Here at Elon, one of the main goals of the administration is to make students “global citizens.” I’m not really positive what they mean by that, but if they want students to be concerned about the world around them, both on a public and personal level, I think they’ve done a pretty good job. The current unrest in Egypt has had an impact here, an ocean and most of a continent away from the African nation (which is being discussed on the media as more of a Middle-Eastern state).
We had six students at the American University in Cairo when the fighting broke out. Luckily, they were away from the city for a great deal of it, and when they returned, five were able to get on one of the few flights leaving, making it safely to Istanbul, Turkey. The sixth remained in Egypt with family. But for a while there, it was scary! To think that members of the Elon community, which some would call a family, were in the midst of a political fallout getting more and more dire with each passing day is truly a fearful thought.
Elon students would do well to remember that when we study abroad, we’re not just transplanting our life here to a life there. We are becoming active members of the new environment we live in. Their troubles are our troubles and sometimes, that means actual danger or at least, the risk of danger.
We should also recall that we have faculty members and students here who are from Egypt and have family there. Being a global citizen is about more than just knowing what CNN is showing on television; its about having empathy and genuine concern not just for our own personal interests, but for those of the people who surround us each day.