Former President Bill Clinton and his family have expressed their heartfelt sorrow over the death of Elif Yavuz in the Kenya mall terrorist attack. Elif Yavuz was a Harvard-educated woman, who worked for the family’s Clinton Foundation. She was expecting a baby in just two weeks with her partner, Australian architect Ross Langdon.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Bill, Hillary and Chelsea said in a statement that Ms. Yavuz had devoted her life to helping others, “particularly people in developing countries suffering from malaria and HIV/AIDS”.
Faculty and students at Harvard’s School of Public Health have also paid tribute to Ms. Yavuz, who was a recent doctural graduate who completed her dissertation research on malaria in eastern Africa. Dr Julio Frenk, the dean of the faculty at Harvard School of Public Health [HSPH], sent a letter to staff and students remembering her as a passionate and committed person who was determined to make a difference in the world.
“As one of her colleagues here at HSPH said: ‘Elif brought laugher and love wherever she went. She lightened the lives of her HSPH colleagues and of the children she lived with in Uganda during her thesis work’,” Dr Frenk wrote. “Elif committed her career and her life to helping those in need. Her compassion was an inspiration to everyone she touched at HSPH and the broader global community in which she lived and worked. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her.”
Elif Yavuz worked for the Clinton Foundation in Kenya, and in that role had been visited last month by former US president Bill Clinton. “She had originally worked with our Health Access Initiative during her doctoral studies, and we were so pleased that she had recently rejoined us as a senior vaccines researcher based in Tanzania,” the statement said. “On behalf of the entire Clinton Foundation, we send our heartfelt condolences and prayers to Elif’s family and her many friends throughout the world.”
Mr Langdon, 32, founder of the prize-winning architecture firm Regional Associates and committed conservationist, has offices in Melbourne, London and Uganda, where he and his partner first met. He led all the firm’s projects in East Africa, and was completing an HIV-AIDS clinic in Uganda, which he designed without charge. He was about to start on a $35 million museum telling the story of the earliest fossil record of walking humanoids in Kenya
In a statement, Regional Associates said: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our friend and colleague Ross Langdon and his partner Elif Yavuz. Profoundly talented and full of life, Ross enriched the lives of all those around him. Ross’s leadership on projects throughout East Africa was inspirational, and he will be will be very, very sorely missed by us all. Our deepest condolences and thoughts are with Ross and Elif’s families at this very difficult time.”
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