AL in Egypt to continue despite risk

AL in Egypt to continue despite risk

The recent political unrest in Egypt will not prevent the “AL in Egypt” program from continuing this summer.

“The best outcome would be for Egyptian citizens to feel more freedom to talk openly about their political views and aspirations while our UA group is visiting there in May,” Fran Oneal, director of the International Honors Program, said. “If there can be a peaceful transition of power after [Hosni] Mubarak, whether brought about by popular uprising this spring or not until September’s elections, our trip should be able to go forward as planned.”

Large protests broke out in Egypt beginning Jan. 25. Protestors showed their unhappiness with the Egyptian government and its corruption, failing economy and authoritative president. The conflict in Egypt has had effects internationally, including areas such as trade and oil. Mubarak, the centerpiece of the conflict, has been summoned to step down so that Egypt can regain stability and political peace.

“We have borne witness to the beginning of a new chapter in the history of a great country and a longtime partner of the United States,” President Barack Obama stated in his Tuesday address on the Egypt crisis. “ … Through thousands of years Egypt has known many moments of transformation. The voices of the Egyptian people tell us that this is one of those moments. It is not the role of any other country to determine Egypt’s leader, only the Egyptian people can do that. What is clear and what I indicated tonight to President Mubarak is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful and it must begin now.”

Mubarak has stated that he will step down in September when a replacement will be elected. This statement further incensed protestors who hoped for Mubarak’s immediate removal from office. Many U.S. senators have expressed their opinions of an immediate resignation by Mubarak, and Obama agrees a transition must begin right away.

While the Egyptian conflict may cause problems for the study abroad programs, Capstone International is monitoring the situation. The deadline for applications is Feb. 15. If the program is canceled, all students will get a full refund.

“If the US Department of State Travel Warning for Egypt has not been revoked, we will cancel the program,” said Holly Buckner, director of international academic programs. “For now, we will continue to monitor the situation and see how things unfold as we get closer to the program dates.”

“AL in Egypt” is a summer study abroad program through Capstone International. Professor Hoda El-Karaksy, an economics and finance professor and a native of Egypt, is the program director for this summer. The course focuses on the overview of Egyptian culture and provides students with the opportunity to earn three credit hours through the honors college. The cost of the program is $4,100, which goes towards tuition, airfare, hotel accommodations, tours and a cruise, among other things.

“AL in Egypt,” focuses on components such as economics, politics, culture and demography, the website, international.ua.edu, states. Students also get to experience lectures through the American university of Cairo and the Library of Alexandria.

“We hope that this year’s trip will be a complete success in everyone’s view, and that it can become a part of UA’s annual faculty-led overseas programming,” Oneal said. “Naturally, we will be exploring possibilities for more long-term experiences for students interested in Middle Eastern studies.”

Kristen Chick, an Honors College graduate, is currently in Egypt as a journalist. She is the lead correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor in Cairo and writes daily articles for the publication, which can be viewed at csmonitor.com.

For more information on Capstone International Academic Programs contact the department at 348-5256 or visit them at 135 B.B. Comer Hall.

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