An American university student killed during a protest in Egypt was in the country teaching English to children and improving his Arabic because he “cared profoundly” about the region, his family has said.Andrew Pochter, 21, from Chevy Chase, Maryland, 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 Mr Pochter was doing at the protest, but Egyptian officials said he was carrying a small camera. His family said they believed he had been witnessing the protest as a bystander.
In a statement, the family said Mr Pochter had travelled to Alexandria for the summer to teach English to 7- and 8-year-old Egyptian children and to improve his Arabic.
“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,” it said.
Mr Pochter was looking forward to beginning his junior year at Ohio’s Kenyon College and had planned to study abroad in Jordan next spring.
“Andrew was a wonderful young man looking for new experiences in the world and finding ways to share his talents while he learned,” it said.
Mr Pochter was in Morocco at the height of the Arab Spring in 2011 and wrote an article for the website of the Al-Arabiya News network in which he said: “The revolutionary events in Tunisia and Egypt introduced a swath of ideas and surfaced unprecedented political potential.”
At Kenyon College, where he was due to graduate in 2015, Mr Pochter was a student leader in Hillel House, a “campus centre for Jewish life”.
Before starting at Kenyon, Mr Pochter attended Blue Ridge School, a private boarding school for boys in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he was a keen lacrosse player and won an award for citizenship before graduating in 2010.
Smiling and wearing his school blazer and striped bow-tie, he was featured on the front cover of the spring/summer 2010 issue of The Bridge, the school’s magazine.
He won a scholarship with the The National Security Language Initiative for Youth, a scheme sponsored by the US State Department for high school students to learn less commonly taught languages during summer trips abroad.
A statement from Kenyon College said Mr Pochter was interning in Alexandria with AMIDEAST, an American non-profit organisation that runs education and development programs in the Middle East and North America.
Kathleen O’Neil, an American teacher who worked with Mr Pochter in Egypt, said in an online posting that she could not believe “such a gifted, enthusiastic, informed, curious, adventurous and positive human being is gone”.
The Muslim Brotherhood said eight of its offices had been attacked on Friday, including the one in Alexandria. Officials said more than 70 people had been injured in the clashes in the city, adding to growing tension ahead of mass rallies on Sunday aimed at unseating President Mohammed Morsi.
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