“Your safety is our primary concern, and after monitoring the security situation in Egypt this Spring, OIP has determined that we cannot offer a program in Egypt this summer with sufficient security for all students,” the email read.
“While security concerns have generally been limited to a few locations in Egypt, and foreigners have not been targeted, the unrest is expected to escalate in the near future due to fuel and food shortages.”
On Mar. 29, the State Department issued a travel alert to U.S. citizens visiting and living in the country warning of the “continuing possibility of political and social unrest, incidents of which have led to recent violence.” While U.S. citizens have not been targeted, westerners and U.S. citizens have been caught the middle of violent demonstrations. The alert makes specific mention of a rise in specific “gender-biased violence,” in which women have been the targets of sexual assault in and around protest zones.
According to Associate Director of Overseas Studies Lisa Gordinier, OIP says it is “willing to work with all students who had applied to the Alexandria program to help them find an appropriate summer program.”
The following fall and spring programs in Alexandria have not been canceled, however, and Gordinier says OIP does not plan to cancel them at this time. “We will continue to monitor the security situation in Egypt over the next couple of months before making a decision on that program,” she said.
Photo taken following a Jan. 1, 2011 bomb blast outside of a Coptic Christian Church in Alexandria.
Credit: oxfamnovib via Flickr