Nina Brekelmans Memorial Scholarship Fund
Organized by: Rob Brekelmans
Nina Brekelmans passed away tragically at the age of 25, in a house fire in Washington, DC on June 3. The Georgetown University Center for Contemporary Arab Studies has established the Nina Brekelmans Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund to continue Nina’s legacy of promoting the empowerment of women in the Middle East through athletics.
Nina led by example through her tireless dedication and high achievement. As a lover of foreign languages and cultures, she fully immersed herself in Spanish by living in Mexico and then Arabic by studying in Egypt and Jordan, seeking out new cultural experiences and developing wide-reaching friendships. A lifelong athlete, she discovered her love of distance running in college, walking on to the Dartmouth College Varsity team and joining the Georgetown Running Club in Washington, DC. And, of course, she was famous for her smile, which would light up her whole face and gave a window into her cheerful, positive personality.
Her conviction led her to feel a responsibility to contribute to any community she was a part of. She helped organise a conference connecting homeless shelters across Vermont and New Hampshire, coordinated health outreach efforts to Syrian refugees in Jordan, and volunteered with the after school running charity Girls on the Run. After completing a Master’s in Arab Studies at Georgetown University, specializing in women’s issues, Nina was awarded a Fulbright grant to research female distance runners in Jordan.
She was friendly, warm, and loyal, often not realising just how many people her love touched. She willingly gave her time to others, but was so humble that people from one area of her life often were unaware of her accomplishments in the other realms.
Further tributes can be read in Runner’s World magazine and various newspapers below. Please feel free to contact Rania Kiblawi at Georgetown University as well, at firstname.lastname@example.org.