By decision of the Senate, the Ionian University joined Scholars at Risk (SAR), a network of more than 400 Higher Education Institutions from 39 countries aimed at protecting threatened academics, preventing attacks on higher education and promoting academic freedom. Starting with an event in the European Parliament in November 2018, the establishment of Scholars at Risk (SAR) Europe is the result of a collaboration between European higher education institutions and the global Scholars at Risk (SAR). The European Department now supports and coordinates the activities of academics in national sections and partner networks across Europe by strengthening the collective voice of universities at European level and helping to inform and influence policy makers for more effective protection of scientists and academics and respect for academic freedom worldwide. It should be noted that the largest number of cases of scientists and academics exposed to threat and danger in recent years concerns countries such as Turkey, Belarus and China. The participation of the Ionian University will contribute to the promotion of the goals of the network, as it will be a founding member of its Greek department. Professor Stavros Katsios of the Department of Foreign Languages, Translation and Interpretation, has been appointed as the institution's representative in the Scholars at Risk (SAR) network.
"By joining the SAR, we express our solidarity with teachers, researchers and students around the world who are at risk for peacefully expressing their beliefs and asking questions," stated Ionian University professor Stavros Katsios and the institutional spokesman. in the SAR network. "Academic freedom is fundamental to the provision of quality higher education, which is also the mission of the Ionian University. The participation of the Ionian University in the SAR network, demonstrates the determination and sense of responsibility we have for the need to defend freedom of thought, locally and globally.
According to Free to Think, a recent report published by SAR, scholars and students at universities around the world face regular threats as a result of their academic work and free expression of ideas. These threats to higher education communities range from restrictions on travel and unjustified firings to imprisonment and violence. “Attacks on higher education shrink the space where people can freely think and ask questions about complex and contentious issues,” said SAR’s Executive Director, Robert Quinn. “Our Network members are central to protecting scholars targeted by these attacks and building a stronger, safer university space.”
SAR member institutions assist persecuted scholars and students by offering temporary research and teaching positions, monitoring and advocating against attacks on higher education, and conducting learning initiatives to promote academic freedom. In addition, faculty, staff and students at member institutions have the opportunity to engage in SAR activities, including:
- Inviting SAR scholars to share their stories on campus through the SAR Speaker Series
- Advocating on behalf of imprisoned scholars through Student Advocacy Seminars and SAR’s Action Campaigns
- Researching attacks on higher education through the Academic Freedom Monitoring Project
- Engaging in a growing conversation around university values by attending SAR workshops and joining working groups
Faculty, staff and students are invited to learn more about Scholars at Risk and how to get involved by contacting the institutional representative Professor Stavros Katsios [firstname.lastname@example.org] and signing up for SAR updates.