As the world sits glued to television sets watching the latest news of Cairo riots, educators are even more concerned about the safety of foreign Cairo students than the pillaging of statuettes of Tutankhamen from the Egyptian Museum. What would happen, they wonder, were a foreign youth to fall into the hands of a frenzied mob? Would they be taken to a place of safety, or become scapegoats for the real or imagined sins of the place where they were born? What might the long-term impact be of this on Cairo Education?
On January 30th, the American University in Cairo published an advisory on its website confirming that the American Government had plans in place to evacuate those of its foreign Cairo students who wished to leave. While providing an undertaking to keep all concerned informed of progress, the University also confirmed that its residences, faculty, staff and students were all currently completely safe.
The University’s announcement came hard on the heels of an advisory it issued the previous day to the effect that classes were canceled through to February 2nd. The posting further advised all affected to remain safely in homes or dorms, and not be tempted to stray into the downtown Cairo area. At ForeignCredits we hope and pray that bored American students will not fall prey to a desire to wander from their safe University havens.
The Kuala Lumpur Government is equally concerned for the safety of approximately 10,300 Malaysian students currently registered with their Embassy in Cairo. Their diplomatic representatives advised the youngsters to stay away from trouble on January 26th, and believe that all are currently safe too. Notwithstanding this, Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman has plans in place too to evacuate thousands of young Malaysians should the need arise. This will have unfortunate repercussions on the Cairo education of those who are studying, as opposed to taking gap years.
All foreign students who find themselves in Egypt in these troubled times are requested to make contact and stay in contact with their embassies. The mind of an inflamed mob is a violent thing and is no respecter of individuals either. Foreign Cairo students must therefore contain their youthful curiosity about Egypt, just for now.