The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

National News

July 3, 2013

US students in Arabic program leaving Egypt

DETROIT — A U.S.-based international education and training organization said Wednesday it’s evacuating 18 Arabic language program students from Egypt to Morocco due to deteriorating security conditions.

Armine Poghikyan of the nonprofit American Councils for International Education in Washington, D.C., said Wednesday that participants in the Arabic Overseas Flagship Program arrived June 21 at Alexandria University for what was to be one year of studies. Officials decided the program needed to move to Moulay Ismail University in Meknes, Morocco, in the wake of political violence across Egypt, and the students will leave that country by the end of the week.

The 18 students are from Michigan State and Oklahoma universities, as well as the universities of Michigan, Texas and Maryland.

“In recent days, it had become clear that in order to guarantee the safety of our students in Egypt, it had become necessary to establish curfews and limitations on their movements,” American Councils’ President Dan Davidson said in a statement. “The students were essentially having to give up many of the kinds of informal language contacts and cultural exploration that overseas immersion study is designed to provide.”

Egypt’s military announced Wednesday that President Mohammed Morsi will be replaced with the chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court. Military officials also called for early presidential elections and suspended the Islamist-backed constitution. Cheers erupted among millions of protesters nationwide who were demanding the removal of Morsi. Morsi supporters shouted, “No to military rule!”

Eight other University of Michigan students remain at The American University in Cairo, though they have been ordered to stay in a dormitory, according to University of Michigan spokesman Rick Fitzgerald. For now, the plan is for them to stay, although the summer program’s classes were suspended this week, he said.

“At this point, the assessment from everyone ... is they believe the best decision is to keep the students at the residence hall, where they know they’re safe and away from the demonstrations,” Fitzgerald said.

 

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