In Memoriam: Margaret Ishiyama Raffin

ALA celebrates the life and leadership of Ms. Margaret Raffin, a steadfast supporter who passed away peacefully on 3 April 2021.

Francis Ekii, Network Coordinator stationed in Uganda for ALA

Margaret was a friend and counsel to ALA’s founders from the earliest days of the ALA journey. In Margaret, we saw a model our values of integrity, humility, curiosity, compassion, diversity, and excellence. She carried a profound conviction in the power and potential of Africa’s youth.

Under Margaret’s leadership, the Ishiyama Foundation supported student scholarships at ALA since our founding. One Ishiyama scholar, Francis Ekii ’10 of Uganda, remembers Margaret this way:

“Margaret Raffin was a dear friend, mentor and supporter to me. Margaret was truly a special person with a unique fondness for Africa. She held high hopes for the continent. I remember with much fondness her concern for my wellbeing, which saw her mail me a sweater and rain jacket when I arrived in the United States to attend the College of Wooster. She wanted to make sure that my first winter wouldn’t be tough. She supported my leadership and personal development in many ways, and even came to my college graduation. She was truly inspirational and is dearly missed.”

We are grateful to have had Margaret share in the celebration of our flourishing community in 2018, when she and daughter Lizzy Raffin attended ALA’s Decennial celebration. While there is much work ahead to bring ALA’s vision for Africa to life, we know that we would not have weathered the difficulties of our early years without supporters like Margaret.

Our founders mourn the loss of an inspirational friend whose conviction in our work never wavered. Our Ishiyama Scholars look forward to bringing Margaret’s vision to life for years to come. She modeled humble excellence, deep conviction, and global citizenship in ways in which we all aspire.

The obituary for Ms. Raffin can be found here.