Scholar Rescue in the Modern World

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The Institute of International Education (IIE) today released "Scholar Rescue in the Modern World." Read the report.

The Report, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, is an effort to share with a larger community the breadth and nature of the persecution of scholars around the globe. It is based on data from the first five years of activity of the Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF). SRF is a program within the Institute of International Education (IIE) which provides support and safe haven to threatened scholars. Scholars in any field and from any country may apply for one-year fellowships (renewable up to one additional year) to continue productive academic work at safe host institutions anywhere in the world.

Speaking at the UN University Forum in New York, where the report was launched, Carnegie Corporation president Dr. Vartan Gregorian said, "Institutions such as universities that are the centers of learning and knowledge, along with the scholars and teachers who are their heart and soul, are critical to the advancement of all humankind." Citing the Corporation's longtime support for IIE and international education in the belief that scholarship has no borders and no boundaries, he noted, "The freedom to learn, the freedom of thought, the freedom of assembly, and the freedom of speech must be sacrosanct, even under the most difficult conditions."

The World Report is based primarily on data collected from 2002 to 2007 from 847 applicants to the Scholar Rescue Fund, 140 of who were awarded life and career-saving grants. This data is correlated with information from other sources in an effort to illustrate potential links between the persecution of academics and conditions that exist within specific countries. In analyzing these cases, the SRF World Report has four goals: first, it aims to illustrate that academic oppression is a widespread and serious problem that often goes unnoticed and unpunished; second, it attempts to provide an understanding of who is being persecuted, how, and by whom; third, it seeks to explore why scholars are being persecuted in certain countries, extrapolating from correlations between various country indicators and conditions of academic oppression; and fourth, it proposes a number of new ideas and programs to aid in reducing the persecution of academics worldwide.