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Imagination, Commitment, Independence
by Roger Bowers (Assistant Director-General of The British Council)

On the day the news reached me that John Haycraft had died, a distance ELT seminar was taking place at the Council and I had to announce the sad news to an international group of professional collegues.

Few names could have evoked such an immediate recognition and such a sense of personal loss.

There were in that group, as in any EFL gathering in Britain, people who had been trained by John and Brita - in fact one of them had attended their very first training course.

Others had worked for International House in this country or overseas and some, like myself, had benefited from IH courses or collaborated with this uniquely influential organisation.

My personal contacts with John came only in the Eighties. By this time John had already served as a member of the English Advisory Committee for six years until 1980 and his by no means uncritical relationship had matured well.

As a Trustee I got to understand something of the IH ethos from the inside. I found present the imagination, commitment, style and independence which so characterised John himself.

In 1990 John turned his attention to teachers across the wider Europe through the Soros Foundation and I witnessed the rare dignity with which he passed the Director General baton to his successor Tony Duff.

John was for ever finding new ways to pursue his goals of internationalism, self-sufficiency and professional development.

British EFL will not be the same without him.

Source: ELEuropean August 1996

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