In memoriam: Selim Iltus

Published July 16, 2015

On Sunday July 12th our friend and colleague Selim Iltus passed away at the age of just 60. We are all deeply saddened by this profound and sudden loss. Selim – as we had the privilege of knowing first hand – was the kindest of men.

He was passionate about a child’s right to play and particularly concerned with the experience of young children growing up in cities around the world. Before he left the Foundation in March, I had the chance to speak to Selim about our emerging work on urban planning.

He was immensely pleased that the Foundation had chosen to focus on this aspect of early childhood development. I told him that he deserved the credit as it was his advocacy over the years that put it so squarely on our agenda. He agreed.

In this spirit, I hope that the work we do in the coming years will do justice and pay homage to his contributions and his legacy.

Selim was known for many things at the Foundation, among them his famous cartoon strip ‘the Foundation’. During difficult times he provided colleagues incredibly important moments of laughter and levity. When I heard the news on Monday, I spent some time thinking about what I would miss most. Indeed, for me, Selim’s ability to tackle difficult issues with sharp intellect and a wonderful sense of humour was truly a treasure.

He will be deeply missed.

Michael Feigelson
Executive Director, Bernard van Leer Foundation