In memory of Professor Elijah Kehinde

It is with great sadness that we announce that our friend and colleague, Professor Elijah Kehinde, Professor of Surgery in the Nazarbayev University School of Medicine, and his wife, Dr Funmi Kehinde, and their two daughters Mojoyin and Grace passed away on July 14.

According to the RK Ministry of Internal Affairs Emergency committee, their deaths were the result of a fire in their apartment. A thorough investigation by the authorities on the causes of the tragic accident is under way. 

We send our condolences to Professor Kehinde’s extended family in Nigeria, the UK and the USA.  We also send condolences Elijah’s many international friends, colleagues, patients, collaborators, students and admirers.

Professor Kehinde joined NUSOM in June 2016. In his one year with us, he generated a significant impact as a teacher, a researcher, an advocate for academic integrity, and as a surgeon who was sympathetic, caring, honest and highly intelligent.

Elijah was devoted to his family, especially his four daughters, of whom he was extremely proud. Last year, he was thrilled to become a grandparent for the first time.

In his spare time, he was a mentor to many medical professionals around the world.

Born in Nigeria, Elijah completed his MBBS at the University of Ibadan Medical School, then completed a Diploma of Urology at University of London. In 1990, Elijah became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (London) and a Fellow of the Medical College of Surgeons of Nigeria. He was awarded Doctor of Medicine (by thesis) by the University of Leicester, UK in 1998.

His distinguished medical career took him from Nigeria to the UK, and later to Oman and Kuwait, and then to Kazakhstan. Throughout his career, Elijah held senior academic, research and clinical posts.

As a newcomer to Kazakhstan, Elijah delighted many colleagues with his love of Kazakh language. He took every opportunity to practice his Kazakh language skills. With laughter and self-deprecating good humour, he broke down language and cultural barriers.

His modesty and humility shaped his approach to his professional life and enabled him to develop genuine connections with his Kazakh colleagues, patients, students and his church community.

Here in Astana, Elijah was an active contributor to his church fellowship study groups. In the many homes which he visited, he was well known for his respect and politeness to the smallest child as well as the most elderly family member.

Elijah came to Kazakhstan because he had a long standing career goal to “help establish, together with others, a world class medical school, cancer research center and a reputable teaching hospital”.

Over his career, he was awarded many research grants and he received numerous acknowledgements of his intellect, his conscientiousness and his expertise as a university teacher and as a surgeon.  Even so, he was modest about his accomplishments and preferred to celebrate the success of others.

Nazarbayev University is planning a memorial service on campus.

The University is also considering other ways to honour Elijah’s brief but extraordinary contribution to our academic community.

The details will be available as soon as possible and after consultation with family members.

Farewell Professor Elijah Kehinde.

His unique blend of intellectual brilliance, modesty and humour will live on in his colleagues, students, collaborators and many friends all over the world.

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