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Commemoration of Caian PhD student Tammy Chen

  • 26 October 2017

A Commemoration of the life of Tammy Chen, a Caian PhD student killed in a terrorist attack in Burkina Faso, was held in the College Chapel on Saturday 28 October. The event celebrated her life, and all were welcome to attend. The order of service can be found here.

A book of condolence for Tammy, signed by friends and colleagues, was presented to her family after the event.

Tammy, a Canadian, was finishing a PhD at Caius in International Development, focusing on poverty, gender and women’s empowerment. She was among 18 people killed on 13 August 2017 in a shooting at a restaurant in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso. Tammy, 33, was volunteering in the west African country. Her Senegalese husband Mehsen Fenaiche, whom she had married only a month before, also died in the attack.

The Master of Caius, Professor Sir Alan Fersht, paid tribute to her as "an exceptional woman, very active in the Caius graduate community and passionate about her research and helping people. She had so much to offer the world and it is a tragedy for her to be lost so young".

From 2011, Tammy co-founded and ran a Canadian registered charity called Bright Futures of Burkina Faso, which sought to extend both education and microcredits to women in some of the poorest parts of the world. During her time at Caius, she gave a memorable and inspiring talk to graduates and Fellows on how the shea butter industry was empowering women in Burkina Faso.

The College has pledged to set up a graduate studentship in Tammy’s name to encourage future students to make an impact at Caius and in the wider world. The Tammy Chen Fund will support students in the Humanities at Caius who will be known as “Tammy Chen Graduate Students”. The studentships will be open to anyone in the world, provided they show the requisite academic merit.

Donations are invited from members of the Caius community and beyond - more information is available here. The College hopes that the first Tammy Chen Graduate Student will begin their studies at Caius in October 2018.


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