Awards and Distinctions

Scholars at Risk and its Executive Director Robert Quinn have received numerous awards and distinctions in recognition of SAR’s work to protect scholars and promote academic freedom around the world, including:

International Science Council (ISC) Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award, 2021

Scholars at Risk was awarded the 2021 International Science Council (ISC) Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award in recognition of “outstanding contribution to defending and promoting the free and responsible practice of science.” SAR accepted this inaugural award during the ISC’s 2nd General Assembly, which was held online and takes place every three years. As an ISC partner organization, SAR works with the ISC’s Committee for Freedom and Responsibility in Science (CFRS) to protect scientists’ rights and freedom.

Politiken Freedom Prize, 2019

Scholars at Risk and Central European University (CEU) were jointly awarded the 2019 Politiken Freedom Prize in recognition of  their extraordinary contribution to “protecting scholars and the freedom to think, question and share ideas.” The annual prize, sponsored by the Politiken Foundation, is awarded to outstanding international contributors to human rights and the whole concept of freedom, scholarly as well as politically. Previous recipients of the award include Danish-Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and Sea-Watch, among others.

Anne Frank Special Recognition Award, 2017

Scholars at Risk was honored with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ Anne Frank Special Recognition Award. Through her diary, Anne Frank illustrated how education engaged and sustained her while she lived in hiding as a refugee in the Netherlands during World War II. This award, given in commemoration of Anne Frank’s memory, recognizes the mission to use education to improve the lives of refugees and those who are threatened. The award commends Scholars at Risk for its work to protect scholars and promote academic freedom around the world, having helped more than 1,000 scholars suffering grave threats to their lives, liberty, and well-being by arranging more than 900 positions of sanctuary since 2000.

Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award, Tufts University, 2014

Scholars at Risk was honored with Tufts University’s Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award. This award is given in commemoration of former university chancellor and president Dr. Jean Mayer, whose dictum was: “Scholarship, research and teaching must be dedicated to solving the most pressing problems facing the world.” The award recognizes SAR’s “extraordinary embrace of intellectuals fleeing persecution and violence” and “vigorous defense of the principles of unencumbered inquiry and academic freedom.”

Middle East Studies Association Academic Freedom Award, 2013

Scholar at Risk was honored with the annual academic freedom award of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA).  Founded in 1966, MESA is the preeminent organization in the field with nearly 3000 members worldwide. The award was given in recognition of SAR’s “particularly noteworthy contribution to the defense of academic freedom” and in particular “efforts in support of Syrian higher education institutions and faculty in the context of the on-going civil war.”  SAR shared the honor with the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund.

Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC, 2013
Consultative Status with UNESCO, 2012

Scholars at Risk was granted Special Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations in 2013 and Consultative Status with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2012.

University of Oslo Human Rights Award–Lisl & Leo Eitinger Prize, 2012

Robert Quinn and Scholars at Risk received the University of Oslo’s Human Rights Award, the Lisl and Leo Eitinger Prize, for 2012 for “his relentless work to protect the human rights of academics and for having inspired and engaged others to stress the importance of academic freedom.”

Illinois Wesleyan University Honorary Doctor of Laws, 2010

Robert Quinn was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, USA, a founding SAR member, for “unwavering commitment to social justice, the free exchange of ideas, the interconnectedness of life in a global society” and for building SAR into a global leader in protecting scholars and promoting academic freedom.

AAAS Science and Human Rights Prize, 2004

Scholars at Risk was honored with the annual human rights prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  Established in 1848, the AAAS includes some 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The award was given in “recognition of their tireless advocacy on behalf of scientific freedom and human rights of scientists worldwide.” SAR shared the award with the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund.