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Dr. Jacqueline Kirk, killed in Afghanistan, mourned by McGill community

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Published: 13 Aug 2008

The McGill University community is shocked and saddened by the news that Dr. Jacqueline (Jackie) Kirk, who had recently been appointed Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Education, was killed in southern Afghanistan Wednesday while working for the New York-based International Rescue Committee.

“Our hearts go out to her family, including her husband, Andy Kirk, who is Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Education) in McGill’s Faculty of Engineering,” said Heather Munroe-Blum, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “This is truly tragic. Jackie was engaged in important work trying to improve the lives of people in Afghanistan, which was closely tied to her research on women’s access to education in developing countries.

“That her life should come to such a brutal end while working to help others makes this an even greater tragedy. This was a cowardly act that deserves widespread condemnation,” Prof. Munroe-Blum said.

Jackie Kirk, 40, who holds joint British and Canadian citizenship, was one of four people shot to death in an ambush for which the Taliban have reportedly claimed responsibility. Three of the victims, including another Canadian, were women. All were aid workers. The driver of their vehicle, which was clearly marked as belonging to an aid organization, was also killed.

“On behalf of the McGill Community, I wish to extend our condolences to the families and friends of all of the victims,” Prof. Munroe-Blum said. “We join with you in mourning this senseless loss of life.”

Jackie Kirk obtained her PhD at McGill in 2002 and had worked with the IRC since 2004 in helping to support its education programs worldwide.

She was founding co-editor of the upcoming journal Girlhood Studies, and a former Research Associate at the McGill Centre for Research and Teaching on Women. Her research focused especially on adolescent girls’ and young women’s education.

As her husband Andrew Kirk said after the news was reported, “Jackie was an activist. She was someone who was trying to make a difference.”

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