In the wake of the recent attacks in Paris, Beirut, Iraq, Nigeria and so many other corners of the world, it’s difficult to picture ourselves in a celebratory mood for the holidays. Yet it’s now, more than ever, that we must remind our loved ones, our family, our friends and even those we meet in passing that there is hope and light in this world, despite the attempts of some to darken it.
This Thanksgiving, we at UC’s Center for Effective Global Action and East Africa Social Science Translation (EASST) wish to express gratitude for those who have contributed, in various ways, to making our world a better place. Ravindra (Ravi) B. Ramrattan is one of those people.
This Saturday, Ravindra (Ravi) B. Ramrattan’s family will release a book as a tribute to Ravi’s life. Like many of our colleagues, Ravi worked tirelessly towards his passion of development economics. Graduating from top universities in the UK, Ravi worked with Innovations for Poverty Action and Financial Sector Deepening, among others, spending a significant part of his 30 years studying and training to understand the impact of programs designed to address poverty.
Described as a pleasant, humble, and brilliant individual, Ravi moved to Kenya to test new ideas and develop solutions that would improve the lives of those in poverty. It was in Kenya where Ravi’s life was cut short during a terrorist attack in Nairobi’s Westgate Shopping Mall.
It has been a little over two years since Ravi’s death, and his family in Trinidad and Tobago has chosen to honor him by using the proceeds from a book launched in his memory to support the Ravindra B. Ramrattan EASST Fund. Thanks to this Fund, the EASST Collaborative will be able to offer six East African researchers the opportunity to travel to EASST’s Annual Evidence Summit from their home countries. The summit, an event focused on creating a space for promising East African researchers to disseminate their latest work and collaborate with leading scholars from around the world, will allow these six young African researchers to be part of the world Ravi was dedicated to — that of international economic development.
There are many tributes to Ravi, all of which attest to the extraordinary individual that he was. Poems and stories written by friends, news pieces covering his accomplishments, and even the upcoming book launch illustrate what a profound impact he had in the world. So this Thanksgiving, we at CEGA and EASST wish to express gratitude for Ravi, for his brilliant contributions through his work in Africa, for his kindness and caring, and for reminding us that sometimes, where many of us see scarcity there is, indeed, opportunity.