On the occasion of the International Refugee Day on June 20, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki is pleased to announce the recent signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation with the International Network for the Protection of Academics at Risk (Scholars at Risk – SAR network). The aim of the Memorandum is the closest and most effective cooperation for the development of a national part of the Network in Greek universities (Hellenic SAR Branch – SAR Greece Section).
The International Scholars at Risk Network (https://www.scholarsatrisk.org) is a network of more than 540 Higher Education Institutions from 40 countries aimed at protecting threatened academics, preventing attacks on higher education, and promoting academic freedom. The collaboration of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki with the SAR Network and the effort to create a Greek section of the Network began within the S.U.C.RE .: Supporting University Community pathways for REfugees-migrants in 2018, the year that the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki became the first Greek university member of the Network.
This collaboration was established under the Inspireurope: Supporting Researchers at Risk program. Inspireurope: Supporting Researchers at Risk is a three-year program (2019-2022) funded by the European Commission and coordinated by the University of Maynooth in Ireland, home of the SAR Network in Europe. The aim of the Program, which involves 10 partners from all over Europe, including the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, is to build a strong European alliance against persecution, discrimination, or violence that may be perpetrated by refugees / persecuted researchers and academics. active support in the search for a safe working environment in Europe. The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki participates in all phases of the Program and has the main coordinating role in actions to strengthen the support of researchers at risk in Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe with emphasis on the Balkan countries.
“The Aristotle University, firmly believing in the value of education as a means of cultivating young people towards the creation of a society of solidarity, has implemented and continues to implement very important refugee training and support programs and has held various relevant conferences and workshops. The participation of our University in the international Scholars at Risk Network proves in practice once again the social sensitivity of the members of our University Community “, points out the Rector of AUTh, Professor Nikolaos G. Papaioannou.
In 2021 two more Greek universities, the Ionian University and the University of the Aegean, became members of the SAR and joined forces with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki with the common goal of the practical defense of academic freedom and the development of the Greek Branch of the SAR Network. At the 96th Synod of Rectors, on April 22, 2021, the representatives of the three Universities, Professors Alexandros Triantaphyllides, Stavros Katsios, and Nikos Nagopoulos respectively, presented in detail the actions that have been taken so far for the creation of a Greek SAR department and the progress achieved. The members of the Synod of Rector agreed that this is an exceptional action, praised the social role of such an initiative, and confirmed their intention to assist in its further diffusion within the Greek Universities. At least three more Universities are already in the process of joining the network. The official opening of the Greek Branch SAR Greece will be marked by an event that will take place at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki on October 1, 2021.