In memory of our Foundation Board Chair, Atze Sybrandy
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by TIM REED
We will greatly miss the Chair of our Foundation Board, Atze Sybrandy, who passed away peacefully on 21 December.
We are immensely saddened by the passing of our Foundation Board Chair, Atze Sybrandy, who died peacefully in his sleep on 21 December, 2014. He was just 61.
Atze was a specialist in Human Resources (HR). In fact, he joined Health Action International as its HR Advisor in 1997. His unwavering belief in our efforts to increase access to essential medicines and improve their rational use resulted in his decision to join the HAI Board in 2004. Three years later, he became Chair of the HAI Foundation Board.
Atze genuinely cared about—and for—people. He made a point of getting to know each and every member of staff, and he empowered and appreciated their work. He made a unique contribution to our cause by ensuring HR policy was informing a trained, professional and protected HAI staff. And under his leadership, we have been successful in transforming HAI’s credibility and impact.
Not only did Atze share his expertise with HAI—he offered it to people throughout the world. He worked on humanitarian aid missions in numerous countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. In fact, Atze had just completed a mission in Myanmar in December and was set to start a new one in Liberia with Save the Children UK’s Ebola team. In the most difficult of circumstances, where development assistance and emergency aid are at their most vital—in disasters, post-war situations, in health crises—that’s where HR is needed most. Atze recognised this and was always prepared to help.
The funeral for Atze was held on 29 December. We remembered him through photos, stories and music. Casual dress and colour were required—after all, that’s exactly how Atze would have wanted it.
During this difficult time, we send Atze’s family, Daan, Maaike and Johanna our deepest condolences. We hope they find peace in knowing how much we, here at HAI, valued his expertise, generosity, kindness and friendship. We will miss him greatly.