ICTP was saddened to hear of the passing of Assia Harbi, a long-time ICTP Associate and more recently a Simons fellow in Seismology.
Assia Harbi was affiliated with the Algerian Centre of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Geophysics in Algeria, where she was a research director in seismology. Her research focussed on the re-evaluation of North African destructive historical earthquakes, integrating history, geology and physics to better constraint the level of seismic hazard in Northern Africa. She believed that studying historical earthquakes in the developing world where historical observations were important and freely accessible was a way to counterbalance the absence or the difficult access to instrumental data.
During her ICTP visits as an Associate, Harbi always involved a young North African PhD student in each of her visits, some being her own students and others coming from different countries in North Africa. Her goal was to help young master and PhD students from all North African countries and expose them to international science.
Her contribution to capacity building in North Africa is unique. She coordinated the NAGET network of science - North African Group for Earthquake and Tsunami studies (naget.ictp.it). NAGET (formerly North African Seismology Group, NASG) was founded in 2000 at ICTP. It is a collaboration of researchers from leading universities and research institutions in North Africa. In the framework of NAGET, Harbi contributed as PI and co-PI of several international projects, always involving students and early career scientists. She was also a co-founder and promoter of the African seismology commission.
The passing of Harbi is a terrible loss for ICTP, for North Africa and for the African seismology community.