A death in Egypt

0

 

Though only 21 years old, Andrew Driscoll Pochter had already embarked upon what everyone expected to be his life’s work — bringing peace to the world, and in particular the Middle East.

On Friday, June 28, the Kenyon College student was stabbed to death while in Egypt as he watched a large protest against the Muslim Brotherhood. The Chevy Chase resident was in Alexandria, Egypt, for the summer teaching English to 7- and 8-year-olds while improving his Arabic, which he had been studying.

He would have entered his junior year at Kenyon College in Ohio in the fall and was planning on studying in Jordan during the school year.

“Andrew had a passion really to learn about people and other cultures, especially the Middle East,” said Marc Bragin, the Jewish chaplain on campus, who said he knew Pochter for a year-and-a-half.

https://www.washingtonjewishweek.com/enewsletter/

“Andrew was one of our Hillel House co-managers,” Bragin said, noting that Pochter would have continued on in that capacity this school year as well.

“He really led the Jewish programming on campus,” he said, adding that he also played on the rugby team and was a part of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.

“His entire outlook on life was to make people’s lives better,” said Bragin.

Pochter was very interested in the entire Middle East region. “He was very supportive of peace, no matter where the person came from,” Bragin said.

A member of the Pochter family when contacted by Washington Jewish Week said “it’s a little too fresh” for her to speak. However, she released the following statement from the Pochter family:

“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 a protest as a bystander and was stabbed by a protester. He went to Egypt because he cared profoundly about the Middle East. He had studied in the region, loved the culture, and 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.”

Bragin said the young man will be truly missed.

“We will miss his spirit and his voice around campus. He had a way of making you feel like he was listening and really cared,” said Bragin, adding, “That is rare in a young student.”

Prior to attending Kenyon, Pochter spent a gap year working with the U.S. State Department in Morocco in the National Security Language Initiative for Youth program.

He graduated from Blue Ridge School, a small all-boys college prep school for grades nine to 12 in Charlottesville, Va. There he received numerous awards, including the foreign language department award and the SAR Citizenship Award.

He was secretary of the senior class and played lacrosse and soccer.

Pochter was chosen as a senior prefect, which is the highest possible leadership position, explained school headmaster William “Trip” Darrin.

“He was just a young man of exemplary character, generously kind and impressively diplomatic,” Darrin said. “He was a friend to all,” especially the foreign students.

“He had a real love of language,” including French, Darrin recalled.

“From what I’ve learned, he hoped to foster an understanding, a more peaceful world,” he said, noting, “There has been an incredible outpouring of grief and sadness among the alumni base.”

On the school’s website, a tribute is posted that praised Pochter’s leadership and language skills and calling him an overall great person.

“Andrew’s untimely death is nothing short of tragic. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Pochter family. We grieve together,” the tribute states.

The Jewish Community Relations Council and The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington were “saddened to learn about the horrific murder of Andrew Driscoll Pochter.”

“We strongly condemn this act of violence. The circumstances surrounding his death are heartbreaking and unconscionable. Violence should be shunned by all those who stand for democratic values in political struggles for democracy,” the two groups wrote in a joint statement to WJW.

Pochter’s friends set up an R.I.P Andrew Driscoll Pochter Facebook page, which within a few days already had more than 4,000 likes. Many of the comments posted on that page expressed sorrow not just to Pochter’s family but to the world, as they believed he would have made a difference.

No information about funeral arrangements were available at press time.

[email protected]

Never miss a story.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Email Address