposition that women must have equal rights and asking 'why is gender equality taking so long?' The global WOW movement is growing at a time when female voices have become immensely powerful as a force for positive change. The festival concept belongs to London’s Southbank Centre and was founded by Jude Kelly CBE, Southbank Centre’s Artistic Director.

WOW programme details

Detailed programme on all sections of the festival (Talks,  Bites,  Market place, Workshops, Performances, Speed Mentoring ) and  Profiles of all the contributors can be downloaded from -

The programme features speakers from across South Asia including from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India.


Notes to Editor

About the British Council 

British Council works with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year British Council reaches over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications.Founded in 1934, British Council is a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. More information about what British Council does in Nepal can be found at this link 

About Southbank Centre

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, comprising three iconic buildings (Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery) and occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Building on this rich heritage, Southbank Centre offers an extensive artistic and cultural programme including annual and one-off themed festivals and classical and contemporary music, performance, dance, visual art and literature and spoken word events throughout the year.


For more information

Ms. Suchita Shrestha
Marketing Communications & Arts Manager
#4410798 Ext 3129