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PANDE Aakanksha Pande "Aaka" Loving daughter, doting sister, beloved wife, dedicated mother and an expert on global public health policy died on July 21, 2018 in Bali, Indonesia. Aaka was born in Calcutta, India. As a child, her innate empathy shone bright; she adopted the stray dogs in her neighborhood in Bombay and stood outside temples to raise alms to feed them. Her intellectual commitment to alleviating suffering led her to complete an undergraduate degree at Yale College in molecular biology; a PhD in public health at Harvard University; and a fellowship at the University of Cambridge. Her infectious enthusiasm for learning and caring interactions led her to receive the Dean's Award for Excellence in Student Teaching at the Harvard Kennedy School. With her heart, intellect, and joyous personability, she embarked on a life-long calling at the World Bank to provide the neediest among us with access to healthcare. Her work spanned improving health outcomes for refugees in the Middle East; bolstering the capacity of female health workers in rural Pakistan; and combating the spread of infectious disease in Africa. Most recently, she spearheaded a signature World Bank initiative that is providing quality and affordable healthcare to the millions of Syrian refugees in Jordan. Her focus on redressing injustice and living a life of impact was as unerring as it was inspiring. Aaka defied time, distance, weather and all other natural forces to care for her loved ones. She was the first responder at any celebration or emergency. She once travelled all the way from Washington, DC. to New York to give her brother a bowl of soup when he had the flu. She was the glue in her own and her husband's family; they cannot imagine a gathering without her sense of fun, humility, confidence, and passion radiating in the room. Aaka had an almost 20-year romance with her husband who she met his first week as an undergraduate and who serenaded her under her window shortly thereafter. They defied doubts about a Hindu-Muslim marriage and hostilities between India and Pakistan following an attack to celebrate their wedding in Lahore and Delhi in 2008. In 2015, with the first snowflakes of the new year, they were blessed with a son who they named, Aman - "peace" in Urdu and Hindi - for the promise of a brighter future. Aaka is survived by her husband, Ziad Haider and their son, Aman Pande Haider; her parents, Girija and Bharoti Pande, brother, Rahul Pande (Aura Taylor, Naya), mother-in-law, Farzana Haider, brother-in-law, Jawad Haider (Colette, Zara, Sikander, Cyrus), and sister-in-law, Aysha Haider (Sunil Shahzad, Jehan Haider Sunil, Hayat Haider Sunil). A funeral service was held on July 23, 2018 in Singapore accompanied by spontaneous memorial services in Washington, DC and New York organized by her friends and colleagues. The world is poorer for Aaka's passing. She will be profoundly missed, even as her love and light will always be cherished.

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Published in The Washington Post on Aug. 23, 2018.
Memories & Condolences
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28 entries
August 17, 2020
Aaka, you are missed a lot. We miss your positive energy.
Khalid Moheyddeen
August 17, 2020
As I am getting ready to retire, and thus looking back to all those memorable moments in my Bank career, I could not think of another person whose memories will remain with me forever.
Enis Baris
September 15, 2018
My deepest condolences to Ziad, Aman and family.
Chaula Gupta
September 7, 2018
I will always remember Aakanksha for the smile that touched her eyes and the warmth and sincerity that was her hallmark. My grief on her being snatched away from this world will never grow old. She was an unmatched original. I can never forget the dreams that she and Ziad had for better relations between India and Pakistan, dreams that I share. And, in a more global context, in her concern for peace and the alleviation of suffering, she was a true humanitarian who understood the need for a better interface between development and humanitarian work. Whatever Aaka touched, she adorned. Goodbye, my young friend, you will always be missed.
August 30, 2018
Dear Aaka, You will be greatly missed, but will remain in our hearts forever. Thoughts and prayers are with the family. Rest in perfect peace, my dear friend.
Kelechi Ohiri
August 29, 2018
I only met Aaka once a couple of years ago when Ziad was visiting NJ with her and Aman. She was such a beautiful person and very loving. Whatever i knew about her was through my cousin Farzana, Ziad's mother. She always praised her. Everyone in the family was shocked by her sudden demise. Ziad, may Allah strengthen you and your family and may you find courage to face the days ahead without her. Please accept my sincere condolences.You and Aman are in my prayers.
Huma Ahmed
August 28, 2018
Rest in Peace our dear friend and sister. Aaka will be missed here in Jordan a lot.
Khalid Moheyddeen
August 28, 2018
You made such a lasting impression Aaka during the 2017 Global Flagship when I first met you...as a global health professional, a trainer, a World bank staff member, a woman, and an Indian...you will be missed.
Sheena Chhabra
August 24, 2018
My deepest condolences to the family.
August 23, 2018
Dear, dear Ziad, I got home from a meeting today and Hoyt told me he had some very sad news. We are shocked and sorrowful for you and your son. We are traveling to Asia in September with a stop in Singapore. If you can manage it, we would like to see you and your boy and hold you both in our arms. Love, M.E., and H.
Mary Ellen Sweeney
August 23, 2018
Rest in Peace and love and light to your family. May their spirits be lifted by the warm memories of their time with you.
Rolande Pryce
August 23, 2018
You will be missed and live on in our memories, Aaka.
Ajay Tandon
August 23, 2018
For all of Aaka's professional accomplishments, what I most remember is the joy on her face when she mentioned her son Aman. Rest in peace, Aaka. Heartfelt condolences to Ziad, Aman and family.
August 23, 2018
I worked with Aaka at the World Bank. She and I spoke regularly about how the Bank could work effectively in war zones and combat areas. I was truly struck by her passion and zeal to help the besieged populations in Syria. She was relentless in championing that cause. She used her deep knowledge and the courage of her convictions to advance the cause. I will never forget how she explained the dire healthcare situation in Alleppo and desperately wanted to do something about it.

Aaka's radiance, energy, smile, and enthusiasm were infectious. She was such a great colleague and the Bank has a lost a tireless champion for its development mission.

The Aaka, I knew, was an optimist. So my tribute to her would be to spread her zestful enthusiasm for life and work.

No one can wipe away that smile from her face. And that is how I will remember and celebrate her life's work.
Vikram Raghavan
August 23, 2018
Aaka's dancing eyes, infectious smile, intellectual integrity and good nature will always be remembered. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.
Rama Lakshminarayanan
August 23, 2018
Aaka's early departure is utmost saddening. Remembering her vibrant and gentle soul, as well as her deep passion and amazing intellect continues to be an inspiring force for many of us.

"Hey, if God will send his angels"

My most heartfelt condolences to Ziad, Aman, and family.
Leonardo Cubillos
August 23, 2018
August 23, 2018
What an untimely and tragic loss for her friends and colleagues alike, and for the global public health community of someone what had both passion and professionalism in making the lives of the most disenfranchised better! You will always be remembered my dear Aaka!
Enis Bar
August 23, 2018
Sameh El-Saharty
August 23, 2018
Heartfelt condolences to the family. Even those of us who only knew her for a few years in school remember the wonderful friend and inspiring role model.
Abhimanyu R
August 23, 2018
Aaka's presence is sorely missed already. Her dedication, enthusiasm, dependability, rigor, spontaneity, empathy and sheer brilliance continues to inspire the many lives she came in touch with. It is hard to believe that she is no longer with us.

Rest in peace, dear Aaka.

Deepest condolences, Ziad, Aman and family.
Somil Nagpal
August 23, 2018
Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always.
August 23, 2018
It is an unimaginable tragedy to lose Aaka. My deepest condolences to her family.
Siddhartha Raja
August 23, 2018
You will not be forgotten. Thank you
August 23, 2018
Aaka continues in our memories and thoughts. A shining star of what a human being can become. She is grievously missed.
Barry Kellman
August 23, 2018
Aaka was a wonderful person. She is missed. May her soul rest in peace.
Seemeen Saadat
August 23, 2018
Heartfelt condolences, Ziad.
Ricky Beyer
August 23, 2018
Gokarna Gharti Chhetri
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