Universities within the Scholars at Risk (SAR) network have historically created positions of temporary academic refuge on campus for SAR scholars, creating over 1200 positions to date and allowing scholars to leave the country in which they face risk. However, not all SAR scholars are able to leave their country and travel for a position due to government or other restrictions. For example, starting in 2016 the Turkish government cancelled the validity or revoked the passports of thousands of scholars in the country, preventing them from leaving after they were dismissed from their academic positions. After learning about the travel restrictions faced by scholars from Turkey, several universities within our network mobilized to provide opportunities for those SAR scholars who cannot travel (many times in addition to hosting scholars on campus). The universities created remote fellowships through which a SAR scholar can:
- receive a university email address;
- access library and database resources through this email address/university affiliation;
- publish work using the university’s affiliation;
- in some instances, connect with mentors or teach remote classes at the host university; and
- re-engage with academia after being pushed outside the university space, sometimes for years.
Remote fellowships may be paid or unpaid. These fellowships illustrate the creative ways in which our network of universities has adjusted to respond to the ever-changing situations of scholars around the globe, and also serve as a reminder that there are multiple ways to assist threatened scholars. Given the current travel restrictions related to COVID-19, we continue to think of other ways that our network can assist threatened scholars who may not be able to travel at present. While we all look forward to an improvement in the COVID-19 situation, remote fellowships are a valuable way to assist scholars in this moment. Any universities interested in learning more about remote opportunities for SAR scholars are invited to contact Shreya Balhara at email@example.com.