Ben has been working in humanitarian affairs, online media and fragile states for more than 20 years. In 2013, he was the director of communications for the UN in Somalia in Mogadishu. In 2012, he headed the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for Syria in Damascus. Before that, he was the director of UN OCHA’s Eastern Africa offices and of IRIN.
Ben has worked for various development agencies in Africa (including Oxfam, UNICEF, the World Food Programme, the European Union and the UN Environment Programme). He set up the initial editorial and online systems for IRIN in 1995 and later moved into web publishing in the private sector with Africa Online in 2000. In 2007, he returned to IRIN, taking over as Editor-in-Chief and Director. As a UN communications officer in Sudan from 2003-2006, he was closely involved in raising the alarm about Darfur internationally and released some of the first photos and TV footage of the crisis.