Student Advocacy Days 2019: Students take to Washington to advocate on behalf of imprisoned scholars

Posted March 1, 2019

March 1, 2019 | New York, NY – Scholars at Risk (SAR) announces its third annual Student Advocacy Days in Washington, D.C. on March 7 and 8, 2019.

Students and faculty from across the US and Canada will come together in Washington, D.C., for Student Advocacy Days, a two-day event featuring hands-on workshops on human rights best practices, followed by a day of advocacy on Capitol Hill on behalf of wrongfully imprisoned scholars. Students and faculty participating in SAR’s Student Advocacy Seminars, faculty-led courses on human rights and academic freedom, will convene for the event.

“This event is designed to provide students with skills they’ll need in their future careers,” says Clare Robinson, SAR’s Advocacy Director. “They practice public speaking, develop leadership and cross-campus teamwork skills, and learn how to be an effective advocate. And they make a difference while doing so.”

In addition to the workshops on March 7, students and faculty will engage with an impressive array of speakers and panelists including government officials, NGO leaders from World Uyghur Congress, PEN America, the Defending Freedoms Project, the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, and Jewher Ilham, daughter of Ilham Tohti, a prominent scholar imprisoned in China.

This year, SAR is also offering a workshop dedicated for faculty advisers to the seminars, during which they will discuss their curricula and cases, and strategize advocacy and points for cross-seminar collaboration.

On March 8, students will use their newly acquired knowledge and skills as they meet with elected government officials, where they will present their cases and discuss potential advocacy actions.

For Robinson, Student Advocacy Days brings the students’ research and advocacy efforts to life. “When you have a room full of young people sharing a common goal, to advocate on behalf of imprisoned scholars, the amount of passion is incredibly powerful.” Robinson adds that while the seminars “provide students with the tools to advocate for academic freedom and the human rights of scholars, it’s the students who inspire and motivate each other and elevate the conversation about this global problem of attacks on academic freedom.”

A full schedule for Student Advocacy Days can be found here. For more information on the event, including requests for interviews with SAR staff, event speakers, or students, please contact Alex Bell at

NOTE: A livestream of the event will be available at

ABOUT SCHOLARS AT RISK: Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of over 500 higher education institutions and thousands of individuals in 39 countries that is leading the charge in protecting and offering sanctuary to threatened scholars and students. SAR’s mission is to protect higher education communities and their members from violent and coercive attacks, and by doing so to expand the space in society for reason and evidence-based approaches to resolving conflicts and solving problems. SAR meets this mission through direct protection of individuals, advocacy aimed at preventing attacks and increasing accountability, and research and learning initiatives that promote academic freedom and related values. SAR’s Student Advocacy Seminars provides students with the opportunity to develop human rights research and advocacy skills on behalf of threatened scholars. Institutions or individuals interested in participating in network activities are invited to visit or email

Press Contact Alex Bell:
Location Abramson Family Auditorium 1307 L Street, NW Washington, DC 20005