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Nadia M. Rubaii, PhD

On Saturday, March 12, 2022, Nadia Rubaii, beloved daughter, sister and friend, passed away at the age of 57. Nadia’s death resulted from a sudden cardiac arrest she suffered the previous week. Nadia was born on June 13, 1964, to Sandra Pollack and Mahdi Rubaii in Cortland, NY.

Nadia was an adventurer, always willing to try new things. As a teenager, she became a black belt in karate; as a young adult, she trained dogs and both competed in and judged dog agility trials across the U.S., Canada and in Europe. Eventually, many of her adventures were for the benefit of others: she summited Mt. Kilimanjaro as part of a fundraising effort for a school in Tanzania, she participated in bicycle events to support local food banks and diabetes services and, annually, she bicycled around Cayuga Lake to benefit the Southern Tier AIDS Program.

Professionally, Nadia received her Bachelors, Masters and PhD degrees in Political Science from Binghamton University before leaving to teach at New Mexico State University. After 15 years in New Mexico, Nadia returned to Binghamton University in 2004 to join the College of Community and Public Affairs (CCPA). She was a core member of CCPA, a prolific academic researcher, teacher and mentor.

Following a stint as a Fulbright Scholar in Colombia, Nadia became the coordinator of Binghamton University’s Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. She was the 2014 recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service and the 2015-2016 University Award for Excellence in International Education.

In 2016, Nadia became the co-developer and co-director of Binghamton University’s Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (I-GMAP). Nadia’s skills and values shaped and defined the Institute and its programs. She created and launched the world’s first and only professional Master of Science degree in Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention. She designed and implemented a Faculty Fellows Program, offering instruction in the essentials of genocide and mass atrocity prevention to Binghamton University professors across five colleges and over a dozen distinct disciplines – equipping faculty with an “atrocity prevention lens” to incorporate into their teaching and research.

Above all, Nadia’s lasting legacy is a global community of friends and colleagues, including current and former students. Nadia’s joyful way of living drew people to her. She made friendships easily, cared for them well and kept them long. She had among her network of friends everyone from refugees whom she helped come to the U.S. to Nobel laureates.

Nadia is survived by her mother, Sandra Pollack (Ana Zamora), her father, Mahdi Rubaii (Marsha Powell), her sister, Munna Rubaii, numerous aunts, uncles and cousins as well as countless friends and colleagues across the world.

 We will hold a celebration of Nadia’s life on June 11, 2022 (details will follow as they are developed). I-GMAP is planning a scholarship in Nadia’s name to support students from the Global South as they study in the Masters program Nadia developed. Donations in Nadia’s memory can be made to either the Institute for Genocide Prevention and Mass Atrocity Prevention (Support I-GMAP) [Specify in notes that donation is to benefit the Nadia Rubaii scholarship], the Cancer Resource Center (crcfl.net) or Family and Children’s Services (fcsith.org).




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Dear Nadia,
I know you will not read this but I am writing what is in my heart. Your departure chocked me so much. I sent you an email as usual, I received an automatic reply, I thought you were probably on holiday somewhere ,when I make a follow up, I learnt that you were gone. Your death chocked me. For the short time (one week) I met you at Binghamton University as a visitor, you came to pick me from the town, you guided me, you hosted me and you shared a life of simplicity, generosity and care. Your smile itself is encouraging and assuring. I have nothing to say except that I have not had a chance to know you for long, I lost a person full of humanity, I lost a mentor, a friend. May your soul rest in Eternal peace. Nicolas from Rwanda.

Nicolas Habarugira Jun 3 2022 6:12 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Nadia Rubaii

Allen Song Mar 27 2022 9:22 PM

what a shock, I am so sorry my heart goes out to her whole family and friends that knew her.rest in peace Nadia.

susie Mar 22 2022 12:01 PM

I was deeply saddened to hear of Nadia's passing. She was such an amazing woman...brilliant,caring,giving,athletic....a Super Woman as some would say. She will be greatly missed by the many people whose lives she touched in such a positive way. I always enjoyed our visits while doing her hair. R.I.P dear Nadia❤️Fly high.....

Denny Grout Mar 21 2022 7:10 PM

I will be forever grateful to Nadia and Munna for guiding me on my first international trip, the summitting of Mt Kilimanjaro! She was a wonderful person!

JACK VANDERZEE Mar 19 2022 7:21 AM