Scholars at Risk is an international human rights network of higher education institutions and individuals working to protect the space for intellectual inquiry and expression. Scholars at Risk’s mission is to protect courageous intellectuals facing threats to their lives and work, including research, writing, teaching, lecturing, publishing and public engagement activities. We provide safety for at-risk scholars by arranging temporary academic positions at member universities and colleges, so scholars’ ideas are not lost and they can keep working until conditions improve and they can return home safely. We also provide advisory services for exiled scholars and their hosts, campaigns for scholars who are imprisoned or silenced, and global leadership on strategies for preventing attacks and promoting academic freedom.
Protection: Scholars at Risk protects scholars suffering grave threats to their lives, liberty and well-being, primarily by arranging positions of sanctuary at institutions in our network for those forced to flee. In most cases this is a one semester or one year position as a visiting scholar, researcher or professor at a higher education institution in a safe location anywhere in the world. In return, scholars contribute to their host communities through teaching, research, lectures and other activities. Scholars at Risk also provides advisory services for host institutions and scholars, including those still under threat as well as those forced into exile who are struggling to restart their lives and their careers.Scholars at Risk established its Scholars-in-Prison Project to help protect scholars unable to leave their home countries due to threats, restrictions or wrongful imprisonment, as well as to respond to widespread threats against an entire faculty, institution or educational system. The project monitors cases of attacks on scholars and academic freedom and issues media alerts and calls for letters and other interventions aimed at lifting of restrictions or charges, improvement in treatment or conditions of detention, release from detention, and/or investigations and accountability for past harms. The SAR Speaker Series raises awareness of attacks on scholars and academic freedom by organizing events at network member institutions featuring formerly at-risk scholars now outside of the country of danger. These events help scholars make new contacts and reestablish the personal and professional relationships that lead to future opportunities, while at the same time introducing local higher education communities to these inspiring, courageous individuals.Since 2001, the network has helped over 500 scholars find sanctuary, and hundreds more through advice, referrals, and other services.
Prevention: Building on our work to protect threatened scholars, SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitor identifies alleged threats or attacks on higher education communities and their members worldwide. The project aims to raise awareness and mobilize action to protect vulnerable individuals, promote accountability and prevent future attacks.
Promotion: Scholars at Risk also undertakes research aimed at building greater understanding of international, regional and national legal and administrative standards protecting academic freedom, and organizes workshops and trainings on academic freedom designed for higher education leaders, administrators, and faculty.