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DukeEngage programs in China, South Korea, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam canceled for this summer

Due to travel restrictions, four DukeEngage programs have already been canceled.

DukeEngage programs in Tanzania and Uganda won’t take place this summer, according to an email sent today by Victoria Pace, operations manager for student programs at Engineering World Health, to participants in those programs. EWH is a program leader of the Tanzania and Uganda DukeEngage programs. 

Both DukeEngage China and Korea participants discovered in February their programs wouldn’t occur this year. International travel restrictions set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus have placed the globe under Level 2 risk, with countries such as China and South Korea at a Level 3 risk.

DukeEngage Vietnam was canceled as well for this summer because the Vietnamese government has stopped processing visas indefinitely.

“The travel restrictions make it impossible for us to guarantee your safety, your trouble-free entrance into your host country, or your return home,” Victoria Pace, operations manager for student programs at EWH. “We simply cannot take those risks.”

As early as Feb. 11, participants in DukeEngage China knew their program wouldn’t take place for this upcoming summer. Inga Peterson, associate director of operations at DukeEngage, notified the students in an email obtained by The Chronicle.

DukeEngage provided participants with a few other options: the opportunity to withdraw from DukeEngage without financial penalty and be able to be in the following year’s program, start an independent project in their hometown with a $2,500 stipend or possibly participate in a program in Laos depending on interest.

Peterson emailed this year’s DukeEngage Korea cohort Feb. 28 with the bad news and the offer of guaranteed admission to the same program next year.

“Unfortunately, given the uncertainty of the international landscape, and the fact that our domestic programs are full, we don’t have other options to offer for this summer,” she wrote to DukeEngage Korea participants. 

Peterson emailed the Vietnam cohort today, telling them that the program had been called off for the summer. 

"Given the uncertainty of the global landscape, we don't currently have other options to offer you," she wrote. "We are trying to think through alternatives, but I recommend that you work to make other plans."

According to the DukeEngage website, programs are “progressing as planned until further notice.” The Fortin Foundation DukeEngage Convocation has been canceled.

Suzanne Shanahan, Nannerl O. Keohane Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics, did not respond to a question about confirmed DukeEngage cancellations in time for publication.

Editor's Note: This article was updated at 6:28 p.m. to include DukeEngage Vietnam's cancellation.

Mona Tong, Anna Zolotor and Ben Leonard contributed reporting.


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