Melania plays legal Trump card over school ad

Irena Barker

An attempt to use Melania Trump’s journey to US First Lady to illustrate the benefits of learning English has landed a private language school in legal hot water. The American Institute of Zagreb, in the Croatian capital, was forced to issue an apology after it ran an advert on five billboards, featuring Mrs Trump giving a speech in front of a billowing US flag. The caption read: ‘Just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English.’

But Mrs Trump’s lawyers, hired to protect her public image, demanded that they be removed immediately, under pain of legal action. Ivis Buric, a spokeswoman for the American Institute of Zagreb, said the advert was not intended to mock Mrs Trump – a former model from neighbouring Slovenia – in any way.

‘We are very sorry that the billboards were misunderstood as something intended to mock the US first lady,’ Ms Buric added. ‘It was meant to be something positive, to show her as a role model.’


AN ENGLISH TEACHER TRAINING programme in North Korea has been suspended by the British Council following the country’s recent nuclear test. The programme – which has been running for 17 years – was halted three days after the British government issued a travel warning for the North. Tensions have reached boiling point in recent months, with American president Donald Trump promising to ‘totally destroy’ the country.

THE US GOVERNMENT IS TO AWARD $20 million in grants to support educators working with English learners. They will support professional development activities to improve English language teaching, and related activities. ‘Our English learner students represent an incredible asset for our country, yet they also face unique challenges,’ said José A. Viana, assistant deputy secretary from the Office of English Language Acquisition.

THE BRITISH COUNCIL IS SET TO OPEN its first teaching centre in China, with classes due to start on October 20. It will be based in the city of Nanjing, where the British Council has opened two Ielts centres and collaborated on other UK-China projects. ‘The teaching centre will contribute to bringing our countries closer together’, said Carma Elliot, the British Council’s country director in China.

ITALIAN TEENAGERS WILL BE EXPECTED to achieve an A2 level in English and A1 in another language by the end of middle school (aged 13). Under new rules, pupils will have to complete a written task which will assess their competence in English and another foreign language. Completion of another English language test, one of three tests that students will complete in April, is a prerequisite to be allowed to take the exam.

BACHELOR’S DEGREES TAUGHT IN ENGLISH are booming across Europe, a study by the European Association for International Education (EAIE) and StudyPortals has found. Since 2009, there has been a fifty-fold increase in the number of such courses. Switzerland and The Netherlands have the highest percentage of EMI courses, while Turkey stands out for having more EMI bacherlor’s than masters. [See more on of the supplement.]