McGill education professor Jacqueline Kirk was shot and killed in southern Afghanistan by Taliban militants on Aug. 13, along with two other passengers and a driver.
Forty-year-old Kirk was working as an education-programs adviser with the humanitarian International Rescue Committee (IRC), which sponsored schools in Afghanistan and has since suspended its programs in the country.
At McGill, Kirk was an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Education and had served as a research associate at the Centre for Research and Teaching on Women. She developed expertise in “gender and teacher education in emergency education, education in conflict and in post-conflict contexts. She focused particularly on adolescent girls’ and young women’s education.”
Kirk earned her PhD from McGill in 2002, and her dissertation focused on female teachers in Pakistan.
Canwest reported that Kirk travelled to Afghanistan “several times a year for weeks at a time.” Other media found that Afghanistan was only one of several countries in which Kirk worked on education issues. She had also travelled to Zambia, Lebanon, Rwanda, Pakistan, southern Sudan, Indonesia, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and Ethiopia. She was said to be travelling to the Jordan/Syrian border next, and then to Thailand.
Three others killed were fellow Canadian Shirley Case, Nicole Dial from Trinidad and Tobago and IRC driver Mohammad Aimal.
The Telegraph reported that 23 aid workers have been killed in the war-torn country this year, eight more than were killed in 2007.