Pochter, from Chevy Chase, was one of three killed and dozens injured in competing demonstrations in the coastal city of Alexandria concerning the nation’s Islamist president.
Active in a Jewish student group at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where he would have been junior in the fall, Pochter traveled to Egypt this summer on an internship to teach English to Egyptian 7- and 8-year-olds. He also hoped to improve his Arabic. He planned to spend the spring in Jordan, according to a family statement and a close friend.
Pochter’s family said 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.”
Fluent in Arabic, Pochter embraced his Jewish identity but also wanted to learn about other cultures, friends said.
Marc Bragin, Kenyon’s Jewish chaplain, said Pochter approached his Jewish identity, and much of the rest of his life, “with an open mind and an open heart and tried to take in as much as he could.”
He was a member of Kenyon College’s Hillel, the campus’s Jewish group, and was a co-manager of the organization’s house during his sophomore year, Bragin said. Pochter was also going to be a co-manager in the coming school year and planned to live at the house. He was often responsible for coordinating bagel brunches and Shabbat dinners for 30 people.
“He was the first person you would see when you walked in Hillel House,” Bragin said.
Zachary Caputo, 21, who lived across the hall from Pochter during their freshman year at Kenyon, described his dorm room as “an organized chaos,” with tapestries, rugs and knickknacks from his time living with a family in Morocco after high school.
Pochter was also on the school’s rugby team, a member of the Middle East Student Association and a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.
Pochter wrote about the Arab Spring protests in an article for Al Arabiya News in 2011. He loved the culture and planned to live and work there.
In the article, Pochter wrote, “At least within Morocco, the people are gaining a sense of how to approach their political and social issues.
“Though time is a factor in how quickly the government will react to these rights and propositions, my host family, like many others, will be on the streets to make sure that their claims and concerns are heard by all parties.”
AMIDEAST, the nonprofit training organization where Pochter was working at the time of his death, issued a statement Saturday: “Those who worked with him in the short time he had been in Egypt remember him for his enthusiasm, compassion and engaging and friendly manner. His loss comes as a shock to his students and colleagues.”