Division of Overseas Studies cancels fall programs in Egypt, 7 students affected

EGYPT/If your patriotic rituals prevented you from keeping up with world news last week: Egypt underwent a coup d’état  military takeover following days of civilian protests.

After Egypt’s popularly elected president was deposed, the State Department issued a travel warning to U.S. citizens, advising them to defer non-essential travel to the country. Georgetown University’s International Travel Policy adheres to the guidance from the State Department, so the Division of Overseas Studies canceled the program.

In an email sent to program participants, Overseas Studies cited a “deteriorating security situation” in Egypt. The seven students, who would have received 15 credits in intensive Arabic by the end of the Fall semester, must now look for alternatives.

Georgetown students typically dedicate one or two years to studying Intensive Modern Standard Arabic in D.C. before they choose to study abroad in various locations across the Middle East or North Africa. Most of the students, especially Arabic majors, shape their final two years at Georgetown around this study abroad, so a cancellation throws all plans in a disarray. Though, according to Director of Overseas Studies Craig Rinker, the students are “currently working with their Overseas Studies Advisors and Deans to make alternative arrangements.”

Yesterday, the Square was the site of a fatal shooting of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Cairo. The Egyptian Health Ministry claims that at least 42 people were left dead and more than 300 injured. Egypt additionally is witnessing increased violence towards women who partake in the protests.

On June 30 alone, there were at least 46 assaults on women, according to the Cairo-based group, Operation Anti Sexual Harassment. Unfortunately, this number continues to grow, and experts generally agree that there will be even more violence in the coming months—especially in Cairo and the main cities.

The Office of International Programs made a similar decision in April when it canceled Georgetown’s 2013 summer abroad program in Alexandria. According to Rinker, the Division of Overseas Studies has not yet canceled spring 2014 study abroad programs in Egypt though the office will “will continue to monitor the situation in Egypt and make a decision about further programs in due course.”

Connor Jones contributed to this report.

Photo: oxfamnovib via Flickr

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