News and Events

Giulio Regeni’s Murder and the Global Erosion of Academic Freedom

By Stefania D'Ignoti

Like journalists and human rights activists, academic scholars operate on dangerous terrain in many countries where free speech is limited and criticism of the government is not tolerated. Regeni’s case is an eye-opening incident about a little-known phenomenon that affects the lives of many academics in authoritarian countries.

The Institute of International Education, an independent nonprofit located in New York, also runs a rescue fund that assists several dozen scholars who have had to flee their home countries due to threats or pressure, as a result of their academic research.

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Academics trapped in Syria and Iraq: what is the best way to help?

By Matthew Reisz

The Scholar Rescue Fund in New York has called further attention to the plight of academics trapped in Syria and Iraq – and what can be done to help them.

“We know that academics are specifically targeted by the so-called Islamic State,” said assistant director James King, “both because of their presumed secular outlook and also because they were employees of state institutions, and the state is the enemy in both Syria and Iraq. Individuals have been beheaded for refusing to comply with the changed curriculum.”

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Elsewhere in Science: Syrian scholars, management blunders, and more

By Knvul Sheikh

“The 5-year-old Syrian civil war has displaced 4.8 million people, including some 2000 scholars,” Knvul Sheikh wrote on Monday. A number of these “exiled researchers gathered to tell their stories and highlight the urgent need for support at a symposium in New York City on 29 April put on by the nonprofit Institute of International Education (IIE). According to IIE, fewer than 10% of the displaced scholars have resumed their academic careers. Most are still refugees in neighboring countries, where they encounter resentment and bureaucratic obstacles to finding jobs.” Read the full piece for more on their stories.

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Organizations Step Up to Help Scholars Fleeing War, Threats

By Karin Zeitvogel

The Washington Diplomat highlights the important work of an IIE-SRF fellow from Syria, the historic work of IIE in finding safe haven for threatened scholars worldwide, and the acute current need to support them now.

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Scholars describe exodus from Syria

By Knvul Sheikh

Science Magazine describes the conditions the drove Syrian scholars from their homes. IIE-SRF's 2016 Forum brought them together.

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2016 IIE-SRF Forum

IIE Scholar Rescue Fund Forum: Scholar Voices and University Action

The 2016 IIE-SRF Forum convened partners from diverse sectors—including higher education, human rights, government, and philanthropy—to address the urgent need to support scholars around the world who have suffered under repression and conflict. The Forum included panels on which IIE-SRF fellows reflected on their experiences in 2015, partnering universities explored effective responses to the causes and consequences of scholar persecution, and regional experts examined the impact of the Islamic State (ISIL) on academics.

The Power of Hope

By Stephen Schmidt

The University of Missouri profiles an IIE-SRF scholar from Syria specializing in endocrinology currently hosted at the university. 

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Forum Magazine: Internationalization in a Conflicted World

By Maija Airas and James R. King

The Syrian and Iraqi higher education sectors and the lives of their researchers and students have been upended due to conflict and war. In oppressive regimes, the academic pursuit of knowledge is commonly seen as a threat. These at-risk individuals often have a lot to contribute to human intellectual advancement. In Finland, among much discussion on the issue of refugees, a novel partnership is connecting some of these individuals to higher education institutions that can host them.

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Syrian Academics in Exile

By Ed. Paul O'Keeffe and Zsuzsanna Pásztor

New Research Voices (NRV) is a community platform for researchers to share their work, opinions, and ideas with other researchers from around the globe. In this issue, which features an interview with IIE-SRF's Assistant Director James King, articles by several IIE-SRF Syrian fellows explore what it means to be academics in exile and share the research that they hope to continue now that they have reached safe havens. 

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Institute of International Education Announces $1 Million Donation in Honor of Former DE Attorney General, Beau Biden

At a ceremony today in Wilmington, Delaware, the chairman of the Institute of International Education Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF), Mark Angelson, announced a $1 million gift in honor of Beau Biden, the former Attorney General of Delaware who passed away in May of 2015.

The endowment, made possible through an anonymous donation, will enable IIE-SRF to rescue one scholar in danger each year in perpetuity, as part of the organization’s work to ensure that there will always be a place where persecuted academics can find safe haven.

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