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American Killed At Protest In Egypt ID'd As Kenyon Student

Andrew Pochter.
Courtesy of the Pochter family
Andrew Pochter.

Andrew Pochter, a 21-year-old Kenyon College student from Chevy Chase, Md., is the American who was killed Friday in Alexandria, Egypt, when violence broke out during a protest against the government of President Mohammed Morsi, the college says. He was one of at least three people who died from injuries they suffered.

Citing U.S. Embassy officials as its source for that news, the Ohio school adds that:

"Pochter was an intern at AMIDEAST, an American non-profit organization engaged in international education, training and development activities in the Middle East and North Africa."

A new "R.I.P. Andrew Driscoll Pochter" Facebook page that appears to have been created by the young man's family and was sent by a family friend to The Washington Post says, in part, that:

"Our beloved 21 year old son and brother Andrew Driscoll Pochter went to Alexandria for the summer, to teach English to 7 and 8 year old Egyptian children and to improve his Arabic. He was looking forward to returning to Kenyon College for his junior year and to spending his spring semester in Jordan. As we understand it, he was witnessing the protest as a bystander and was stabbed by a protester. He went to Egypt because he cared profoundly about the Middle East, and he planned to live and work there in the pursuit of peace and understanding. Andrew was a wonderful young man looking for new experiences in the world and finding ways to share his talents while he learned. Andrew cared deeply about his family and his friends. We won't have any further comment and ask for privacy now at this difficult time for the family."

According to Reuters:

"Pochter ... died after being stabbed in the chest in the coastal city of Alexandria, where anti-government protesters stormed an office of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood. It was not clear what Pochter was doing at the protest, but Egyptian officials said he was carrying a small camera."

AMIDEAST describes itself as:

"A leading American non-profit organization engaged in international education, training and development activities in the Middle East and North Africa.

"Founded in 1951, AMIDEAST in its early years focused on promoting U.S. study to students in the MENA region and managing U.S. scholarships and exchanges such as the flagship Fulbright Foreign Student Program. While these important programs continue apace, our work has expanded significantly.

"Today AMIDEAST programs and services touch the lives of half a million individuals a year – improving educational opportunities and quality, strengthening local institutions, and developing language and professional skills critical for success in the global economy."

As we reported, the State Department on Friday advised U.S. citizens "to defer non-essential travel to Egypt at this time due to the continuing possibility of political and social unrest." It also "strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations in Egypt, as even peaceful ones can quickly become violent, and a foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse."

Update at 2:05 p.m. ET. State Department Statement:

"We can confirm that U.S. citizen Andrew Pochter was killed on June 28 in Alexandria, Egypt. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues and we continue to provide appropriate consular assistance.

"We call on the Egyptian Authorities to conduct an urgent, complete and transparent investigation into this case."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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