Gita Beker Busjeet (Bologna ' 04 and DC' 05) passed away on November 3rd, 2012, at the age of 30, after a valiant seven-year struggle against brain cancer. A citizen of the United States, the Netherlands and Mauritius, Gita led a productive life marked by courage, dedication and service to others until the very end.

After graduating from high school, she worked on community development in Namibia. Following her SAIS Bologna year, she spent the summer in Puno, Peru, above 5,000 meters in the Andes in a social environment much like the old Wild West mining towns, on a project to combat child labor in artisanal mining. From 2007 to 2012, Gita worked on monitoring and evaluation of economic and social programs: in the field with the Pinheiro Foundation in Minas Gerais, Brazil; at the World Bank in Washington DC; and at the oldest international women's funds worldwide, the Dutch organization Mama Cash in Amsterdam.

Gita's professors and friends remember her charm, enthusiasm and optimism. Following her premature death, her parents, classmates, friends and husband (Jeremy Brown, a SAIS alumnus), have decided to set up the the Gita Beker Busjeet Memorial Fellowship Fund to honor her memory. The Fund will support students at SAIS Bologna sharing her professional interests in economic and social development and the economic empowerment of women.

Since its inception, the initiative has had an incredible success and the initial long term goal - to raise $100,000 and create an endowment that will honor Gita's memory in perpetuity - has already been reached. Starting from Academic Year 2013-2014, each year SAIS Europe at Bologna will welcome a new Gita Beker Busjeet Memorial Fellowship recipient.

Since 2013, 5 students have benefitted from the Gita Beker Busjeet Memorial Fellowship: View Fellowship Recipients
This year, the Gita Beker Busjeet Memorial Fellowship recipient is Ms. Mende Yangden from Buhtan. View profile.

The initiative is ongoing, with the aim to increase the Fund to augment the yearly fellowship to align it with current tuition. On behalf of the SAIS Bologna Center and the Gita Beker Busjeet Fellowsip recipients, we thank you for your generosity!

Classmates and friends of Gita who are interested in joining the initiative should contact the Bologna Development Staff

Make a pledge and/or a gift now on our Online Donations page.

How to Make a Tax Deductible Donation