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“Protecting Threatened Scholars during Repression, Crisis and Conflict”

A Review of the Inaugural Summit of the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund

On October 24, 2014 at IIE's New York headquarters, the Institute and its Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) held the inaugural IIE-SRF Summit, "Protecting Threatened Scholars During Repression, Crisis and Conflict".

IIE-SRF Chairman Mark Angelson welcomed over 100 participants from the international community and encouraged participants to foster innovative collaborations across diverse sectors to enhance the global effort to protect threatened scholars and promote awareness of both the causes of scholar persecution and the resources available to combat its consequences.  The audience included representatives from universities and colleges, human rights actors and organizations, philanthropic donors, education leaders and over 25 IIE-SRF fellows and alumni.

Three panel discussions framed some of the more pressing issues facing scholars worldwide, highlighting best practices and exploring spaces of cross-sector collaboration to:

  • address urgent concerns related to the academic emergencies in Syria and Iraq,
  • understand the dynamics of state actors that serve as both protectors and perpetrators of human rights and academic freedom,
  • explore innovative resource allocation,
  • share original IIE-SRF research and related work by our partners, and
  • develop strategies to enhance our collective efforts to protect threatened scholars.

The Honorable Michael H. Posner, former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the State Department and co-founder of the Center for Business and Human Rights at NYU's Stern School of Business, offered a keynote address in which he reflected on John F. Kennedy’s timeless call for moral courage and encouraged participants to “think beyond the obvious” in collective action to protect threatened scholars.

IIE-SRF Chairman Emeritus Dr. Henry Jarecki presented the Beacon Award to Dr. Marina Cunningham, Executive Director of Montclair State University’s Global Education Center for setting the highest standards in raising awareness of scholar persecution and providing emergency support to scholars.

Participants noted the importance of the networking opportunities and many committed to join IIE-SRF efforts – either through hosting, raising awareness, or offering resources – to expand upon the program’s holistic, integrated responses to critical issues affecting individual scholars and entire academies around the world.

Download the 2014 IIE-SRF Forum Agenda.

For more information on the 2014 IIE-SRF Forum, visit the IIE website.