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ONE Campaign CEO Gayle Smith kicks off Anita Ashok Datar Lecture Series

ONE Campaign President & CEO Gayle Smith provided the inaugural address to kick off a new lecture series sponsored by the Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL) at Rutgers University on 9 October 2017. Named in honor of Anita Datar, the lecture series is designed to inform and engage students, faculty, and the public about pressing issues in in women’s global health. Anita Datar, a graduate of Rutgers University, was killed in Mali in November 2015 while working for the Health Policy Plus (HP+) to address the reproductive health, family planning, and HIV needs of Malians. HP+ is a project implemented by Palladium and funded by the United States Agency for International Development and the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Datar dedicated her work to improving the lives of women, girls, and their families throughout her career.

Speaking to an audience dominated by college students and including Datar’s family and former Palladium colleagues, Smith outlined the qualities that distinguished Anita including her interest in people, commitment to global health, sense of humor, and passion for her work, saying: “It’s never been a more important time for the “Anitas” to project our values [to the world].”

Sanjeev Datar, Anita’s brother, represented her family by providing opening remarks. Prior to joining the ONE Campaign, Smith served as USAID Administrator under the Obama Administration and as a Special Assistant to Presidents Obama and Clinton. She is one of the world’s leading experts on international development and global health. ONE is a grassroots advocacy organization taking action around the world to end extreme poverty and preventable diseases, especially in Africa.

Gayle Smith with Anita's family during inaugural Anita Ashok Datar Lecture Series

The Anita Ashok Datar Lecture on Women’s Global Health will invite ground-breaking pioneers, researchers, field workers, and activists to explore growing international health challenges and the vital role that the United States and leaders from across the global must play in addressing them. This lecture series is one of many tributes to Anita Datar. Columbia University, where she obtained her master’s in public health, 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. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Centennial Scholarship will be named in her honor as the Anita Datar Centennial Scholarship. USAID also announced the Legacy Fellowship in collaboration with Palladium in her honor. The Legacy Fellowship will provide selected fellows with practical and professional experiences in fields related to the work of USAID.