Because we take our commitment to safety very seriously, we carefully evaluate these types of advisories in context of the overall situation. Because we do not travel to unstable parts of the world such as Pakistan or Afghanistan for our student programs - nor sensitive military areas that are the focus of this advisory - we are not currently canceling or reassigning any of our student programs at this time.
As you may be aware, we did cancel a Citizen Ambassador program to Egypt earlier this year until we could reassess its safety.
That said, the advisory highlights common sense safety precautions that are wise to follow regardless of any specific issue. I am sharing them below to help provide you guidance to being safe regardless of where you travel:
What advice did the State Department share?
In part, the State Department reminds all U.S. citizens to follow some basic safety measures:
- Be informed about conditions in your local areas by monitoring media coverage of local events and staying aware of your surroundings at all times. (People to People's program office does the same, as well as the staff on the ground who live in the countries visited by our Student Ambassadors.)
- Always register with Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), to receive the latest travel updates and information on your destination.
- Be inconspicuous and maintain a low profile. We always suggest students attempt to blend in and leave the fancy clothing and jewelry at home.
Changes in the global political climate remind us why we take the responsibility of safety so seriously. You can be confident in the diligence we take when it comes to the safety and well being of our delegates and leaders around the globe as we offer life changing educational travel experiences.
How do we decide whether or not to travel to a country?
In making the decision to proceed with any program, our senior leadership team relies on up-to-date intelligence gathered from a number of organizations, including the U.S. State Department, the Overseas Security Advisory Councill (OSAC), the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, and international safety and security specialists. Again, at this point we have not canceled or altered any People to People Ambassador Program based on this most recent alert.
We will continue to receive multiple updates from these organizations on a daily basis and will stay very close to this situation. If the conditions in any way hinder our ability to provide safe and rewarding programs, we will not hesitate to alter itineraries or redirect programs.
As always, I wish you all safe travels and a healthy life!
Senior Director of Health & Safety