April Tash Passed Away at Age 56

By the family

July 12, 2023: April Tash, Esq., a distinguished international lawyer and passionate advocate for human rights, passed away in France at the age of 56.

Known for her sense of humor, optimism, and ability to connect with people from all walks of life, April possessed an intuitive understanding of others and offered guidance, emphasizing the power of positive thinking, even in the final weeks before her death in Paris on April 17, 2023, from complications of breast cancer.

Born on April 4, 1967, in New York City, April was the cherished daughter of the late Johanna Winter and Robert Clark Tash, Ph.D. Her mother, a Dutch native, organized family life and introduced April to many interests, including art, architecture, music and sailing. While her father, a professor of sociology as well as the author of “Dutch Pluralism: A Model in Tolerance for Developing Democracies,” kept April aware of world events and provided early career guidance.

April was raised in Bronxville, N.Y., where she attended the local public school. She benefited in high school from the experience of traveling, including a youth exchange program in Japan as a winner of the YFU Japan-US Senate award. She inherited her parents' passion for international human rights and their commitment to social change, which led her to major in social studies at Harvard University.

During her student years, April was keen on intramural rowing, joined the Harvard Lampoon, and made many enduring friendships.

After graduating cum laude in 1989, she earned a diploma in European Regional Integration from the University of Amsterdam. She then attended Columbia Law School, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law and received her J.D. in 1993.

April’s studies coincided with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Treaty on European Union, the prison release of Nelson Mandela in South Africa and the end of Apartheid. Those world events reinforced April’s ideals and career ambition.

After three years at the law firm Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam, and Roberts (now Pillsbury), April followed her dream of living and working in Europe. In 1997 she received a Fulbright Fellowship to study at Leuven University in Belgium. A year later, as a dual national of the United States and the Netherlands - and with a firm belief that she would “find something” - she moved to Paris.

She soon found work at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), first as a senior policy analyst and later as a legal analyst.

In the early 2000’s, April taught undergraduate and post-graduate courses in international relations and comparative law at the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (Sciences Po), and the University of Paris (II) Pantheon–Assas. In 2003, she began a two-decade tenure with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), where she championed the human right to science by promoting bioethics standards in developing countries worldwide.

In 2008, she contributed significantly to an initiative aimed at working to empower member states' research capacities. From 2012 to 2017, April coordinated work for bioethics/ethics of science capacity building, establishing national advisory committees within eight African countries. Most remarkably, she is credited with concluding a consensus agreement among some 195 states for specific content for the human right to science and standards of scientific freedom. Adopted as the “Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers” (2017).

2017 was a pivotal year for April. She was the specialist lead for very contentious multi-state negotiations on basic principles to guide further negotiations related to climate change and this was adopted as the “Declaration of Ethical Principles in relation to Climate Change.”

Throughout her time at UNESCO, April played an active role in numerous key events covering a wide range of topics such as bioethics, gender equality, ethics of science and technology and human rights. She also contributed to many specialized agency publications, including works in 2021 on patenting of intellectual property and cost-cutting strategic technologies. Her work was effective.

Just before she left UNESCO, due to ill health, her projects attracted donations larger than her department’s starting annual budget.

April enjoyed listening to jazz and folk music and playing a game or a good puzzle. Friends often remarked on her radiant smile, a feature that seems to be ever-present in her photographs.

An accomplished artist, April had a flair for playfulness and a keen eye for color. She had a talent for discovering exceptional and enviable living spaces, ranging from a law school studio overlooking the American Museum of Natural History in New York City to a houseboat in Paris on the Seine, and finally, her weekend house in Villecerf, just south of Paris.

April is survived by her greatest source of joy, her daughter Emma Didierjean, born in 2007, who fondly said of her mother, “She introduced me to everything I love.”

April also leaves behind her ex-partner, Olivier Didierjean (Paris) and three siblings: Christine Tash (New York), Jennifer Tash-O'Toole (Glen Rock, New Jersey), and Dr. Timothy Tash (Newport, Rhode Island); as well as five nieces and nephews: Emmett, Eva, Mathilde, Terence, and Julia.

A Memorial Reception was held Thursday, June 29, 2023 from 5-8 p.m. at The Culture Center, 410 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024. R.S.V.P by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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