About the Ben Warren International House Trust

About the Trust

The Ben Warren-International House Trust was set up as a memorial to the life and work of Ben Warren, who was killed while attending the annual International House Director’s Conference in London, in May 1991.

Ben was one of the key figures in the growth and development of International House. He was personally responsible for starting or developing fourteen International House schools in Spain, and he also provided an unquantifiable amount of help and advice to many other International House affiliates in other parts of the world.

Without Ben's involvement and support, International House may not have developed into the "power house" in the world of language teaching and teacher training that it has in fact become.

Ben WarrenBen Warren

Ben was born in Tunbridge Wells in 1943. He took a degree in Geography at Cambridge and then became one of John and Brita Haycraft's first properly trained teachers.

His first teaching post was in IH Algiers, after which he moved back to IH London, where he met his future wife, Carmen, who was one of his students. In 1968, at the age of 25, Ben was appointed Director of IH Tripoli. He was on the verge of opening a second school in Benghazi when Gadaffi's revolution took place. People with names like Benjamin became the subject of round the clock police surveillance so Ben and Carmen decided to leave.

Ben's next assignment was as Director of Business English at IH Paris, but it wasn't long before he decided that it was time to start a school of his own. This first school was opened in 1971 in the industrial town of Sabadell, near Barcelona. IH Sabadell was soon a success and over the next twenty years Ben built a substantial business empire which included fourteen equally successful language schools, a book shop, a company promoting language courses abroad, a magazine for teachers and students and a printing business.

Ben was fortunate in so far as his business acumen led him to start a school in the right place at the right time; but he was also the right person in the right place at the right time; many other people had the same opportunities as Ben, but none came anywhere near to equalling his achievements. Ben's business successes were based on a remarkable combination of personal qualities. These included almost limitless energy and a corresponding capacity to work hard for long hours, the ability to pick out and retain important detail without letting it cloud the broader picture, an unshakable sense of what was fair and reasonable, a commitment to honesty in all his dealings, and a wisdom which was partly based on his business experience but also partly innate. His advice was always reliable and his judgments thoughtfully made.

When he was killed, aged just 48, he left an immediate family of a wife and three children; he also left an "extended family" which included many hundreds of friends, colleagues, employees and admirers.

All of these people benefited in one way or another from knowing Ben and many of them have contributed directly towards setting up the Ben Warren-International House Trust.