About Us: The Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University
Protests in Northern Ireland

Protests have developed in Northern Ireland following a decision by the Belfast City Council to fly the British flag on certain days only, ending the century-old practice of flying the flag of Great Britain all year round. Most of the protests were peaceful, but some turned violent as demonstrators threw bricks, fireworks and homemade bombs at police.

The British flag has long been a political flashpoint in Northern Ireland's struggles between pro-British loyalists and nationalists who want Northern Ireland to join the Republic of Ireland. Violence between the two groups fell sharply following the peace process in the 1990s, but clashes continue to erupt occasionally.

IFSA-Butler currently has no students in Northern Ireland. Our spring semester students will arrive later in January and will receive detailed safety information at the IFSA-Butler orientation.

For more information, we recommend the following news sites:



Belfast Telegraph

Australia Battling Wildfires

Wildfires began in Australia over the weekend and are raging across many parts of the country. Officials have evacuated numerous residential areas and are sifting through burned buildings to ensure that there are no deaths.

Though wildfires are common during the Australian summer, record high temperatures and high winds are making the fires devastating this year. In addition, officials believe that arsonists are responsible for at least some of the blazes. Firefighters hope that the cooler weather predicted for the next few days will help ease conditions. Monday was the hottest day on record for Australia, with the average temperature across the continent reaching 104.6 degrees.

IFSA-Butler's spring semester in Australia will not begin until February, so our students are not currently affected by this situation.

For more information, we recommend the following news sources:

Sydney Morning Herald


Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Political Protests in Cairo

Thursday, December 6, 2012

IFSA-Butler is continuing to keep in close contact with students in Egypt as political protests continue. Last night's protests outside of the Presidential Palace in Cairo ended in violence with five deaths and over 400 injuries. Demonstrations also took place in Alexandria outside the office of the Muslim Brotherhood, but no deaths have been reported in Alexandria.

Our resident director in Egypt, Dr. Mohamed El-Komi, reports that the Heliopolis neighborhood in Cairo, where the Presidential Palace is located, and Alexandria are quiet. Egyptians are awaiting President Morsi's televised address scheduled for today.

IFSA-Butler considers student safety and wellbeing our top priority. We are continuing to provide students with relevant updates, and Dr. El-Komi is in daily contact with IFSA-Butler administrators in the U.S. While we do not anticipate that the situation in Egypt will worsen while our students are abroad, IFSA-Butler has an effective response plan in place to ensure the safety and security of our students. In the unlikely event that this plan is needed, we will maintain frequent communication with parents and U.S. universities.

During orientation, our resident staff discuss at length with students how to stay safe while living in Egypt, including avoiding all large gatherings and protests. We have emphasized these guidelines again to our students who are currently in Alexandria.

For further information, we recommend the following news outlets:

The New York Times


Al Jazeera

Washington Post

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Protests have erupted in Cairo between supporters and opponents of Egypt's president, Mohammed Morsi. Peaceful demonstrations began several days ago in Tarhir Square, but today's protests moved to the Presidential Palace in north Cairo and turned more violent. IFSA-Butler currently has no students in Cairo.

While there have been demonstrations in Alexandria, most have been peaceful and are a considerable distance from Alexandria University and even farther from where our students live. IFSA-Butler staff in Egypt have confirmed that all of our Alexandria students are safe and attending classes as usual.

For more information on this situation, we recommend the following news sources:





IFSA-Butler Statement on Egypt Protests

Monday, November 26, 3:15 p.m. EST
IFSA-Butler is continuing to advise Alexandria students to remain in their apartments in anticipation of protests on Tuesday. However, the Muslim Brotherhood has cancelled Tuesday's march to Cairo University in order to avoid conflict with non-Morsi supporters.  

Monday, November 26, 12 p.m. EST
IFSA-Butler is closely monitoring the recent escalation of protests in Egypt over Egyptian President Morsi's November 22 decision to grant himself new powers over the judicial branch of government. Large scale protests in several Egyptian cities, including Cairo and Alexandria, are calling for Morsi to reverse his decision.

There are renewed efforts to mediate the unrest in the wake of a 10 percent drop in the Egyptian stock market on Sunday. Judges around Egypt are threatening to strike. In Cairo, the Muslim Brotherhood has called for a million man march to Cairo University for Tuesday, November 27, in one of many planned protests around the nation. IFSA-Butler currently has no students in Cairo.

In Alexandria, the TAFL center of Alexandria University has cancelled classes for Tuesday, November 27, in anticipation of large protests. IFSA-Butler has told Alexandria students to remain in their apartments on Tuesday until the crowds disperse. Our resident director in Egypt, Dr. Mohamed El-Komi, will join our staff in Alexandria on Tuesday to provide support and instruction and to keep students updated on events.

IFSA-Butler will continue to update students, parents and advisors as this situation changes. In the meantime, we recommend the following news resources:

BBC World News
Guardian newspaper
Al Jazeera
The New York TImes

Current Events in the Middle East

November 18, 2012

Sirens were sounded in Jerusalem today after a rocket fell in the Etzion Bloc area, which is approximately 25 kilometers south of Jerusalem. However, no rockets fell in Jerusalem itself or in the surrounding areas.

IFSA-Butler students went to designated shelters when the sirens sounded. Our student services coordinator in Israel, Mariette Thomas, has verified that the students are safe.

IFSA-Butler will continue to monitor this situation, as well as the cease-fire attempts and diplomatic interventions. We will update our audiences as appropriate.


November 17, 2012

Despite continuing tensions in Israel, IFSA-Butler students in Jerusalem are safe and attending classes as normal. Our students are aware of all the designated shelters in their housing and around the Hebrew University campus, and our student services coordinator in Jerusalem is in regular contact with our participants to answer questions and to reinforce safety precautions. Officials at Hebrew University are also sending regular emails and texts to all students as well.

IFSA-Butler has sent students in Israel the following safety reminders:

  • Be aware of your surroundings, and take note of all nearby shelters wherever you are.
  • In the event that you need to use a shelter, stay in the protected space for at least 10 minutes.
  • Carry your cell phone and IFSA-Butler emergency contact card at all times.
  • Keep updated with the news regularly.

IFSA-Butler will continue to update students, parents and advisors on this situtation as necessary.


November 16, 2012

IFSA-Butler continues to monitor the escalating tensions between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the State of Israel. We are receiving daily reports from IFSA-Butler staff on the ground there. While the security alert is high in all of Israel, clashes between Hamas and Israel have mostly been limited to southern Israel and Gaza. IFSA-Butler students in Jerusalem, Israel have been notified with instructions and safety precautions.

On November 15, a rocket landed in Jerusalem north of the Knesset which is on the other side of Jerusalem from Mt. Scopus and the Hebrew University campus. There was no damage. Hebrew University initiated its safety measures yesterday as a precaution.

Our partner university in Jerusalem, Hebrew University’s Rothberg International School, is well prepared for crises and has solid plans in place for the safety of its students, faculty and staff community. 

Students on the IFSA-Butler program in Jerusalem were already prohibited from traveling to Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Students have now, in addition to those prohibitions, been advised to avoid travel to southern Israel.

IFSA-Butler and our staff in the Middle East are implementing our crisis response instructions for students to ensure that all necessary precautions are taken.

We recommend the following sites for current news and summaries of events:

Al Jazeera (English)


Israel National News

Haaretz (Israel news)

Egypt Daily News


November 15, 2012

IFSA-Butler is monitoring the current events in the Middle East and receiving daily reports from our staff on the ground there. While the security alert is high in all of Israel, the violence is currently isolated in the area of the country near Gaza. There is no indication that the IFSA-Butler students in Jerusalem, Egypt or Sharjah are in any danger.

As a precaution, students have been advised to stay close to their campuses and avoid any travel within the Gaza Strip perimeters. Activity is expected to continue during the next few days in the Gaza area.

IFSA-Butler and our staff in the Middle East are making sure that all our students are alert, and all necessary precautions are taken to make sure they are safe.

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