[dehai-news] (HR) U.S. diplomat's death in Ethiopia being investigated as homicide

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From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (eritrea.lave@comhem.se)
Date: Fri Feb 06 2009 - 05:13:02 EST

Alum dies in Ethiopia, officials suspect homicide

2007 Elliott School graduate worked in Foreign Service

by Carly Lagrotteria and Sarah Scire

Hatchet Reporters, Issue: 2/5/09 2/5/09 | News
A GW alumnus working for the State Department was found dead in Ethiopia
this week and U.S. government officials say his death is being
investigated as a homicide.
Brian Adkins, who graduated in 2007, worked for the State Department as
a Foreign Service officer stationed in Ethiopia's capital city, Addis
Ababa. Representatives from the State Department said Wednesday that
Adkins died on Saturday, but would not give further details because it
was an ongoing homicide investigation.
Adkins, who would have turned 26 on Feb. 2, completed both his
undergraduate and graduate studies at GW, graduating summa cum laude as
an international affairs major from the Elliott School of International
Affairs in 2005. He joined the State Department after receiving his
master's degree in 2007 and was assigned to Ethiopia.
After studying the indigenous language and culture for nearly a year,
Adkins moved to Ethiopia as part of a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign
Affairs Fellowship.
John Wysham, head of the Ethiopia desk at the State Department, said he
was unable to provide details about Adkins' death or the homicide
"The trouble here is that it is a crime scene we are talking about,"
Wysham said. "It wasn't like he fell off a rock and hit his head."
He added, "We'd love to talk about it and stop some of these rumors but
we cannot."
Wysham said that he has been in contact with the Ethiopian embassy and
Ethopian police forces about the ongoing investigation.
A Foreign Service officer also stationed in Africa is planning to
accompany Adkins' body from Ethiopia to the United States, Wysham said.
The casket will be transported by military aircraft.
Ginny Boncy, a member of the State Department's casualty assistance
department, said Adkins was in the first year of his assignment and
performing consular work for the State Department.
Consular work typically includes providing services like assisting
Americans in distress and handling visas and passports.
Though Adkins' father could not be reached for comment, senior Michael
Geremia, one of Adkins' best friends, described the Ohio native as
"selfless, hardworking, confident, funny, charming, articulate, a
scholar and a gentleman."
"The world has lost someone who had so much to offer. I miss him
tremendously," Geremia said. "When I received word of his death on
Monday, which would have been his 26th birthday, a piece of me died in
Geremia said that he last spoke to Adkins on Sunday, Jan. 25, when the
two friends started to plan Adkins' summer vacation in D.C.
"He was so excited to be in Africa serving his country as a diplomat,
promoting American values," Geremia said. "As much as he loved his
career, he missed the U.S."
Geremia said that despite the trials of living abroad, Adkins was
optimistic about his future as a diplomat.
"Whenever I would urge him to be safe, he would reassure me that
Ethiopia was safer than D.C.," Geremia said.
As a student in Foggy Bottom, Adkins was a leader at the Knights of
Columbus and the Newman Center, two organizations devoted to the
Catholic faith.
He served as a trustee and held several officer positions with the
Knights, including chancellor in charge of membership. After graduating,
Adkins served as state ceremonial chairman and district warren for the
Knights. In 2007, he was named Knight of the Year in D.C.
"He was friendly to everyone, incredibly devoted to his faith, and
always willing to volunteer and give of himself," said senior Conrad
Murphy, a former grand knight. "When he left for Ethiopia, we found that
it took at least three of us just to fill his shoes."
Friends and fellow members of the Knights of Columbus, including Murphy,
said Adkins will be remembered as incredibly intelligent and always
working to master a new language. He spoke French, Arabic and Amharic,
the official working language of Ethiopia.
Tom Saccoccia, a fellow 2007 alumnus and close friend, said Adkins will
also be remembered for his humility.
"He just wasn't a credit grabber, even though he did everything,"
Saccoccia said. "He was just an all-around good guy."
Adkins was a native of Columbus, Ohio. A Rite of Christian Burial is
planned in his honor at St. Mary's Church in his hometown.
 Brian Adkins


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