Memorial service planned for UC Berkeley sophomore and plane crash victim Misha Dawood

A memorial service is being planned for Sunday, Aug. 29, for Misha Dawood, a UC Berkeley sophomore and rising soccer talent who was among 152 passengers killed last Wednesday in what is being deemed Pakistan’s deadliest air crash.

Misha Dawood

Misha Dawood (Photo courtesy of Kelly Lester)

Friends of Dawood, a diminutive but powerful athlete and a passionate advocate for social justice and the environment, are making arrangements to remember her at a gathering at Memorial Glade on the UC Berkeley campus that day at 7 p.m., according UC Berkeley sophomore Claire Rogerson.

Dawood was en route from Karachi to Islamabad in her native Pakistan to play in a championship soccer game when Air Blue flight 202 crashed in Pakistan’s Margalla hills. She was 19 and had finished her freshman year at UC Berkeley.

“The sudden and tragic passing of Misha Dawood is a tremendous loss to the Cal community, said Harry Le Grande, vice chancellor for student affairs at UC Berkeley. “We extend our deepest condolences to her family and friends.”

Dawood attended Karachi Grammar School in Pakistan before enrolling at UC Berkeley last fall. Her parents and sister live in Karachi and her brother in Canada, said Kelly Lester, a UC Berkeley sophomore majoring in peace and conflict studies and environmental economics and policy, and a close friend of Dawood’s.

Lester recalled Dawood’s confidence and joie de vivre: “Misha was always ready for an adventure, to go on a hike or to a music festival in the city at the last minute,” said Lester. “She defied boundaries and stereotypes, and never let those hold her back from creating a new friendship or pursuing a goal.”

At UC Berkeley, Dawood took courses in the College of Natural Resources, and had yet to declare a major. She was bright, energetic and idealistic, members of the campus community said.

“She had so many ideas about the environment and how to improve it,” said Kimberly Johnson, assistant dean of instruction and student affairs at the College of Natural Resources. “This is really very sad.”

One of her adventures was rowing. Dawood threw herself into UC Berkeley’s Recreational Sports’ women’s lightweight crew team as the coxswain.

“A little small to compete well in lightweight rowing, she (nonetheless) welcomed the challenge and opportunity to try coxing and took to it right away,” said Noah Hume, who coached Dawood on the crew team. “She quickly learned to navigate the early morning shipping traffic on the Oakland estuary.”

Dawood was considered a promising star in Pakistan’s Diya Women’s Football Club and had put off a family vacation to play in the tournament. Her team won the recent sixth annual National Women’s Football Championship in Islamabad and dedicated it to Dawood, according to news reports.

On Tuesday (Aug. 3), the Pakistan Football Federation named Dawood Pakistan’s Best Woman Footballer of the Year.