Pregnant Clinton Global Initiative staffer killed in Kenya mall shooting

Dylan Stableford
Yahoo News
Yavuz and Clinton
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A 33-year-old pregnant staffer for the Clinton Global Initiative and her boyfriend were among those killed in the Kenya mall shooting, former President Bill Clinton said.

Elif Yavuz, a senior vaccines researcher based in Tanzania, had been expecting a baby with Ross Langdon, an award-winning architect, who was also killed in the rampage.

Yavuz, Clinton said, was due to give birth in about two weeks.

"I saw her just a couple weeks ago in Dar es Salaam when I was there," Clinton said in an interview on "CBS This Morning" broadcast Tuesday. "She was nine months pregnant, just a couple of weeks away from delivery. So she and her baby's father were walking in that mall in Nairobi, because she wanted to have the baby in Kenya. She thought that would be best. And they were both killed."

Yavuz and Langdon wanted to have the child, their first, in Nairobi because of its reputation as being safe.

At the Clinton Global Initiative summit in New York Tuesday, the former president paid tribute to Yavuz with a long, emotional speech.

"Elif devoted her life to helping others, particularly people in developing countries suffering from malaria and HIV/AIDS," Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton said in a separate statement. "Elif was brilliant, dedicated, and deeply admired by her colleagues, who will miss her terribly."

As many as 62 people are feared dead in the siege that began on Saturday, when gunmen stormed the multilevel Westgate shopping center in Nairobi.

Yavuz, a Dutch citizen of Turkish heritage, earned a masters degree international studies at Johns Hopkins, and joined the Clinton Foundation after receiving her doctorate from Harvard's School of Public Health earlier this year.

"Elif committed her career and her life to helping those in need," Julio Frenk, dean of Harvard's School of Public Health, said in a statement. "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."

Yavuz did her dissertation on malaria in East Africa.

"She was a force," Harvard assistant professor Jessica Cohen, who worked with Yavuz in Uganda, told the Daily News.

Langdon, a Tazmanian native, designed an AIDS hospital in Kenya and had recently delivered a TED Talk on sustainable architecture.

Regional Associates, the architecture firm Langdon co-founded, posted a statement on its website lamenting the loss:

We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss 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.

According to the firm, Langdon had been working on projects in London, Sydney, Norway, Uganda and Rwanda.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Langdon was in the process of completing an HIV/AIDS clinic in Uganda and "about to start on a $35 million museum telling the story of the earliest fossil record of walking humanoids in Kenya.”

In a Facebook post, Langdon's mother Linden called the loss of her son and his partner “immeasurable, absurd and excruciating.”

"They were agents-of-change in the best sense," Peter Adams, a friend of the couple, wrote in a blog post. "Both had dedicated their lives to working for a peaceful world. Both had so much to offer."
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