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Friday, February 01, 2008

Inna Lillah e......: Arif Ali of AP London Dies at 46

I wonder if any major media covered this?-t

LONDON — Arif Ali, regional product director for Europe, Middle East and Africa for The Associated Press, died of cancer at his home Thursday. He was 46.

Known within the AP for his courage under fire and the depth of his commitment, Ali was honored in 2007 with a Gramling Award, the news agency's top staff award for overseeing the creation and implementation of new AP services.

Over the past year, he shepherded the creation of the Arabic text service for the AP.

"Arif had been battling with cancer for a long time and during that time and numerous hospital visits, he never stopped working," said AP Vice President Nick Evansky. "His professionalism, commitment, enthusiasm for the AP, its customers and his job never wavered."

Born on June 21, 1961, in Pakistan, Ali joined AP London in October 1982 as a field service technician.

His many assignments included a stint running AP technical operations in Somalia as clan warfare tore the country apart in the 1990s. Ali faced the task of keeping generators, satellite phones and satellite systems up and running — all of which make it possible for the AP to bring news to the world.

"Arif embodied the can-do spirit of the AP," said Nick Tatro, deputy international editor who was with Arif in Somalia. "He kept everything running in Somalia despite the complete lack of infrastructure and some very serious violence right outside the front door."

Later, Ali helped run other mammoth technical operations, such as the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, and the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

He was manager for a variety of major AP technical projects: for AP Server, 1995-2003; project manager for AP Photo Archive, 1995-1999; director of photo technology 1999-2003; and product manger for eAP and eDistribute, 2003-2004.

"Arif had been seriously ill for some time, but had bravely been continuing his work," Mark Atkins, AP's director of Global Internal Support, said in a message to the London staff. "His fortitude was an example to us all."

Around the AP, he was always known for his impish sense of fun and self-deprecating sense of humor.

And always, always, it was the clothes. In a business populated by casual dressers, Ali drew admirable stares in the hallways for immaculately laundered shirts, cuff links and suits fresh from the pages of style magazines.

Latin American Regional Director Roland Rochet recalled that he eagerly anticipated what Ali might wear after being challenged to a racquetball game during to a visit to New Jersey.

"Needless to say, he did not surprise me," Rochet recalled. "He came smartly dressed in all white attire!"

Ali is survived by his wife, Hina. A funeral service was held Thursday in Slough, west of London.


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