Remarks by Alex Thier at the Memorial Service for Ragaei Abdelfattah

Friday, December 7, 2012


Administrator Shah, Deputy Administrator Steinberg, Under-Secretary Kennedy, Ambassador Grossman, Ambassador Warlick, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield, Distinguished Members of Congress, Mr. Lodinsky, Mr. Bernlohr, Mr. Sedney, other distinguished guests, thank you all for joining us to share this humbling day with us and the Abdelfattah family…Angela Dawn Ruppe, Heba Elsherbeeny, and Omar and Ali Abdelfattah. 

It is a solemn occasion as we gather today to honor and remember our friend and colleague, Ragaei Abdelfattah, a beloved member of our USAID family. From what I’ve learned about Ragaei, he would want us here today not only to mourn, but to celebrate. To celebrate his commitment to a better world. To celebrate his devotion to family. To celebrate his enthusiasm for appreciating challenges, then besting them… To celebrate a life well-lived.

This family of ours, those who have answered the call to stoke the embers of hope among the war weary, is a glorious tribe. We carry the banners of service and sacrifice proudly aloft, not as a burden but as a badge of honor. And Ragaei, just like the Afghans he worked with, found joy and humor and humanity there too.

An architect and urban planner, Ragaei served with USAID in Afghanistan starting in June 2011.  He was an invaluable member of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kunar where he worked tirelessly with his colleagues to help local communities improve governance and advance development. 

Yet, his service to our country and the people of Afghanistan came at a great cost, even before his death.  He missed his family, especially his two sons Omar and Ali.  He spoke of them often. 

Omar and Ali, carry this with you, your father is a hero. He died for a greater cause, for country, for peace, for the triumph of justice over extremism. Among his colleagues, his sacrifice served as not as warning, but as inspiration. His work, and his hope, carry on.

I will now like to introduce the Administrator of USAID, Dr. Rajiv Shah who will say a few words.

Washington, DC

Last updated: June 16, 2015

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