KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - As dynamic as she was, Professor Sidiga Abdul Rahim Washi briskly and suddenly passed away of a heart attack while she was taking part in an international conference on nutrition in Africa in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa last Wednesday.
Professor Washi was a source of pride for the Sudanese women domestically and in the global forums as she was elected as the first African and Arab chairperson of the Germany-based International Federation of Home Economics for four years in 2016. She was the first African person to assume this office throughout the 108-year of the organization's lifespan.
She served as Chairperson of Equality Now’s Board of Trustees, and acted as Treasurer of the Africa Board.
The late Professor was awarded the Glenn Murphy International Award by the Women’s Club at her alma mater Iowa State University for her role in support of women in the Sudan.
Announcing Professor Washi's death, Ahfad University said: "Sidiga lived faithful to her affiliation to the Sudanese values and her career was a luminous example of a true Sudanese woman and a modest scholar. She entertained an amicable company with a constant smile on her attractive face. She used to treat everyone in esteem and respect."
Washi joined Ahfad University as an adult student in 1981 in the Family Sciences School. She then travelled with her husband Major General Mohamed Yusuf al-Zubair when he was seconded for service with the army of Qatar where Washi completed her university studies.
Late Washi obtained a Master's degree in nutrition and domestic economy in Iowa University, USA, before returning to Ahfad University as a lecturer. She obtained the PhD in 1992 in family sciences, community nutrition specialization in the same university. Prof. Washi served as the Ahfad’s dean of the Family/Health Sciences School from 1993 until 1997 when she was seconded to the University of King Saud, in Riyadh for five years as associate teacher and head of the nutrition section of the Faculty of Agriculture. She was then seconded to the United Arab Emirates University as a teacher of nutrition during 2009-2014 and came back to Ahfad to serve as a nutrition teacher as well as a director of the quality control office of the university.
Professor Washi also served as a director of the joint reproductive health project of the University of Ahfad and the UN Population Fund.
She left behind more than 50 research works published in local, regional and international specialized scientific magazines.
Late Washi served as a consultant to numerous local, regional and international organizations as well as UN agencies. She had a wide activity in the woman and gender development and served as a chairperson of the Sudanese organization for environment and nutrition and an assistant in the executive office of the nutrition organization for North Africa and the Middle East.
Speaking about Professor Washi, The Director of Ahfad University, Professor Gassim Badry, said: "Throughout her career, Sidiga was characterized by seriousness and abidance by the high professional standards besides her vivacity and participation in all activities of the university, day and night. She was friendly and cordial to everyone and treated everybody in good behavior."
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