Palladium Honors Anita Datar as Dedicated Global Health Leader
June 7, 2016
"Her family, friends, and colleagues will tell you that in life, as in her work, Anita [Datar] was someone you could always count on. And now, as we commemorate her life of service, we can count her impact in the people whose lives she has touched."
With his words, Alfonso Lenhardt, deputy administrator of USAID, paid his respects to Anita—who was tragically killed on November 20, 2015 in Bamako, Mali—on behalf of the agency, lauding her role in advancing the U.S. government's commitment to improving global health outcomes. Lenhardt spoke during a ceremony held at the United States Institute of Peace on the evening of Tuesday, June 7.
The memorial event was sponsored by Palladium, for whom Anita worked, and attended by approximately 200 of Anita's friends, family members, and colleagues. Farley Cleghorn, head of Palladium's global health practice, moderated. Other guests who had been personally and professionally close to Anita used spoken word, art, and song to celebrate her life and her many lasting contributions to the field of global health and development.
Anita's father, Ashok Datar, remembered her as a girl whose intellect, spirit, and sense of justice had foreshadowed her accomplishments as a professional. "Even as a loving and respectful daughter, she had no hesitation in expressing herself strongly with a kind of logic that was undeniable and effective ? she had no tolerance for nonsense and unfairness, as commonly seen in this world." Datar added that Anita had also been a successful mother, passing these traits along to her son.
Additional events were held in Washington on both Tuesday and Wednesday, June 8. Prior to Tuesday evening's event, U.S. Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) honored Anita during the morning session of the House of Representatives. Congresswoman Lowey requested, and was granted, entry of Senate Resolution 347 ('A resolution honoring the memory and legacy of Anita Ashok Datar and condemning the terrorist attack ? ' that took her life) into the House record. The bipartisan resolution was passed by unanimous consent by the U.S. Senate earlier this year. Speaking to Anita's son, Rohan, Lowey said, "Your mom made the world a better place through her passion, her spirit, and her dedication to helping others." On Wednesday, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) presented a formal copy of the resolution to Anita's family.
Also on Wednesday, USAID unveiled a memorial plaque to honor Anita and other fallen implementing partners. USAID Administrator Gayle Smith spoke at the event and Anita's family was in attendance, along with several senior Palladium staff.
Modibo Maiga and Mamadou Mangara were among those present Tuesday night, visiting from West Africa to attend the memorial. On November 20, 2015, Maiga and Mangara were in Bamako, Mali with Anita, where she had traveled with several other colleagues to conduct a participatory assessment for the USAID-funded Health Policy Plus project. On that day, Anita and more than 20 other people were killed in a tragic act of terrorism at their hotel.
For more information on Anita's life and legacy, or to show your support, please visit http://anitadatar.org.
Watch Congresswoman Lowey's comments to the House of Representatives on C-SPAN.