Students Advocated for Nine Unjustly Imprisoned Scholars and Students in the 2022-23 Year

Posted January 17, 2024

NEW YORK, Jan. 17, 2024 — Scholars at Risk (SAR) published its second Student Advocacy Seminar end-of-year report detailing the research and advocacy work of over 500 students at 21 universities in 8 different countries during the 2022-23 academic year. Participants raised awareness about nine Scholars in Prison Project cases from China to Central Europe to the Middle East.

The report showcases advocacy actions organized by the seminars, including social media campaigns; on-campus and public events, from book displays and art exhibits to conferences and action weeks; and meetings with public officials to demand global action. Students persistently raised the names of detained scholars in the public sphere and collaborated across seminars and continents to amplify their efforts.

The report also highlights SAR’s Student Advocacy Days, which were held in Washington D.C., on March 29-30, 2023. Over 40 students from the United States and Canada convened for a day of training hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), followed by a day of action on Capitol Hill. The students held 19 meetings with the offices of Members of Congress to discuss concern for detained Belarusian students, Ahmadreza Djalali and Niloufar Bayani (Iran), Patrick Zaki and Ahmed Samir Santawy (Egypt), Ilham Tohti (China), and Gokarakonda Naga Saibaba (India).

SAR’s Student Advocacy Seminars blend hands-on, real-world experience with classroom learning, providing university students the opportunity to engage in human rights research and advocacy in partnership with SAR’s Scholars in Prison Project and Academic Freedom Monitoring Project. Students research country conditions, monitor cases, and work collaboratively to advocate on behalf of wrongfully detained scholars.

The 2022-23 participating universities featured in the report are:

  • University of Dundee, Scotland
  • University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
  • Roger Williams University, USA (fall and spring)
  • University of Nottingham, UK
  • Endicott College, USA
  • University of British Columbia, Canada (fall and spring)
  • Ruhr University Bochum, Germany
  • University of Iowa, USA
  • University of Oslo, Norway
  • University of Padova, Italy
  • Muhlenberg College, USA
  • University of Dayton, USA
  • Bard College Berlin, Germany / Open Society University Network
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver, USA
  • University of Trento, Italy
  • University of Connecticut, USA
  • Carleton University, Canada
  • University of Nebraska Omaha, USA
  • Fairfield University, USA
  • Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania: Mansfield, USA
  • Monash University, Australia

Student Advocacy Seminars are available to all SAR member institutions. To learn more or to start a seminar on your campus, please contact SAR’s Student Advocacy Seminar Coordinator Adam Braver at