A law student at Georgetown University was one of the 157 people who perished in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight this weekend.
Cedric Asiavugwa, a third-year student at Georgetown Law, was on his way home to Nairobi, Kenya, following the death of his fiance’s mother, the university explained in a statement to students.
“With a heavy heart, we write to share the terrible news that Cedric Asiavugwa … died in the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 near Addis Ababa,” the letter stated. “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.”
Asiavugwa was among 32 Kenyans who were killed, along with 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, and eight Americans. A number of United Nations staff were also among the victims. The state-run Ethiopia Broadcasting Corporation said the flight that went down near the city of Bishoftu carried passengers from at least 33 countries.
Born and raised in Mombasa, Asiavugwa graduated from the University of Zimbabwe with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, with highest honors, the university stated.
“His commitment to issues of social justice, especially serving refugees and other marginalized groups, led him to Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania before coming to Georgetown. Among his many accomplishments, he helped found a community-based organization that addresses the protection of vulnerable women and children fleeing the war in Somalia, researched issues ranging from international conflicts to food security across East Africa, served as the Editor-in-Chief of the philosophy journal Chiedza, and directed a television series on peace and reconciliation.”
Asiavugwa spent eight years in the U.S. and Africa as a Jesuit Scholastic, Georgetown reported. He was “a beloved member of Georgetown’s Campus Ministry offices, tending to a group of first-year undergraduates for the last three years as a residential minister” and “consistently dedicated to the underprivileged in his home country, Cedric also served as the Assistant Director of Advancement for St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School, a free high school for orphans with HIV/AIDS in Nairobi.”
Asiavugwa was studying toward a joint degree in international business and economic law. In a law clinic, he assisted refugee clients seeking asylum in the United States. Last year, he participated in the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic, his goal, the university said, was to return to Kenya after his studies to pursue a career promoting the rights of refugees in East Africa and beyond, the university stated.
“Beyond his many commitments and contributions, Cedric’s friends and faculty in this community remember him as a kind, compassionate and gentle soul, known for his beautifully warm and infectious smile. This is a tragic loss for Cedric’s family and loved ones, for Georgetown and for the broader social justice community that benefited every day from his passion, compassion and dedication.”