November 11, 2016

Alumna Anita Datar MPA ’03, Mailman ’03 was among 21 people who died one year ago this month — on November 20, 2015 — in a terrorist attack on the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali, by a group with ties to Al Qaeda.

At the time of her death, Anita was the senior director for field programs for the Palladium organization, working on a USAID-funded project focused on improving reproductive health in developing countries. She had long worked to strengthen public-health infrastructure intake in the developing world, with a focus on HIV/AIDS and women and children’s health.

For Anita, working in Mali meant returning to a part of the world that meant a great deal to her. Dedicated to helping others, she lost her life doing what she loved.

As Dean Merit E. Janow wrote at the time of Anita’s death: “Many [SIPA] graduates devote their lives to improving the world and working on economic development. Some are in very difficult environments with much personal sacrifice. We are moved by Anita’s commitment to helping others and are saddened that her shining light was cut short by this tragedy.”

It is in this spirit that Columbia University has established the Anita Datar Fellowship Fund, which will be used to provide fellowships for students in the dual-degree program serving the School of International and Public Affairs and the Mailman School of Public Health.

Please follow this link to make a gift in memory of Anita and help continue her legacy through the next generation of students dedicated to making the world a better place.

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