November 11, 2004

Cornell Alum Killed in Ivory Coast Violence

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Cornell almnus Robert Carsky, a 49-year old soil scientist, was killed Saturday in the Ivory Coast by an Ivorian warplane firing on French troops, sent to the country with United Nations forces as peacekeepers. Carsky was working to provide humanitarian aid, according to the Associated Press.

“Everyone is saddened by Carsky’s death because he was doing such noble work,” said Blaine Freedlander of Cornell News Service. “Speaking on behalf of the Cornell community, we would like to extend our sincerest condolences to his family.”

After spending his undergraduate career at Colgate University, Carsky left his home in upstate New York to join the Peace Corps.

Carsky spent fours years teaching in the Congo before returning to receive a doctoral degree in agronomy from Cornell. His thesis was published in 1989. Carsky met his wife, Rebecca Khelsaeu, while studying at the University.

After graduating, Carsky and his wife lived in Brazil, Cameroon, Benin, Mali and Nigeria. Carsky’s work eventually took him to the Ivory Coast, where he worked for the Africa Rice Center, or WARDA.

He was taking refuge in a building housing French soldiers when a surprise airstrike occurred, killing Carsky and nine French soldiers.

“It’s unimaginable,” Patricia Carsky, Robert’s mother, told the AP. “I keep thinking something will happen, that I’ll wake up and find out it’s just a dream. I guess that’s what they call denial.”

Archived article by Sun Staff