It seems we are in a time of turmoil around the globe; from political unrest in parts of the Middle East and North Africa, to geologic upheaval in Japan. What does that mean for travelers, particularly our Farther Foundation scholarship winners?
Melissa has already been selected as one of our scholarship recipients for the summer of 2011. She is a terrific student at Notre Dame High School for Girls and a program participant with our partner Metro Achievement Center. Melissa will be traveling on a cultural immersion program this summer with AFS.
Prior to the recent revolutionary activities, Melissa’s first choice as a destination was Egypt. In her application to Farther Foundation Melissa said, “I have wanted to travel outside the continent for a long time, and the culture, language and pyramids of [Egypt] really got me interested.” Currently, with the unrest in Egypt that includes some violence, Melissa, her family and Farther Foundation all have some doubts as to whether this is the right destination at the right time for her. Luckily, the travel program provider, AFS, has many alternate destinations where Melissa can have an extraordinary cultural experience.
I talked to AFS recently about how they determine whether or not a particular destination is safe at any given time for student travel. Darin Smith-Gaddis, an outbound programs specialist at AFS informed me,
“AFS has a long history of encountering situations in which programs must be suspended for a period and reassessed. We consult widely in cooperation with AFS International, our in-country partners, a security consultancy and with various embassies in a given country, including the US State Department and US Embassy, in making decisions about continuation or the commencement of any program. We are closely monitoring the situation in Egypt and are encouraged by the trajectory of events there, though it is still too early to make a final decision on the commencement of the program in Egypt for this summer.”
Farther Foundation is very pleased to be able to work with high caliber providers of educational travel programs like AFS. We look forward to all our scholarship recipients this year having outstanding and safe experiences around the globe and sharing their stories with us upon their return.
Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.