About Us: The Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University
Tensions in Israel-July 31, 2014

July 31, 2014

IFSA-Butler has been closely monitoring the developments of Operation Protective Edge since its inception at the beginning of July. We rely on a combination of reports from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, along with U.S. State Department updates and reports from our privately contracted intelligence agency, Max Security Solutions in Tel Aviv. Additionally, we have been in frequent contact with study abroad colleagues around the U.S. who are currently discussing their plans for study abroad programming in Israel for the fall 2014 semester, as well as Rothberg International School (RIS) administration at Hebrew University.

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Tensions in Israel-July 8, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

IFSA-Butler is closely monitoring the recent escalation of tensions in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. On July 8, the Israeli government announced Operation Protective Shield, a military operation with the aims of securing the Israeli-Gaza border and putting an end to the increased rocket fire coming out of Gaza into Southern Israel. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have targeted dozens of militant targets in Gaza over the past week, and an increase of IDF troops have been deployed to the border region.

In addition, we are monitoring the security situation in Jerusalem, specifically East Jerusalem and the Old City, where many riots, demonstrations and violence have occurred after a Palestinian youth was killed in an alleged retaliatory attack.

This is the largest escalation of military involvement by Israel since November 2012. We will continue to closely monitor this situation as it develops and hopefully dissipates within the next few weeks.

IFSA-Butler is continuing to plan for students' arrival for the fall 2014 semester at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. At this time, we do not anticipate that the study abroad semester will be interrupted; however, we will keep students, parents and advisors updated with developments as they occur.

IFSA-Butler takes personal safety very seriously when planning study abroad programs. We work with U.S. governmental agencies and a private security intelligence agency in Tel Aviv, which provides real-time updates regarding on-the-ground developments in Israel and the Palestinain Territories. During the IFSA-Butler program orientation, our staff will discuss with students the current situation in Israel, and provide extensive safety instructions for Jerusalem and throughout Israel. IFSA-Butler and Hebew University staff are trained in crisis response, and both can be reached 24/7 via an emergency phone number should a student need assistance.

For more information, please see the following resources:

 
No Reports of Injuries Following Fire at Glasgow School of Art

Friday, May 23

The BBC is reporting that all students and staff have been safely evacuated following a fire at the Glasgow School of Art in Glasgow, Scotland. Officials say the fire began in the basement of the school's famous Mackintosh Building earlier today. IFSA-Butler has five students at GSA this spring semester.

For more information:

 
Wildfires in Valparaiso, Chile

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Classes at all Valparaíso universities have been cancelled until Monday, April 21. The universities made this decision so that students and staff may continue to help in the relief effort. IFSA-Butler Valparaíso Resident Director Mark Sinclair has organized a list of volunteer activities for IFSA-Butler students and their host families. These volunteer activities include gathering and distributing supplies to families in need, as well as helping at a soup kitchen. A photo of our students volunteering in the cleanup appeared in a Valparaíso newspaper (bottom right photo).

The National Forest Service of Chile is reporting that the wildfires 99 percent contained, with the remaining small fires being further from the city center. Mark Sinclair reports that air quality is already improving in the area.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Wildfires have spread across Valparaíso, Chile, home to IFSA-Butler's Chilean Universities Program. The fires destroyed 500 homes, left thousands homeless and killed 11 people. As of Sunday morning, the fires were mostly under control.

IFSA-Butler students were not directly affected by these fires, as most host families homes are located in the neighboring city of Viña del Mar, and those in Valparaíso were in low-lying areas away from the fires. All IFSA-Butler students and their host families are accounted for and fine.

Our resident director in Valparaíso, Mark Sinclair, has asked IFSA-Butler students and their host families to contribute as they are able with basic supplies such as food, clothes, personal hygiene supplies, construction materials, etc., in coordination with local government and recognized aid organizations. Mark Sinclair will also be identifying volunteer opportunities that will allow IFSA-Butler students to help with this tragedy and form a solidarity with those in need.

IFSA-Butler will keep in close contact with students regarding lingering smoke problems, class cancellations or other issues related to these fires. We will update our audiences on this situation as necessary.

For more information:

BBC

CNN

 

 
Tropical Cyclone Ita in Queensland

Friday, April 11

As expected, Ita hit Northern Queensland on Friday evening. The storm was strong and caused property damage and flooding throughout the affected area, including the city of Cairns. All IFSA-Butler students at James Cook University Cairns were traveling in other areas of Australia during the storm and were not planning to return to the city until later in April.

IFSA-Butler students in other Australia cities were planning to travel to Cairns during university breaks over the coming weeks. IFSA-Butler has advised these students not to travel to Cairns until Queensland authorities declare that it is safe to do so.

Thursday, April 10

Tropical Cyclone Ita is expected to hit the northern part of the Australian state of Queensland late on Friday. Ita's path includes the city of Cairns, home to IFSA-Butler's program at James Cook University. The storm could include damaging winds and flash flooding.

Most of our students in Cairns will be in Melbourne for an IFSA-Butler program excursion, but IFSA-Butler staff in Australia will ensure that any students not on the excursion are safe and accounted for. In addition, James Cook University will reinforce safety precautions and appropriate shelter during the storm. The university keeps food, water and safety supplies on hand in shelter areas for weather events such as these.

For more information, we recommend the following sites:

BBC News

Queensland Courier-Mail

Australian Broadcasting Company

 
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