News and Events

Roundtable Discussion with SRF Scholars


On Wednesday, September 22, 2010 the Scholar Rescue Fund hosted a breakfast roundtable discussion at IIE’s headquarters in New York.  The discussion focused on repression of intellectual freedom and its wide-reaching impact on education, civil societies, and the work and daily lives of persecuted academics worldwide.  Seven SRF scholar-grantees from Ethiopia, Gaza, Iran, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan and Syria told their stories and discussed what the future holds for their countries and their potential to return home.  

More than 60 guests attended the event.  Representatives from host institutions and partner organizations included: The Richard Lounsbery Foundation, the New School for Social Research, the Qatar Foundation, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Free Dimensional, Belarus Free Theater, and the Committee of Concerned Scientists.  Also in attendance were donors, IIE/ SRF board members and IIE staff.  

In their words:

 “The scholar is the mind of the whole society – that is what you [IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund] are saving…You are not just saving a scholar.  You are creating lives for future generations.”
“We lost our land, our roof and our people but when you are educated; no one can take that from you.”
    -Scholar from Gaza

“I cannot properly describe the things I saw in Baghdad after the invasion.  I can only describe them as horrific. The worst thing was, we could not work as scholars.”
“SRF helped me to survive.  It has opened a number of doors and opportunities I could not have dreamt to have had.”
“SRF gave me the opportunity to sit down with my fellow countrymen and talk about the future.”
    -Scholar from Iraq

 “My job is not just academic; I have a responsibility as a physician, a teacher, and to help my community.”  
    -Scholar from Sudan

 “Being far from the direct threat allowed me to work freely, enriching my experience at the same time.”
    -Scholar from Syria

“To save a scholar is to save knowledge and to restore a country for a new generation.”
    -Scholar from Kyrgyzstan

Pictured above (left to right): IIE alumnus Klemens von Klemperer and IIE President and CEO, Dr. Allan Goodman address guests.

Pictured above: SRF scholar addresses guests.