Tributes

Announcing the 2017 Nina Brekelmans Memorial Endowed Scholarship Recipient, Ghadeer Awwad

The 2017-2018 recipient of the Nina Brekelmans Memorial Endowed Scholarship is Ghadeer Awwad. Congratulations Ghadeer! 

Photo courtesy of Twitter

About Ghadeer

Ms. Ghadeer Awwad is the 2017-2018 Recipient of the Nina Brekelmans Endowed Memorial Scholarship at Georgetown’s Master of Arts in Arab Studies (MAAS) program. Ghadeer is originally from Nablus, Palestine and graduated from Earlham College in 2016. Her research interests at MAAS include women’s empowerment, conflict resolution, peacebuilding and human rights, and Palestinian society under Israeli occupation.

At the age of sixteen, Ghadeer Awwad was selected to represent her home country of Palestine at Pearson United World College in Canada, a two-year, pre-university school for students from over 100 countries who live, study and learn together while pursuing the International Baccalaureate. Leaving home at a young age allowed Ghadeer to expand her horizons and develop her identity as a Palestinian Arab woman. After graduating from Pearson College, Ghadeer joined the Union of Palestinian Women Committees as a member and volunteer in Nablus, Palestine. Being part of UPWC provided Ghadeer the opportunity to work closely with women from her own society and to contribute in the national struggle to establish an independent Palestinian State. In addition, hearing women voice their experiences showed Ghadeer the need to take a more critical approach to addressing gender issues in her community.

Following her work in Palestine, Ghadeer returned to North America to attend Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. At Earlham, Ghadeer double-majored in International Studies and Human Development, a combination that enabled her to study public policy with an eye toward issues of social justice. Ghadeer focused her academic research on truth recovery and transitional justice in post-conflict societies and on Palestinian women’s engagement in national resistance movements. During her undergraduate career Ghadeer took a gap semester to work with the Drama, Diversity, and Development project (DDD), which uses culture to promote diversity and challenge discrimination against minorities in the MENA region. Working with DDD provided Ghadeer with further opportunities to engage with women activists and civil-society experts fighting for equality in the MENA region.

Ghadeer aspires to work in the advocacy field and to continue working alongside disadvantaged women in areas affected by war and conflict, such as her native Palestine. To achieve this goal, Ghadeer plans to concentrate her graduate work in the MAAS program on women and development in the MENA region.

Thank you to everyone that made this possible!

-Biography courtesy of Georgetown University

2017 DC Run/Walk Hosted by Georgetown CCAS

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By Michael Brill, Foundation Advisor and Georgetown Alum (MAAS '16)

On March 19, 2016, nearly 200 runners came together on Georgetown University’s Copley Lawn for the Nina Brekelmans Memorial Scholarship 5k. It was a special day in which Nina’s spirit was powerfully felt: The race proceeds helped fund an endowed scholarship at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS). Meanwhile, the Nina Brekelmans Running Camp for Girls launched in Amman, Jordan.

April 23, 2017 will provide another opportunity to come together on the Georgetown campus in Nina’s memory. Nina’s professors from CCAS have organized a relaxed run and walk that will shine light on the progress that has been made to carry forward Nina’s vision. We will also be collecting donations for the running camp.

Beginning at 8:30 a.m., friends and colleagues will gather at the main CCAS suite, room 241 of the Bunn Intercultural Center (to reach CCAS, take the stairs or elevator down one floor after entering through the eastward-facing main entrance of the Intercultural Center building). After everyone has gathered in CCAS, there will be a community 5K run/walk starting at 9 a.m., followed by a breakfast and opportunity to share memories of Nina back at CCAS around 10 a.m.


Please RVSP at Eventbrite for this event.  We look forward to seeing you there!

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Announcing the 2016 Nina Brekelmans Memorial Endowed Scholarship Recipient, Samah Asfour

The 2016-2017 recipient of the Nina Brekelmans Memorial Endowed Scholarship is Samah Asfour. Congratulations Samah! 

 Photo by Douglas Levere, University at Buffalo

Photo by Douglas Levere, University at Buffalo

Born to Palestinian immigrant parents, Samah Asfour tailored her educational and career goals to reflect her Arab identity. At the University at Buffalo, Samah majored in Political Science and Global Gender Studies and minored in French.

To advance her language skills, Samah studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France. While there, she began conducting research for her honors thesis topic on the discrimination against Muslim women in France and their counter-public spheres.

Dedicated to alleviating poverty in the developing world, Samah co-founded an organization on campus under the mission to promote female education as a tool of empowerment. After graduating magna cum laude in May 2015, Samah embarked on a Fulbright assignment in Amman, Jordan where she lectured at Jordan Applied University.

During her year teaching business English and tourism English courses, Samah found time to improve her Modern Standard Arabic by taking classes at both the Qasid Institute and Ahlan Jordan. Samah volunteered with Madrasati, A Queen Rania Initiative, where she created and implemented interactive English games for elementary education.

As the first recipient of the Nina Brekelmans Memorial Endowed Scholarship, Samah plans to concentrate her graduate work on women and gender in the MENA region. She hopes to gain more knowledge on Arab-American identity, Islamic feminism, and women’s roles in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Thank you to everyone that made this possible!

 

  Samah and volunteers at the 2016 Nina Brekelmans Race for Girls in Amman, Jordan. 

Samah and volunteers at the 2016 Nina Brekelmans Race for Girls in Amman, Jordan.