About SAR Protection

Scholars at Risk (SAR)’s Protection Services supports threatened scholars and practitioners by working with the wider SAR Network to arrange temporary research and teaching positions at higher education institutions around the world. In addition to, and in tandem with academic placement assistance, SAR provides advisory and referral services to the higher education community involved in these efforts, including at-risk scholars and practitioners, SAR member institutions and affiliated partners, as well as prospective members looking to host a scholar or otherwise support a threatened colleague.

SAR Placements

Scholars around the world face threats that reach such a degree of personal risk that they are compelled to flee and seek academic positions abroad. Academic positions arranged by SAR are short-term and generally one year in duration. During their time on campus, scholars may teach, research, publish, and share their expertise through speaking events, workshops, and conferences. At the end of a placement, SAR’s Protection Services team and the scholars we support work together to identify additional opportunities, whether through the SAR network or through scholars’ own efforts. 

Practitioners at Risk 

Read about Marvi Sirmed, a journalist and activist from Pakistan and Practitioner-at-Risk at UConn.

In 2019, SAR launched a program to expand university support for individuals recognized as “practitioners at risk”: journalists, writers, democracy and human rights advocates, lawyers, and artists, who, like scholars, may be targeted for their ideas and work. Through this program, and with support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), SAR is able to offer co-funding to qualifying host institutions seeking to host a Practitioner at Risk in an academic setting.


Since SAR’s founding in 2000, SAR’s Protection Services have assisted more than 2000 scholars. Thus far in the 2024-2025 academic year, SAR has provided a wide range of direct services, including arranging 111 academic positions for at-risk scholars from 16 countries around the world.

A majority of these scholars come from Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran, Ukraine, and Ethiopia. SAR also receives many requests from across the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia. On average, SAR assists 350+ scholars at any given time.

Listen to Dr. Hakimi’s story and more on SAR’s Free to Think Podcast.

Today was [the] best day for me because my kids went to school and I started my work at  the nursing research centre. After one year, my family and I are so happy. Thank you again and again. You changed my life. We are safe. I started my work. My kids can go to school. Nobody mistreats me and my family and we don’t need to change our location again and again. Sometimes I think all of this is a dream. 

-Afghan Scholar of Medical Physiology and Midwifery, Dr. Zahra Hakimi


Get Help

If you or a scholar you know is under threat and seeks assistance, please review SAR’s Protection Services eligibility criteria and complete the application for placement assistance. More information on the application process can be found in the Applicant Guide for Protection Services. You may also find useful SAR’s additional resources for at-risk individuals.

Get Involved

If you are a higher education institution interested in inviting a scholar to campus, you can find more details about our nomination and hosting process on our Host a Scholar page. A list of scholars and practitioners actively seeking placements is included there for your consideration. To learn more about these scholars and/or should you wish to refer a scholar to SAR for academic placement or other services, please write: You can also consider inviting a scholar to campus for a speaking opportunity through our Speaker Series events.

To hear from member institutions about their hosting experiences, we encourage you to read our Network Reflections and to stay up to date on the latest news and events from the SAR Network. Subscribe to SAR’s newsletters and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn!