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Obituary: Berenika Stefanska

The Department of Politics and International Studies is saddened to report the death of SPS alumna BerenikaBerenika Stefanska (Pembroke, 2004). Berenika studied Social and Political Sciences from 2004 until 2007 as a mature student, specialising in Politics from the second year onwards. 

Her friend and fellow SPS alumnus Luke Pearce writes:

"After EU enlargement in May 2004, it was no surprise that one of the first Polish students to seize the new opportunity to study at Cambridge was the bright and outgoing Berenika Stefanska. She came from Warsaw to study Social and Political Sciences (SPS), as the combined politics and social sciences tripos was then known, at Pembroke College in Michaelmas 2004. She graduated three years later having focused on political theory in her final year.

Berenika's friendly and vivacious personality touched students throughout her Pembroke and SPS cohorts and beyond. She was a natural extrovert, never shy of giving her opinion, standing up for herself and asking a pointed question, challenging the British tendencies for over-politeness and understatement on numerous occasions though in no doubt of her affections for this country and Cambridge in particular. She was elected by the SPS student body as their representative to the faculty, and served as the Cambridge Union Society's Senior Officer in Michaelmas 2006, hosting speakers including Jeremy Paxman and Richard Dawkins.

In recent years she worked as a journalist in Kenya and East Africa, reporting from Juba during the South Sudanese independence process, for Polish television, Reuters and for the UN in Somalia. She dreamed of being a conservationist and her life ended while doing what she loved: flying over the Kenyan wilderness accompanied by good friends. Her early death is tragic and reinforces the kind of celebrity status she held among all who met her - she is dearly missed by family and friends."