Please contact us if you have a question that is not listed below.
Q: What is the Scholars at Risk Network (SAR)?
A: Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of higher education institutions and individuals dedicated to protecting threatened scholars, preventing attacks on higher education, and promoting academic freedom and related values worldwide.
Q: What is academic freedom?
A: Academic freedom can be difficult to define precisely. It is generally recognized as the freedom of academics:
• to teach and discuss
• to carry out research and publish the results and make them known
• to freely express opinions about the academic institution or system in which one works
• to participate in professional or representative academic bodies
• not to be censored
SAR uses the following definition in Promoting Core Higher Education Values:
The “freedom of teaching and discussion, freedom in carrying out research and disseminating and publishing the results thereof, freedom to express freely opinions about the academic institution or system in which one works, freedom from institutional censorship and freedom to participate in professional or representative academic bodies.” This definition was agreed unanimously by UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – in 1997.
Q: How does SAR assist threatened scholars?
A: SAR works with its global network of higher education institutions around the world to arrange temporary research and teaching positions for threatened scholars. These visits are intended as short-term positions of academic refuge, and generally range from 3 months to 2 years, with the average visit lasting for one academic year (9-12 months). During these visits, scholars may teach, research, lecture or study, depending on the needs of the host institution, the scholar’s interests, and the terms established for the visit. We also provide advisory, referral, and career support services. For scholars whose applications we are not able to accept, we aim to suggest other resources, organizations, and opportunities that may be useful.
Q: Who is considered a “scholar at risk?”
A: At-risk scholars at risk include professors, researchers, doctoral students, institutional leaders and other members of higher education communities who are threatened and/or attacked as a result of the content of their work, their status as academics or as a result of their peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression or freedom of association. Scholars who apply for SAR’s assistance often report a number of threats including harassment, surveillance, denial of access or permissions, confiscation of notes and computers files, professional or personal slander or defamation, physical or sexual intimidation, arbitrary dismissal, internal or external exile, arrest on false charges, detention without trial, trial and imprisonment, torture, disappearance and extrajudicial killing. SAR has also received requests for assistance from university communities facing ideological pressure and censorship, imposition of national ideology, book burning and ideological revisionism, closing of schools and universities, suppression of strikes/protests, restrictions on travel, restrictions on information exchange, and discriminatory restrictions on academic resources. SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project and its annual Free to Think report documents the threats facing higher education communities around the world.
Q: Where do SAR scholars come from?
A: SAR has received over 4000 requests for assistance from more than 120 countries during the past 18 years. In total, SAR has assisted over 1000 scholars directly through temporary research and teaching visits. The largest percentage of scholars requesting assistance at present come from Turkey, followed by the Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia. We have had over 800 applications from Turkey since January 2016.
Q: How can scholars apply for assistance?
A: Scholars experiencing threats to their life, liberty, or academic career, or those who have been forced to leave their country because of such threats, and would like help from SAR, are invited to submit an application for assistance.
Q: How can higher education institutions get involved?
A: Universities, colleges, and other higher education institutions are invited to join the SAR Network. Members enjoy a variety of opportunities for engagement in SAR’s work, including hosting threatened scholars, inviting SAR scholars to speak on campus, holding student advocacy seminars, collaborating on research initiatives, and more. Visit SAR’s “Get Involved” page to learn more about these opportunities and joining the Network.
Q: How can individuals get involved?
A: Scholars, students, human rights professionals, activists and other interested individuals can get involved through SAR’s advocacy campaigns, research and monitoring work, events, workshops, and conferences. Visit our “Get Involved” page to learn more about these activities. Individuals are also invited to join the network as an individual member/donor by visiting SAR’s “Give Today” page and making a donation to support SAR’s work in helping threatened colleagues around the world.
Q: Does SAR offer volunteer opportunities?
A: SAR will post volunteer and internship opportunities as they are made available on the “Career Opportunities” page. Those interested in specific research projects or scholar-mentorship opportunities are encouraged to contact SAR directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: To whom may I address press inquiries?
A: SAR welcomes media and press inquiries. If you would like further information about SAR or wish to arrange an interview, please contact email@example.com or +1 212-998-2179.