When tensions between Israel and Hamas escalated in mid-November, WorldStrides was operating two Capstone programs in the country: an EMBA student group from the Daniels College of Business at University of Denver and a special program for university faculty and administrators. Contingency planning, agility, and experience paid off as our team hastened to meet the needs of clients and staff traveling during this tense time.
Per WorldStrides Capstone programs’ standard safety protocol, neither group was visiting in or near the Gaza Strip, where most of the air strikes and rocket attacks were isolated. Though the groups were never in danger, participants on both programs heard sirens and warnings in the cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
WorldStrides maintains a standing evacuation plan for travel to Israel, which Rick Rosenfeld, Director of Risk Management, implemented immediately. Even before the group departed, our dedicated visa team had confirmed that nearly all participants could enter Jordan without visa complications; when the violence began, our ground team in Jordan was placed on standby. With 24/7 monitoring of news feeds, State Department guidance, and International SOS alerts, our team determined that an evacuation was unnecessary. Still, in Israel, staff members traveling with the special administrators programs took time to host Q and A sessions with both groups and facilitated the departure of several students who elected to return home.
Both programs left the country as scheduled with no incident, and WorldStrides is pleased to see that a cease fire is holding in this important geo-political and economic region. We are grateful for the kind words of Amanda Pollock, Assistant Director of Global Programs at the Daniels College of Business, who wrote us after the program. “Everyone at WorldStrides, from Kathy to Earl to Rick to Daniel, was absolutely fantastic. Your responsiveness and organization made the week much easier! And we had a fabulous last few days. The students ended on a high in Jerusalem and we are all feeling like it was a great trip,” she said.