One Year After Mali Hotel Attack, U.S. Victim's Legacy Grows

21 people were killed in the attack.

November 20, 2016, 7:30 PM

— -- In the year since Anita Datar was killed in an attack in which at least two gunmen took 170 people hostage at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali, the U.S. citizen has been repeatedly honored for the work that brought her to the West African nation, including the establishment of a fellowship to ensure her legacy lives on.

Datar, who was originally from western Massachusetts and grew up in New Jersey, dedicated her life to public service. At the time of the attack, in which 21 people were killed, Datar worked as a senior manager at the consulting firm Palladium Group. She was a founding board member of Tulalens, a non-profit "connecting underserved communities with quality health services."

In the past year, Datar’s family has continued to celebrate her memory.

Datar left behind one young son, and her ex-husband, David Garten, told ABC News that even though he is still coping with the loss, their son reminds him that the "world is a beautiful place and worth fighting for."

At the time of the attack, President Obama extended his condolences to victims, which included Datar's family.

"On behalf of the American people I want to extend our deepest condolences to the people of Mali and the victims and families, including at least one American," he said. "These were innocent people who had everything to live for, and they’ll be remembered for the joy and love that they brought to the world."

Since the attack, Datar has been recognized by many organizations for her public service. In February, the U.S. Senate passed by unanimous consent a resolution honoring Datar’s life, work and memory. Senate Resolution 347 was passed by Senator Corey Booker, who was joined by 15 Senate co-sponsors.

This past summer, Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) established the Anita Datar Fellowship Fund. Datar was a graduate of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The new fellowship will provide financial assistance to students working to advance international public health, particularly with women and children, in these programs.

"When I think about how to honor my son's mother, Anita Datar, on the anniversary of the attack that claimed her life, it's about him and a future that is not yet written," Garten told ABC News. "As he continues to grow, I want him to have the hope, strength, and courage to always keep moving forward in exploring the world in all its beauty. I can think of no greater tribute to his mother than that."

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