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October 24, 2002 War in Iraq has international students watchful, worried



The war in Iraq has special meaning for those Concordia students who are in the region or have family there.

Fred Francis, of the Centre for International Academic Co-operation, which arranges student exchanges, said, “We would advise students to consider cancelling their travel plans to this region of the world.”

At the moment, Concordia has only one student on exchange in the affected area, a student of the John Molson School of Business who is studying in Israel. Both the JMSB and have contacted the student, but it is up to her and her family to decide whether to leave the country.

Claudette Fortier, of the International Students Office, said that Concordia has 299 international students from countries surrounding and close to Iraq, though non from Iraq iteself.

“Some of our Iraqi international students have obtained their permanent residence status in Canada and thus are now appearing in the student information system as residents, and not as visa students any more,” she said.

“Needless to say, our international students who have family in Iraq or in the neighboring countries are terribly worried about the events taking place.”

Concordia also has 243 students from the U.S. registered for the 2002-2003 academic year.

“I had a chance to talk to Brent Ferrington, who is the president of the American Students Association on campus,” Fortier said. “We have agreed to keep in touch and offer assistance to U.S. students, if necessary. Brent mentioned that one of them has had to leave already. She is in the Navy Reserve and she was drafted for the Gulf.”

Fortier added that the ISO is getting calls from students who were planning to go home to the region this summer and are now wondering what they should do. “Students are calling our office for advice. Our response for the moment is to invite them to come in and meet with one of our international student advisors.

“We are also recommending that students call their parents in the region and get advice from them directly.”

Many students have been urged by their families to remain in Canada, she said.

Both the ISO and the CIAC are monitoring the situation.