Personal Safety and Security
St George’s College is committed to the safety and security of our guests and our staff.
Since its establishment in 1920, St George’s College has been located at the epicenter of the political instability that followed the collapse of the Ottoman Empire two years earlier. After almost 100 years in this ‘tough neighborhood’ we have a good track record of caring for the personal safety of our guests, and the security of groups here for a course.
The College is located within the Close of St George’s Cathedral in East Jerusalem, just a couple of hundred meters north of the Damascus Gate. The entire compound is enclosed to create a secure and pleasant environment, including the biblical garden that surrounds the College and the English garden that sits in the center of the Pilgrim Guest House.
Our immediate neighbors also add to the security of the College campus, even if not intentionally.
On the southern boundary of the College we have the Israeli Police headquarters for East Jerusalem. The District Court is directly across the street from the College gate. Trouble is rarely to be expected in our immediate vicinity.
When planning our courses we always give special attention to the anticipated trouble spots, which can vary from time to time. The local Palestinian staff draw on their contacts to keep us aware of any issues likely to affect College programs. With so many historical and religious sites available, it is easy to adjust our schedules to avoid any ‘hot spots’ while still offering a rich program for our students.
Keeping in touch with both official and unofficial information sources is one of the special responsibilities of Bishara Khoury, our Liaison and Logistics Officer. Bishara comes to this role after many years working in the logistics area with the UN, and he has a broad network of contacts across both the Israeli and Palestinian communities. In addition, with his skills in Arabic, Hebrew and English, Bishara is able to deal with any situations that may arise when groups are out in the field.
The experience of course members over the past few months mirrors the experiences of pilgrims who have come here over the past several decades. The Cathedral Close is an oasis of peace and security in a sometimes tense and disturbed city. Our programs are quietly adjusted to avoid known trouble spots and, when some unpredictable incident occurs, the College staff draw on their deep experience in this part of the world to ensure the comfort and safety of our guests.