Simon Manley, the British ambassador in Spain since 2013, visited International House Madrid facilities last Thursday. During the morning he spent with us he was able to personally meet our academies’ team, exchange impressions with many of his fellow citizens settled in Madrid and get to know the work carried out by IH in the dissemination of English language and British culture.
Before taking up his duties as ambassador, Manley was the Director for Europe at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), as well as FCO’s Director of Defence and Strategic Threats. Married to a Spaniard since 1996, he knew Spanish before settling in our country, although is currently improving his mastery of that language; he also fluently speaks French, thanks to his previous position as ambassador in Bruselas and the long periods of time during which he lived in Switzerland. Mr. Manley is a friendly and approachable man, and he offered proof of that during the breakfast he had with us, during which he shared some anecdotes about his travels around Spain and his appreciation of Spanish gastronomy –he has a reputation of being a kitchen wizard-, his experience in learning several languages or his duties as an ambassador; not for nothing, after our meeting with him he had to take an urgent trip to London so he could discuss about the Scottish independence referendum with the Prime Minister. Given that, we were glad to realise that, although it was a day of historical transcendence for the UK, all his attention was focused on IH during the visit.