Academic freedom is a universal right and essential to quality education, teaching and research. It is a driver of innovation, enhances the capacity of scholars and students to acquire and generate knowledge, and thereby protects societies’ capacity for self-reflection. While states and universities throughout the world have long committed to respecting academic freedom, it remains poorly understood – and is under attack in many places.
As this report gets published, the international community is still addressing the global COVID-19 pandemic. Higher education institutions have tried to adapt to the new circumstances by implementing physically distanced learning and, where possible, through virtual collaborations. But above all else, they have had to rely on and demonstrated creativity. That includes the countless academic institutions and researchers who have harnessed their expertise to support the responses to the pandemic and its aftermath.