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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

SEPTEMBER 2016

79

AFSA NEWS

USAID Honors Fallen Colleagues at Memorial Event

On June 8, USAID Admin-

istrator Gayle E. Smith led

a ceremony to honor the

memory of fallen colleague

Xulhaz Mannan, a locally

employed (LE) staff member

with USAID’s Democracy and

Governance Office in Dhaka

and a human rights activist.

Mr. Mannan was killed on April

25 in his Dhaka apartment.

At the same event, Admin-

istrator Smith unveiled a new

memorial plaque honoring

fallen colleagues from USAID

implementing partners. The

family of Anita Datar, who was

killed in the 2015 hotel siege

in Bamako, was in attendance

for the unveiling.

USAID Deputy Administra-

tor Ambassador Alfonso Len-

hardt opened the ceremony,

welcoming Mr. Mannan’s fam-

ily—who had traveled from

Bangladesh for the event—

and Ms. Datar’s family, among

other honored guests.

Deputy Secretary of

State for Management and

Resources Heather Hig-

ginbottom, AFSA President

Ambassador Barbara Ste-

phenson, AFSA USAID Vice

President SharonWayne and

the U.S. ambassador to Mali

also attended the ceremony.

Xulhaz Mannan’s brother,

Minhaz Mannan Emon, told

the gathering “[Xulhaz]

wanted to speak for those

whose souls are caged.” He

urged USAID to continue the

work they have been doing

in Bangladesh, and encour-

aged the LGBT community

to continue to speak out.

“In a country where sex and

sexuality are taboo, work for

love,” he said, referring to his

brother’s magazine

Roopbaan

(named for a Bengali folk

representation of love).

Placing a tile bearing Xul-

haz’ name on the memorial

wall, Mr. Mannan Emon said

that his brother “is still alive in

the rivers and green fields of

Bangladesh, and here on the

walls of USAID.”

Representing all LE staff at

USAID Mission Bangladesh,

Muhammad Moinuddin, a

colleague of Mr. Mannan’s,

thanked the agency for hon-

oring his best friend. Mr. Moi-

nuddin had been impressed,

he said, by his friend’s energy,

enthusiasm and ability to

stand up for his beliefs.

In her remarks, Admin-

istrator Smith recalled her

recent trip to Bangladesh

to visit the Mannan family,

thanking them for

welcoming her in

the wake of such a

tragedy. She also

announced that

the USAID Mission

Diversity Award

would be renamed

in Xulhaz’ honor.

She then turned

to the family of

Anita Datar, the

only American vic-

tim of an attack on the Radis-

son Hotel in Bamako last year.

Ms. Datar worked there for

Palladium, an international

development firm working

with USAID in Mali.

Announcing the formation,

in partnership with Palla-

dium, of a legacy fellowship

program in honor of Ms.

Datar, Administrator Smith

described her as “one of us,

and the best of us.” She spoke

particularly to Ms. Datar’s

young son, Rohan, who was

present at the unveiling of the

memorial plaque.

Dedicated to those who

have died while working with

USAID, the plaque features a

quote from George Marshall,

winner of the 1953 Nobel

Peace Prize: “I have done my

best, and I hope I have sown

some seeds which may bring

forth good fruit.”

n

—Gemma Dvorak,

Associate Editor

USAID Administrator Gayle Smith speaks at a ceremony to honor Xulhaz Mannan and Anita Datar.

Unveiled at the memorial ceremony, a plaque

honoring fallen colleagues from USAID’s

implementing partners.

USAID/ELLISSAVANHOUTTE

USAID/ELLISSAVANHOUTTE