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April 01, 2014

Events | Japan

Cambridge University Press to hold tribute event for Robert Habbick

Cambridge University Press in Japan (CUP) has announced that there will be a tribute to Robert Habbick held on April 24th at the Gakushi Kaikan near Jimbocho Station in central Tokyo.

Robert Habbick passed away on September 30th, 2013. An initial tribute event was held at the JALT National Conference last year, but due to the timing, many people were not able to come.

CUP stated: "The purpose of the event is to share fond memories of Rob, be they stories or photos. There will be an open mic and projector. Everyone interested in participating is invited to submit photos either by email to the address below or by bringing a memory stick on the day itself." Those not able to come may send on messages for the condolence book to the same email address (below).

The party will start at 7.15 pm, there will be drinks and light food, and the party will close around 8:45.

The access details can be found here:

Everyone with friends or colleagues who were close to Robert is invited, and CUP has asked that friends and colleagues inform other friends and colleagues of Robert's about the event.

Anyone wishing to attend the the tribute party should contact the organiser by email at, by April 17th, with 'Robert Habbick' in the subject line.

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I first met Robert way back in 1992 when we were both working for OUP. He was in Osaka, and I was in New York. My boss at the time decided that I needed to come to Japan for market research right away – even though it was January, when most schools were closed. I ended up spending a week with Robert, visiting schools and talking to teachers, although, to be truthful, because there were so few schools open and those that were open were so far from one another, it might be more accurate to say that I spent a week riding trains and talking with Robert.

That week and that time with Robert was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Thankfully, we managed to keep in touch all those years, and Robert soon became a friend and eventually a trusted colleague and a life mentor who changed my life in countless ways, both professionally and personally. As a publisher, I think much of what I believe about English Language Teaching was influenced by Robert.

We all build on the love and lessons of our mentors, friends, and teachers, and I owe so much to all that Robert so selflessly gave to me. He made me a better editor, a better colleague, a better professional, and I hope a better man. The wise lessons he taught me – whether in word, deed, or attitude, whether about work, family, life, and love– have affected me deeply, and I have passed them on to others, always with Robert in mind. And I know I’m not alone in this. In the end, Robert Habbick has influenced more people for the good than he could ever possibly have imagined.

I owe so much to Robert. And his memory is always with me. Inevitably, I speak, and it's his words that come out. I look, and it's his perspective I see. I’m beyond sad that we have lost him, but I am also forever grateful that he was here. There was only one Robert Habbick.

Robert Habbick was a great colleague and dear friend to me. Rob endeared himself with everyone, with his caring and ever willing to help attitude. It is sad to think that Rob is no more with us.

Just a reminder about the tribute to Rob that we will have on Thursday 24th. Again, if you would like to attend, please do let us know at the email address in the article above.

Thank you.

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