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University to evacuate Cairo abroad students

Observer Staff Report | Monday, January 31, 2011

The University will evacuate Notre Dame students from Cairo due to ongoing protests and violence in Egypt, according to a University press release.


Notre Dame’s decision to evacuate the students was in response to a U.S. State Department recommendation. Twelve Notre Dame students are participating in Notre Dame’s study abroad program at the American University of Cairo (AUC).


“Notre Dame is collaborating with AUC and U.S. officials to have the students transported with other American citizens as soon as possible on government-arranged transport to safe havens in Europe, from where they will be assisted by Notre Dame to locations in which they will be able to safely continue their studies,” the press release stated.


U.S. government-arranged transportation from Cairo to safe haven locations in Europe is scheduled to begin Monday, according to a notice from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.


The students arrived in Cairo Jan. 20 to begin their semester of study at AUC.


In a Jan. 29 emergency website announcement, AUC stated that, “due to the circumstances in Egypt,” classes and activities were cancelled until at least Feb. 2.


The students in Cairo had no access to Internet or mobile phone connections last week, but Notre Dame’s Office of International Studies (OIS) received a Friday voicemail when AUC officials allowed students to make one-minute phone calls from landlines.


In a website update directed toward parents of students in Cairo, OIS said the students were safe in their residences.


“OIS has received a voicemail from one of our Cairo students, calling on behalf of all of them,” the note stated. “They are all safe at the student residence in Zamalek. … They are obeying the curfew and, as instructed, have not ventured from their residences nor in anyway been involved in any of the protests. There are AUC officials in residence at Zamalek that are there to act as advisors to our students.”


Notre Dame students also placed short phone calls Sunday when they learned they were leaving Cairo.