Louis Elton Kahn, former Education and Programs Director for the American Friends of Turkey (AFOT), passed away on August 26, 2020 in Washington DC.
Born April 10, 1933, Lou grew up in Napa, California, where his father was a Boy Scout executive and his mother a public health nurse. As a youth, Lou earned the Eagle Scout award. Lou graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a member of Alpha Phi Omega, the Arnold Air Society, and a flautist in the Cal Band, including the Straw-Hat Band and Baton, the band honor society. He received his Phi Beta Kappa award in 1954. After graduation, Lou enlisted in the US Army and played the flute in an Army band. Following his Army service, Lou traveled to Europe with the Cal Band, and visited Paris, Denmark, and Brussels. Lou found his band uniform got him free admission to the opera house, where he saw Tosca performed by the renowned La Scala Company of Milan, including Renata Tebaldi, Giuseppe Di Stefano, and Gianandrea Gavazzeni.
In 1958, Lou joined the US State Department as a career Foreign Service officer. Lou was selected to be a Turkish specialist based on his language skills, and was posted to Turkey several times, including Izmir, Ankara, and Istanbul. He was also fluent in French and was posted to Dakar, Senegal. His final overseas post was to the US Mission to the UN in Vienna, Austria. Lou then returned to the State Department in Washington, DC. He received the State Department’s Merit Honor in 1972. Lou retired from the State Department in 1988. He then served at the Justice Department, where he planned The International Conference of Appellate Court Judges. Following government service, Lou spent 17 years as the Education and Programs Director for the American Friends of Turkey (AFOT). For over a decade, Lou organized educational programs on Turkey at the Smithsonian Institution in a partnership between the American Friends of Turkey and the Smithsonian Associates.
The Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) expresses its deepest condolences to the Kahn Family.
Kahn was a true friend of Turkey and the Turkish people.