One of the 157 victims killed Sunday in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane bound for Nairobi was Cedric Asiavugwa, a third-year law school student at Georgetown University in Washington.
University officials announced his death Sunday evening, describing Asiavugwa, 32, as a member of the campus ministry and a residential minister with a history of work to better other people’s lives.
He had been traveling home to Nairobi after the death of his fiancee’s mother, they said.
“With his passing, the Georgetown family has lost a stellar student, a great friend to many, and a dedicated champion for social justice across East Africa and the world,” said a joint letter from William Treanor, executive vice president and dean at Georgetown Law, and the Rev. Mark Bosco, vice president for mission and ministry at Georgetown University.
Asiavugwa, born in Kenya, was passionate about serving refugees and other marginalized people and had spent time in Zimbabwe, where he received a degree in philosophy from the University of Zimbabwe, and Uganda and Tanzania before arriving at Georgetown. He helped found a community-based organization that worked for the protection of women and children fleeing the war in Somalia, the school said. Asiavugwa also had served as editor in chief of the philosophy journal Chiedza and directed a television series on peace and reconciliation, the university said.
At Georgetown, he was studying for a joint degree in international business and economic law. He had spent eight years in the United States and Africa studying the Jesuit tradition.
He was remembered by friends and faculty as a “kind, compassionate and gentle soul” with a “beautifully warm and infectious smile,” the letter from the university said. It called his death a loss not just for family and friends but for Georgetown and the broader social justice community.
Asiavugwa aspired to return to Kenya to work promoting the rights of refugees, officials said.
This semester, he was enrolled at the Center for Applied Legal Studies clinic and worked with refugee clients seeking asylum in the United States.
In another local connection to the tragedy, the plane’s pilot, who was identified by relatives as Senior Captain Yared Getachew, 28, of Addis Ababa, had relatives in Northern Virginia and Texas. The airline confirmed Getachew was the pilot.