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When the peaceful uprising began in Syria during the Arab Spring, Dr. Amal Alachkar was among the academics who supported the student movement demanding dignity, freedom of speech, and justice for all Syrians. But speaking out put her research and her life in danger. Support from the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund enabled Dr. Alachkar to join UC Irvine as a professor and after her fellowship ended, she was able to secure a full-time academic position at UC Irvine, where she has already helped to establish UC Irvine’s first online master’s program in Pharmacology.

With the support of the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund, Dr. Alachkar was able to advance her research to understand the neurobiological causes of and to find effective therapies for disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, depression, schizophrenia and autism.

IIE has a century-long legacy of protecting and advancing scholarship by providing urgent financial support and services to academics, students, and artists whose education and careers are interrupted or threatened by violence or natural disasters. Today, only 1% of the world’s more than 65 million people displaced by war and conflict attend university, compared to the global average of 34%. Educational access for displaced and threatened students and scholars is key to restoring stability, economic development, improving public health, and safety overall.