Scholars ask questions. That can be very threatening to those whose power depends on controlling what people know. Every year, thousands of scholars worldwide are harassed, threatened, imprisoned, even tortured and killed for what they do. Scholars at Risk works to protect them. Scholars at Risk works to get scholars out of danger and back into the classroom.
The Courage to Think Monologues are their stories. Based on the real lives of scholars assisted by Scholars at Risk Network members and partners, these are the stories of people who have had the courage to keep thinking, questioning, writing, teaching, publishing and sharing ideas, despite grave risks. Through these monologues we celebrate them, even as they challenge all of us who enjoy a safe space to think to use that space, and to defend it.
We are grateful to SAR’s long-time partner, the University Assistance Fund (UAF) in the Netherlands, for providing the inspiration for this publication. In 2012, UAF organized a series of performances of what were called the Forbidden Science Monologues at higher education institutions across the Netherlands. The tremendous success of UAF’s initiative inspired us to bring the monologues to a wider audience.
We hope you will read and share these stories with your classmates, students, colleagues and friends. We hope you will organize performances and discussions of your own. We hope you are inspired, as we are inspired every day by the scholars who look to us for help. We hope you will join us, support Scholars at Risk, and help us protect more scholars and everyone’s right to think, question and share ideas, freely and safely.
– Jonathan Fanton, SAR Board Chair, and Robert Quinn, Executive Director