Julia Handelman-Smith

Former British diplomat, now leading intercultural dialogue, co-creation & equity in international partnerships

Julia Handelman-Smith is a former diplomat with experience working in multiple countries and cultures.

She now advises the culture and education sectors on international strategy, focusing particularly on inclusion, equitable partnerships and community development.  

She is a professional musician and creative entrepreneur, establishing Our Symphony: a community outreach programme to support intercultural dialogue between communities worldwide.

Julia worked with the British Council for more than 10 years as a cultural diplomat, working in diverse environments from Europe and East Asia to the Middle East.  

From 2014-18, she led the UK’s education and creative programmes to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.  

On returning to the UK, she launched the UK-Global Alliance as a forum to support disadvantaged young people in the UK to access intercultural experience.

She also created the Commonwealth Young Leaders network as part of a programme of activities for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, 2022.  

Julia specializes in developing and supporting long-term collaboration and partnership between countries and cultures, with a particular focus on equity and mutual exchange.  

Specialist knowledge:

- Intercultural dialogue and global mindset
- Championing and mentoring cultural capital to promote equity
- Equity and inclusivity in international partnerships
- International opportunities in education
- Creativity as a vehicle for inclusion and empowerment

Julia is an experienced and authentic public speaker.  Speaking engagements include Brunel University London, UNESCO, Paris Diderot University, Eton College, Restorative Justice 4 All UK, and Asia-Pacific Europe BILT Conference.


Julia is a mentor for The Prince’s Trust UK and Trustee for Persona Arts UK.

Julia has a BA (Hons) Music, MMus Music, LRAM Cello.

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