MESP is proud of its history for the last decade following 9/11, when many other study abroad programs in the Middle East either closed or downsized. A constant barrage of negative, often distorted news coverage of the region by the US media put a damper on campus willingness to send students to the region.
Thankfully, during this whole period, the CCCU/MESP team increased enrollments as they kept close contact with campuses, students, and concerned parents, helping them understand the real safety situation on the ground. Contrary to media reports, MESP students arrived to communities and neighborhoods of local Muslims, Jews, and Eastern Christians that welcomed them as friends, paving the way to a continuing student experience with cultural learning, intellectual growth, and maturity of faith. During this extended time, no MESP student ever experienced even a single incident of violence!
Today, MESP faces similar challenges with perceptions of the region, especially after the 'Arab Spring.' Combined with continuing media focus on Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and ongoing events in Syria, it seems to many Americans that the whole region is unraveling in an irrational swirl of violence. Fortunately, this is not the case with MESP in Jerusalem or other locations on its travel agenda.
In this new environment, MESP Staff remains committed to safely maintaining student access to the region. Now based in the private campus setting of Tantur, Jerusalem (a facility managed by the University of Notre Dame), MESP uses all resources--US State Department, Israeli government, local and regional media, and other local sources--in order to closely monitor the safety of its students and program activities, and if necessary, to preempt them with alternatives. MESP will not be traveling to Egypt or Syria, for example. In the event of a serious emergency, MESP has secured additional resources to assist in relocation or evacuation if deemed necessary.
In sum, the MESP Staff is committed to a semester long program of student transformation that is firstly grounded in safety and security. We take our responsibility to your loved ones and students seriously. Please send any further concerns or questions to: email@example.com.