A Passionate Educator Leaves Us Too Soon: In Memory of Haiyan Hua

September 29th, 2021 | News


We are deeply saddened by the death of Haiyan Hua, a global education pioneer and World Education vice president for Africa. 

Haiyan loved learning and enabling others to learn. He was a professor and senior researcher at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for more than 18 years, shepherding a generation of young professionals who have dedicated their lives to improving education systems around the world. Haiyan spent many summers at Harvard training officers from UNESCO, USAID, and UNICEF, including many who continue to cite his influence on their work. He brought his expertise and empowering approach to development work to World Education and was beloved by his staff as a trusted mentor.

Haiyan joined World Education in 2008 as a senior advisor and drove efforts to examine and evaluate how and why children fail in school and how education systems can be strengthened, particularly in countries in the Middle East and Africa. 

Appointed vice president for the Africa Division in 2015, Haiyan oversaw activities in ten countries, striving to improve learning outcomes for children, strengthen family economic opportunity, increase community engagement around education, and build an evidence base for policy advocacy through research and improved use of data in government systems

While at World Education, he was noted for his work with the Jordanian Ministry of Education looking at the gender gap in student achievement. Additionally, he supported the Egyptian Ministry of Education to reform their education system by institutionalizing data-based policy development and institutional decision-making. 

Haiyan’s pioneering capacity building work with ministries on their Education Management Information Systems (EMIS) continues to influence education systems to this day. He worked with ministries of education to develop and strengthen their institutional capacity in educational policy planning, research and evaluation, and data for decision making. 

“Haiyan was a terrific, smart leader who was respected by clients, partners, and most importantly, our staff, whom he mentored and guided,” commented World Education president, Joel Lamstein. “He will be missed for his dedication and thoughtful approaches to improving people’s lives.”

Haiyan Hua grew up in Wuhan, China, and earned a BA from the Huazhong Normal University. He received his Master of Education and Ph.D. in International Education Policy and Research from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Read the remembrance from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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