Remembering Jeff Haskins

By Andy Burness, July 16, 2012

Jeff

The Burness Communications family is deeply, deeply saddened and profoundly pained by the way-too-early death of Jeff Haskins, our personal friend and extraordinary colleague of nearly nine years. For four of those years, Jeff led our efforts on the ground in Nairobi, Kenya, and across Africa for BurnessAfrica. He traveled from Indonesia to Mexico, and most places in between, spreading the message of possibility and hope for agricultural research as a vital tool for the world’s most disenfranchised people.

Jeff was a one-in-a-million talent. He was a “rock star” in every room he entered. He was a confidante and source to reporters the world over who covered global development through the lens of the farmer, the indigenous protector of forests, the scientist devoted to sustaining crop diversity, the advocate fighting to feed the world, the poorest of the poor utilizing new strategies to simultaneously feed themselves and enhance their livelihoods. He knew how to tell their stories and to persuade journalists and policy makers to listen. He was their voice.

Jeff touched every single person he worked with in an outsized way. He was a mentor and friend, universally understood to be tireless, brilliant, magnanimous and funny as hell.

We will carry his vision and legacy forward, stunned that there is a “legacy” associated with a vital, charismatic, super-skilled 32 year-old person whose passing leaves us so sad.

Many of Jeff’s friends and colleagues around the world have posted tributes to Jeff online. Below are just a few of those links.

A tribute by Global Crop Diversity Trust:
http://www.croptrust.org/content/jeff-haskins

A tribute by the CGIAR:
http://www.cgiar.org/consortium-news/jeff-haskins-the-agricultureal-research-community-has-lost-a-friend-and-a-partner/

Photo tributes by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI):
Jeff: http://pinterest.com/ilri/remembering-jeff-haskins/
Jeff’s photography: http://pinterest.com/ilri/pictures-by-jeff-haskins/

A blog post by his friend and colleague, Neil Palmer at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT):
http://www.ciatnews.cgiar.org/en/2012/07/16/why-i-wish-id-ignored-jeffs-advice/

Jeff’s photo featured on the Gates Foundation Photo of the Day:
http://www.impatientoptimists.org/Posts/2012/07/Photo-of-the-Day-The-Importance-of-the-African-Yam-Zone

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