SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: April 12, 2023

Attack Types: Loss of Position

Institution(s):University of Manouba

Region & Country:Northern Africa | Tunisia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 12, 2023, the University of Manouba (UMA) Scientific Council of the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Humanities announced that it stripped the title of emeritus professor from Habib Kazdaghli for his planned participation in an international conference in Paris with Israeli academics. 

Kazdaghli is historian and former dean of the university faculty of letters, arts, and humanities. Kazdaghli planned to participate in a conference titled “General perspectives: the legal and religious status of the Jews of Tunisia through the press, magazines and writings” organized by the Tunisian Jewish History Society in Paris from April 16 to 18. 

On April 11, Kazdaghli received letters from the UMA president’s office and the Scientific Council of the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Humanities denouncing his planned participation in the conference and alleging that he was “organizing meetings behind the scenes of the symposium to enable [the] normalisation [of relations] with Israel.” 

University authorities subsequently stripped Kazdaghli of the professor emeritus title. 

Scholars at Risk is concerned about a higher education institution renouncing the title of emeritus professor from a scholar for his participation in an international academic conference. Higher education authorities should refrain from such disciplinary actions on apparently political grounds and uphold strong due process standards for faculty. Politically motivated actions in response to a scholar’s academic activity undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.