UC Davis study abroad students evacuated from Cairo

Students participating in a UC Davis Summer Abroad program in Cairo were evacuated on July 4 due to concerns about the rising political tension in the country after Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown by the Egyptian Military on July 3. The resulting violence led to around 50 civilian deaths and many more injured.

The group includes eight UC Davis students, one student from UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz and the instructor’s son. Noha Radwan, UC Davis professor of Comparative Literature and a Cairo native, led the program. They arrived on June 18 to study the works of Egyptian authors and filmmakers. They were scheduled to leave July 16.

Nine students and the instructor’s son were flown to Paris on July 4; eight returned to the U.S. and one student opted to remain in Paris. The other student flew to Istanbul. Professor Radwan opted to remain in her native Cairo. All students reached their destinations safely by July 5, according to a press release by the UC Davis News Service.

Zachary Frieders, associate director at the UC Davis Education Abroad Center, said they made the descison to evacuate students following consultation with State Department travel advisories, risk and safety leadership on campus and at the UC Office of the President. Students were not in immediate danger but Frieders said they were exercising caution in regard to how further developments would affect infrastructure and transportation. Students were staying about two miles from Tahrir Square.

“Our primary concern is the safety of students and ensuring safe passage out of the country,” Frieders said.

This is the second year the UC Davis summer abroad program was offered in Cairo. During the unrest in 2011, the University of California Education Abroad Center brought students back from programs in Cairo, Frieders said.

Each year about 1100 UC Davis students participate in study abroad programs in over 40 countries.

— Paayal Zaveri

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