GW suspends fall programs in Egypt

Media Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Tahrir Square was packed with tens of thousands of protesters Nov. 27, near the start of the latest outburst of unrest that broke out when President Mohamed Morsi granted himself broad powers.

The University will cancel its study abroad programs in Egypt this fall as violent protests continue to rock the country.

Eight undergraduate students and three graduate students had planned to study in Egypt in the fall, but University officials called the situation unsafe.

“Our foremost concern is to preserve the safety and security of GW students, faculty and staff, wherever they are carrying out their work,” Donna Scarboro, associate provost for international programs, said in a release Monday. “We don’t want students to be anxious about safety as they go about their normal activities, nor do we want their studies to be disrupted.”

One of GW’s top Middle East scholars Marc Lynch said last week that the University needed to pull students out of the country for their safety.

“I am a big believer in the value of studying abroad, but I don’t believe it is currently safe for American students in Egypt,” said Lynch, the director of GW’s Institute for Middle East Studies.

GW pulled out seven students from summer programs earlier this month after protestors overthrew former president Mohamed Morsi and the military brought an interim president to power. The State Department issued an evacuation order for Americans on July 4, shortly after a student from Kenyon College was stabbed and killed during a protest.

Clashes between the military and the exiting leadership, the Muslim Brotherhood, have resulted in at least 50 deaths.

At least one student planned to remain in Egypt after GW suspended its programs. But Scarboro said the University discouraged students from traveling to Egypt alone.

“If a student decided to go to Egypt on their own, they would be going as an individual, not as a student of the University,” she said.

The University of California system and University of Michigan also suspended study abroad programs in response to the protests.

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