Reflections from World Bank colleagues

Dear colleagues,


We were saddened to learn over the weekend of the death of Ben Horne.  Ben was a member of the Doing Business team from February 2006 -  July 2007, before leaving to pursue his PhD in economics at the University of California.  Ben was an avid climber who lost his life after climbing the Palcaraju Oeste mountain in Peru.  Ben made many friends on the Doing Business team and we had the opportunity to see Ben frequently when he returned to visit his family in Northern Virginia, including during a visit to the office this last January.


Our thoughts are with Ben's family and friends at this difficult time.  We will remember Ben for his fun-loving nature, his creativity, and his never-ending desire to see the world.  He was a great colleague and a great friend to many on the team. Some of you may have seen this morning's article in the Washington Post where the reader is told about Ben's favorite quote from a famous Russian climber: "Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion." The article refers to Ben as being a "deeply spiritual man", surely a wonderful tribute to a life of noble aspirations and service. His mother said that Ben "was more than a mountain climber. He was about developing the person you are, and he was about developing everyone to their furthest potential."

Melissa will also share information on memorial services with anyone who is interested.


Best regards,


Augusto Lopez-Claros

The World Bank

Director, Global Indicators and Analysis


Ben was a very special person in my life and I wanted to take a moment to share a few memories with you. 

Ben and I joined the World Bank on the same day: February 6, 2007. We showed up at the IFC building a little before 9 AM and both asked the security guard to call the team assistant, Marie Delion, for us. At first I was intimidated by this tall, blond American guy with the intense blue eyes, so I returned his friendly smile with a haughty attitude and my most confident stare. But Ben just kept smiling and within days his probing questions and mischievous spirit melted my resolve and we became fast friends. He remained a joyful and inspiring force in my life for 5 years. 

Ben and I were drawn to each other for several reasons. We both liked to push boundaries and fight "the good fight". When Ben brought me a black t-shirt with a Kalashnikov emblazoned on it, I promptly hung it up in my cubicle at work to challenge convention and the conformity of our office culture.  He continued to inspire me to "fight on" when I wrote about the darker days of the Egyptian uprising last year and the difficulties we faced in bringing about change. When I heard about his disappearance a couple of days ago, I just prayed that Ben would keep fighting like he always encouraged me to. I sincerely believe that he fought hard to make it through, because that was the kind of man he was. 

Ben and I both loved Hip Hop and for the last 5 years we regularly sent each other lines and lyrics from music that inspired us. We loved Hip Hop so much we wrote and recorded our own hip hop song for the annual spring retreat at work.  I'm not musical and certainly not a performer, but it was by the sheer force of Ben's will that I ended up spending my Saturdays in a studio by Howard University recording and re-recording our song and taking frequent breaks to eat vegetarian papusas and discuss the meaning of life. 

In one of his last emails to me earlier this year, Ben sent me the following quote. Just like Ben, it inspires me to be a better person:

"Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?" Sun Tzu

I am praying for you all and sending you love. 

Keep fighting the good fight and maintaining the light, 

Dana Omran


The pleasure of knowing Ben and being his friend was mine. I will forever keep of him the dearest memories: his witty smile, his laid-back attitude, and the amount of happiness he brought to everyone around him, both in and outside the office (I still work for the World Bank). Also, our conversations on religion and on our common Catholic faith (and our last lunch at Whole Foods at the beginning of the year).

I can only imagine your pain at losing an amazing son, but I am sure we will all be reunited again one day.

May God bless you and your family and Ben's soul.
Maya Choueiri


RIP Ben Horne! This is a great loss not just for his loved ones, us his friends, but also the many people who not had a chance to meet him yet! He was truly inspiring, an inclusive leader, an avid traveler and with a tremendous desire to make this world a better place! I am grateful to Ben for having guided me and supported me in my quest to become a better human being! You will be much missed, Ben!

From Ben Horne 's AT Journal: "Trying to impress memories of ourselves is pointless, we are soon forgotten. However the ways in which we affect peoples lives and the world around us can be lasting even if no one remembers our name. The goal of changing things for the better can be reached- the key is to inspire others, to affect other people in little ways, and they in turn will continue to pass it down. When we seek personal glory, we can achieve transient fame; if we seek to better the world we can contribute to lasting results. If we don't pass it on, it will fade as memories of us fade."  Thank you Ben for passing on the light.

To Ben’s Parents: Thanks so much for giving the world a wonderful and inspiring human being!  Ben touched many of us through his kindness and love for his fellow human beings and life! His memory will stay alive for many decades to come!

With much love and respect,

Doina Cebotari

(former World Bank Colleague from Moldova)


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