SAR's April 2022 Newsletter

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Posted: 12-04-2022 23:57 | Views: 312

A global generosity of spirit

In response to an unprecedented number of appeals from scholars seeking support, the SAR Network has created 85 academic positions so far this year, 35 of these for Afghan scholars. In a hopeful sign that prohibitive visa and travel restrictions may be loosening, 10 Afghan scholars have reached their hosts in Canada, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and the United States, including Dr. Aziz Mohibbi, the former chancellor of Bamyan University in Afghanistan, who describes his journey with his family to Ireland in last month’s Free to Think podcast.

In addition to colleagues from Afghanistan, SAR’s members have welcomed scholars from around the world, including Belarus, Cameroon, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Iran, Myanmar, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Yemen.

Scholars impacted by the war in Ukraine are in touch with colleagues across the network, and still many others without international ties are contacting SAR directly to match them with opportunities. We continue to monitor the situation closely and include these scholars in our global placement efforts. Where possible, we encourage hosts to hold positions open for scholars from any country of origin. If your institution is interested in learning more about any candidates on our list, please be in touch at

Students advocate in Washington, DC

On April 7 and 8, 31 students and faculty from Scholars at Risk’s Student Advocacy Seminars gathered with SAR staff in Washington, DC for SAR’s annual US Student Advocacy Days. Seminar students from Drexel University, Muhlenberg College, Roger Williams University, and the University of Iowa arranged 17 meetings with Members of Congress regarding wrongfully imprisoned scholars Ahmadreza Djalali, Ahmed Samir Santawy, Ilham Tohti, Marfa Rabkova, Nasser bin Ghaith, and Patrick Zaki. 

The event also included a SAR-led workshop on next steps in Congressional advocacy; a keynote by Professor Ilham Tohti’s daughter, Jewher Ilham; and a discussion with Theresa Harris of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on the intersection of human rights and right to science. We are grateful to all Student Advocacy Seminar participants, speakers, and of course to our hosts in DC, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). 

Join us next year! Start a Student Advocacy Seminar on your campus today.

See the SAS handbook »


Scholars seeking hosts

SAR scholars are at-risk higher education professionals who exemplify the pursuit of academic freedom, freedom of expression, and university values. If your institution is interested in hosting a SAR scholar, please email

A Scholar of Education from Afghanistan

This scholar specializes in international education, development, and English. He has over 15 years of teaching experience and has served nearly a decade in university leadership positions. He has also contributed to curriculum design and updating instruction techniques as part of a task force for the Ministry of Higher Education in Afghanistan. He reports risk of violence and threats to his life from the Taliban and is seeking research and/or teaching opportunities in a safe country beginning immediately. (Afghanistan 1034)

A Scholar of Economics from Ethiopia

This scholar of economics specializes in development, industrialization, and sustainability. He has over a decade of academic research experience and a strong publication record. He reports having faced arrest, dismissal, harassment, surveillance, and risk of violence due to the ongoing civil war in the Tigray region. He is seeking research opportunities in the United States beginning immediately. (Ethiopia 694)

A Scholar of Education from Turkey

This scholar of education specializes in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), teaching methods, and curriculum development. He has extensive university experience and a robust publication record. He reports having faced dismissal and risk of arrest and is seeking teaching and/or research opportunities in a safe location beginning in October 2022. (Turkey 616)

All Scholars Seeking Assistance »

KU Leuven on hosting scholars

“In 2021, KU Leuven welcomed the first two academics to be hosted by the university through the Scholars at Risk Network. The experience, while at times difficult because of COVID-19, has been rewarding for the scholars and the university. It has made our academic community aware of the many restrictions on academic freedom in the world and has provided opportunities for critical engagement and debate. The scholars participate in academic life, attend workshops and lectures, and bring their own unique perspectives to discussions. Additionally, they lead seminars, give guest lectures and supervise dissertations, thus interacting with students and staff and contributing to the cultural and scientific pluralism of the university. 

KU Leuven is now in the process of hosting its third threatened scholar and is very much looking forward to a long and fruitful collaboration with Scholars at Risk in order to support academic freedom worldwide.”

Nynke Salverda 
KU Leuven 

Read the piece for KU Leuven’s full reflection on the hosting experience, and how a centralized funding mechanism guarantees the placement of two academics-at-risk per year. 

Read the full piece »

Join SAR's efforts and make a gift today

Together with partner organizations, SAR is diligently working to support our colleagues from Ukraine and the region. Your contribution to SAR’s Ukraine Emergency Fund will help SAR as we provide essential assistance and resources to scholars and their families. Make a gift today and join SAR's efforts in responding to this urgent need for help.

Support today »

SAR Europe introduces new website 

A life-saving partnership: UConn & SAR

A journalist and activist, Marvi Sirmed faces threats of violence in her home country of Pakistan, but has found safety and academic freedom through UConn’s unique and longstanding partnership with the Scholars at Risk Network. She is supported through SAR’s Practitioners at Risk Program.

In 1991 in Pakistan, there was a surge of women being burned. A stove would burst, the official report would say – a terrible accident – and only the young bride of the family would be injured or, more often, killed. “It was very intriguing for me,” says Marvi Sirmed, a journalist and activist who was one of the rare young women working at a newspaper in Pakistan at the time. 

The stories of the burned women were far from the last time Sirmed would face opposition, controversy, harassment, personal attacks, and outright violence for the stories she wanted to tell and the light she aimed to shine on some of the darkest corners of Pakistani life and governance. Jaclyn Severance reports, for UConn Today.

Read the full piece »


News & Events

Ukraine: Reflections from Home and Abroad — a virtual conversation with Liz Shchepetylnykova and Olena Tanchyk

Ukraine: Reflections from Home and Abroad — a virtual conversation with Liz Shchepetylnykova and Olena Tanchyk  | April 13, 2022 

Roger Williams University, in association with Scholars at Risk, is hosting a virtual conversation with two Ukrainian scholars who will share their experiences of living in Ukraine, and of escaping their homeland in the moments leading up to the war. In conversation, both will offer their insights, as well as look forward to how members of the Higher Education community can help support colleagues and fellow students affected by the war. This event is free and open to the public.

Register here »

Higher Education Response to Refugee and Displaced Students and Scholars: Towards a Durable Solution | April 22, 2022 

Join Rutgers University for a virtual panel discussion to explore lessons learned from the Afghan and Ukrainian conflicts (and other large scale refugee “events”), and to discuss how institutions of higher education might develop capacity and resources to enable them to respond appropriately and with agility to future crises. Rutgers Global hosts, with panelists from IIE, Afghan Future Fund, UNHCR, ACE, APLU, Presidents’ Alliance, US federal agencies, SAR, and US university partners. Attend on Friday, April 22, 2002 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM EST.

Register here »

SAR hosts consultative drop-in hours for Network members | April 14, 21, 28, 2022

To share hosting experiences, best practices, and information, we are piloting a series of “consultative drop-in hours” during the month of April. Group or one-on-one conversations are intended to assist and explore the wide range of hosting models and opportunities across the SAR Network. Forthcoming sessions on April 14, 24, and 28 are limited to SAR members and staff. Please contact us for details. 

Contact us »

Inspireurope Philipp Schwartz Initiative Forum, Berlin, May 10-11, 2022

Jointly convened by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Philipp Schwartz Initiative and the Inspireurope project, the 2022 Forum will bring together up to 350 scholars, academic mentors, and representatives of host institution and partner organizations across Europe to discuss topics related to the protection of academic freedom and the support of at-risk academics. Preliminary program is available here.

Learn more »

LIBERTAS. Spaces and practices of academic freedom, June 22-24, 2022

To celebrate eight centuries of commitment to the protection and promotion of academic freedom and to revive such commitment the University of Padova, in collaboration with Scholars at Risk Italy and Scholars at Risk Europe, is organising an international conference to discuss LIBERTAS. Spaces and practices of academic freedom.

Learn More »
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