Swedish universities to launch Scholars at Risk section

Leaders from 17 universities across Sweden will convene on March 9, 2016, from 12:00 – 16:00 at the University of Gothenburg, to commemorate the launch of the Swedish Section of Scholars at Risk (SAR), a network of higher education institutions and individuals working to protect threatened scholars and promote academic freedom.

“Academic freedom is at the heart of the university’s mission. As members of the international education community we have a responsibility to defend and protect the free exchange of ideas,” said Helena Lindholm, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gothenburg, the first Swedish university to join the SAR Network in 2013. “In partnering with Scholars at Risk, Swedish universities are living out this responsibility through concrete actions to protect professors, researchers and other members of higher education communities facing severe threats to their lives and their liberty.” 

The launch of the SAR-Sweden Section represents the culmination of several years of partnership between Swedish higher education institutions and the wider, international SAR Network. SAR ‘sections’ are a means of engaging national institutions in that wider effort, and coordinating local activities in support of academic freedom and related values. SAR’s European Director Sinead O’Gorman shared, “We are delighted to celebrate the launch of the SAR-Sweden Section. By joining forces, Swedish universities are putting principles into practice on behalf of threatened scholars. Through their public, collective action in support of academic freedom, Swedish universities are helping to foster and promote the conditions necessary for free intellectual exchange.” 

In addition to the Vice Chancellors from Swedish member institutions and SAR’s European Director, the launch event will feature remarks from the President of PEN Sweden Ola Larsmo, and representatives from the SAR-Norway Section. Two SAR scholars who fled Syria and Pakistan will also mark the occasion by sharing their stories during on-stage interviews. The 10 founding members of the SAR-Sweden Network Section include:

  • Dalarna University
  • Karolinska Institutet
  • Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design
  • Lund University
  • Malmo University
  • Stockholm University
  • Umeå University
  • University of Gothenburg
  • University West
  • Uppsala University

A programme for the launch event has been made available online. For more information about the SAR-Sweden section and to pre-register for the launch event, please contact Karolina Catoni at or by phone at + 46 31 786 2679.

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