Launch of Scholars at Risk Finland Section

Posted May 8, 2017

Representatives from universities across Finland convened in Vaasa on May 8, 2017 to launch the Finnish section of Scholars at Risk (SAR). SAR is an international network of more than 460 higher education institutions in 35 countries working to protect threatened scholars and promote academic freedom. The meeting was convened by Universities Finland UNIFI, which will act as the secretariat of the Finnish section in a pilot phase of three years.

“Universities Finland UNIFI shares with Scholars at Risk a belief in the crucial role of the university in advancing public discussion and reasoned debate” said Dr. Leena Wahlfors, Executive Director of UNIFI. “In coming together to launch the Scholars at Risk Finland section, Finnish higher education institutions express their solidarity and support for colleagues in situations where public discussion, reasoned debate and academic freedom are repressed, and reaffirm their commitment to promoting the free exchange of ideas.”

The launch of the SAR-Finland Section represents the culmination of several years of partnership between Finnish higher education institutions and the global SAR Network. SAR ‘sections’ are a means of engaging national institutions in that global effort, and coordinating national and local-level activities in support of academic freedom and higher education values. SAR’s European Director Sinead O’Gorman shared, “We are delighted to mark the launch of the SAR-Finland Section. In joining Scholars at Risk, Finnish higher education institutions are sending a strong message of solidarity to scholars facing threats to their lives and their liberty because of who they are and what they do. At a time when SAR is receiving more requests for assistance from scholars than ever more, Finnish universities’ support will help to make a difference.”

The founding members of the SAR-Finland Section include:

• Aalto University
• Åbo Akademi University
• Lappeenranta University of Technology
• University of the Arts Helsinki
• University of Eastern Finland
• University of Helsinki
• University of Jyväskylä
• University of Tampere
• University of Turku
• Hanken School of Economics

About UNIFI: Universities Finland UNIFI is a co-operational organization for Finnish universities. UNIFI promotes higher education, research and arts by addressing far-reaching, university related issues. UNIFI aims to influence the Finnish higher education and research policy and to promote common interests of universities. UNIFI continues the work of the Finnish Council of University Rectors, founded in 1969. All 15 Finnish universities are members of UNIFI.

About Scholars at Risk: Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of over 460 higher education institutions in 35 countries working to protect threatened scholars and promote academic freedom. SAR protects scholars suffering grave threats to their lives, liberty and well-being by arranging temporary positions for those forced to flee. Through monitoring and advocacy, SAR identifies, documents and takes action in response to threats and attacks on higher education communities. Through working groups, conferences, research and publications, SAR brings together leading scholars, advocates, students and professionals to inform and shape on-going work to promote stronger university values worldwide. Institutions or individuals interested in learning more about SAR and its activities should visit or email

Further information:
Executive Director Leena Wahlfors, Universities Finland UNIFI,, +358 50 522 9421
European Director Sinead O’Gorman, Scholars at Risk,