Two new SAR members, Carleton University and University of Ottawa, came together on March 4, 2015 for “Je Suis Scholar,” a full day launch of a joint SAR program. The event was attended by members of both campus communities and culminated in a panel discussion featuring SAR scholars, Farai Gonzo and Baktybek Beshimov.
Ms. Gonzo, a journalist and academic from Zimbabwe, and Dr. Beshimov, a politician and scholar from Kyrgystan, described the extreme challenges they faced due to their work in human rights and politics, and commented on the current needs of their colleagues in traditional and non-traditional scholarly professions who remain in their respective home countries. Both scholars, who are now teaching in North American higher education institutions, shared their deep and common appreciation for their host institutions and the role the Network can play in assisting threatened scholars.
That same day, CBC Radio invited Ms. Gonzo and Dr. Melanie Adrian, assistant professor of law at Carleton, to speak about Scholars at Risk and the new partnership. Dr. Adrian, who chairs the SAR committee at Carleton, discussed the University’s plans to co-host their first scholar in the 2015-2016 academic year in collaboration with the University of Ottawa, and Ms. Gonzo, who now teaches at Centennial College in Toronto, shared her powerful story of defying the government’s efforts to censor her work. A recording of the interview can be listened to here.