A third-year Georgetown law student was among the 157 people killed Sunday when the airplane they were flying in crashed in Ethiopia.
Cedric Asiavugwa was traveling to his native Kenya to attend the funeral of his fiance’s mother, according to an email dean William Treanor sent to students Sunday evening. Asiavugwa was enrolled in the school’s dual J.D. LL.M. program in International Business and Economic Law and planned to return to Kenya to promote the rights of refugees after graduating, according to Treanor.
“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,” the email reads.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa and was en route to Nairobi. Its passengers were from more than 30 countries, and at least 22 were affiliated with the United Nations. Authorities have not yet determined the cause of the crash.
Asiavugwa was involved in the law school’s social justice circles, according to Treanor. This semester he assisted refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. through the school’s Center for Applied Legal Studies clinic. Last year, he enrolled in Georgetown’s International Women’s Human Rights Clinic.
“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,” Treanor wrote. “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. We hope you will keep his many loved ones here and abroad in your thoughts and prayers as we grieve his passing.”
Asiavugwa’s commitment to social justice began long before he became a law student, according to Treanor. After graduating from the University of Zimbabwe with a philosophy degree, he served refugees in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Asiavugwa founded a community-based organization dedicated to the protection of women and children escaping the war in Somalia and directed a televisions series on peace and reconciliation, among other accomplishments. He was also the assistant director of advancement at a free high school in Nairobi for orphaned students with HIV/AIDS.
Asiavugwa was active in Georgetown’s campus ministry, assisting undergraduates as residential minister in campus housing. He was also interned in office of the law school’s campus ministry.
Counseling is available for Georgetown students, Treanor wrote.
“We encourage students, faculty and staff to reach out to one another and be supportive of our community,” his email reads. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Cedric’s family and friends.”