Scholars at Risk is an international network of institutions and individuals working to promote academic freedom and to defend the human rights of scholars worldwide... more »

Get Involved


Courage to Think: A video intro to Scholars at Risk.  Watch>

 
SAR ACTIVITIES MENU
Become a Friend
Tell your friends
Membership
Subscribe


Scholars In Prison

Student Advocacy Seminar

INVITE A SPEAKER

Courage to Think

Regional Initiative

Monitoring Attacks

Workshops

Print Page
Event: Academic Freedom in Central Asia: The Case of Alexander Sodiqov

July 22, 2014 5:00 - 7:30 PM (followed by a brief reception with refreshments)
New York University, Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South, Room 907

To register for this event, please click here.

Alexander Sodiqov, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, was taken into custody on June 16 while carrying out sociological field research in Tajikistan. Although Tajik officials have not yet commented directly on his case, Sodiqov is reportedly facing a charge of treason, a crime carrying a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. Sodiqov’s arrest has had an immediate chilling effect on academic freedom, not only in Tajikistan, but across Central Asia. Scholars at Risk has issued a call for letters of appeal to be sent to the authorities in Tajikistan.

Please join us for a panel discussion that examines the latest developments in Sodiqov’s case, assesses the implications of his possible prosecution and looks at potential options for the international community to pressure the Tajik government into releasing the scholar.

Featuring:

Edward Schatz, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto.
Alexander Cooley, Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College in New York City.
Anne Nelson, Adjunct Associate Professor Lecturer of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.
John Heathershaw, Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Exeter, United Kingdom.
Rob Quinn, Founding Executive Director of the Scholars at Risk Network, based at New York University..


UNIVERSITY VALUES e-bulletin, July 2014 (new blog format!)

University Values header

Scholars at Risk is pleased to announce the release of the July 2014 edition of UNIVERSITY VALUES, an electronic bulletin featuring articles, essays and announcements promoting discussion and understanding of university values - including access, accountability/ transparency, academic freedom/quality, autonomy/good governance, and social responsibility. SAR coordinates the production and circulation of the bulletin, in cooperation with an international network of contributing organizations and individuals. The views presented are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent SAR or its respective members.  The July 2013 to July 2014 editions are available here.  (An archive of prior editions from 2009-2012 is available here.)


SAR Network 2014 Global Congress, 9-10 April 2014

Scholars at Risk’s triennial Global Congress was held in Amsterdam on April 9-10. The theme was "Freedom to Think, Responsibility to Act,” recognizing the important role that scholars and the higher education sector generally play in society, while at the same time challenging members of the sector to consider whether access to higher education and the enjoyment of academic freedom carry with them responsibilities. If yes, what are they and how are they to be met? The Congress explored these issues through panels, roundtable discussions, workshops and a performance of Courage to Think Monologues (featuring the stories of threatened scholars assisted by our network).  The Congress also included the 2014 SAR Network Meeting reviewing SAR’s mission, governance and strategy. Thanks to all who attended.

The summary report of the Congress is available here.  It includes brief summaries of the discussions, key recommendations, and references to the many ways your institution, researchers and students benefit and can be a part of this important work, as well as links to videos, presentations, media stories and network membership information.  We invite you to share it with colleagues at your institution and other institutions, inviting them to get involved.  We invite you also to continue the discussions on SAR's Facebook and Twitter pages (#free2think). More information on the Congress is available at www.scholarsatrisk.org/Amsterdam




UPDATE: Alexander Sodiqov released on bail, must remain in Tajikstan


New York, July 23, 2014 -- According to reports, Alexander Sodiqov was released on bail on July 22 and is currently at home with family. However, Sodiqov continues to be under investigation for charges related to treason, a crime carrying a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, and is prohibited from leaving Tajikistan. Sodiqov, a Tajik national and PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, was taken into custody on June 16 while carrying out field research on conflict resolution and civil society in Tajikistan.

Scholars at Risk will continue to monitor developments in this case. Many thanks to all who joined Scholars at Risk in sending letters of appeal on Alexander Sodiqov's behalf to the authorities in Tajikistan.



SAR calls for letters on behalf of university lecturer arrested in Ethiopia

New York, July 23, 2014 – Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned by reports that  Abraha Desta, a political science lecturer at Mekelle University, was arrested and detained on July 8th. 

Scholars at Risk understands that on July 8, 2014 policed arrested Mr. Desta, along with three others, and that he has been held incommunicado since that time. He many have been relocated to Addis Abba. It is believed that Mr. Desta’s arrest is a response to his involvement with the legally registered Arena Tigray party, as well as opinions he expressed on social media websites. No official charges have been made public, but it has been reported that he could face charges for alleged terrorist offenses.

SAR calls for letters, faxes and emails respectfully urging authorities to investigate the situation, to secure the scholars’ immediate release or, pending their release, to explain publicly the circumstances of Mr. Desta’s arrest and detention and to ensure his well-being, access to counsel and access to family. Send a letter of your own, or visit our monitoring website to learn more.



UPDATE: Reports indicate that Professor Tohti has not been tried in secret in China

New York, June 24, 2014 – Reports emerging over the weekend indicate that Uyghur economist Professor Ilham Tohti was not tried and sentenced in secret in China, as had been suggested last week.

Professor Tohti’s lawyer confirmed that no trial had taken place, and that the case was transferred to the public prosecutor’s office in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province. Professor Tohti was arrested on January 15, 2014, and has been held incommunicado since, reportedly on charges of separatism or inciting separatism. Scholars at Risk understands that he is still being denied access to counsel and family.



Dean Habib Kazdaghli Acquitted!

New York, June 20, 2014 -- Scholars at Risk welcomes the news that Habib Kazdaghli, Dean of the Faculty of letters, Arts and Humanities in Tunisia’s Manouba University, was acquitted by the Court of Appeal in Tunis on June 17, 2014. Dean Kazdaghli was originally acquitted in 2013 and the case had been submitted for appeal.

Dean Kazdaghli had been charged with “violence perpetrated by a civil servant in the course of his duties” under Article 101 of the Penal Law, with a possible punishment of five years imprisonment. These charges arose from an incident on March 6, 2012, after two students -- who forcibly and without permission entered and disrupted the Dean’s office -- had accused the Dean of slapping one of them. Dean Kazdaghli repeatedly denied the charges and was acquitted in May 2013. The students were reportedly convicted of damaging property and interfering with a public official and given a suspended sentence. The case was submitted for appeal in December 2013, but the Court of Appeal in Tunis once again acquitted Dean Kazdaghli this week.

Scholars at Risk joined many others in advocating on Dean Kazdaghli’s behalf. Many thanks to all who sent letters of appeal on behalf of this and other scholars. More




SAR expresses grave concern over recent intimidation of scholars in Thailand

New York, May 29, 2014 -- Scholars at Risk  is gravely concerned over recent reports that several Thai academics have been ordered to turn themselves in to military authorities, following the Thai military’s seizure of power and declaration of martial law last week. These reports raise serious concerns about the intimidation of intellectuals in Thailand and the ability to conduct world-class scholarship in such an environment.

Scholars at Risk calls on Thai authorities to rescind the May 24, 2014 order, to release any scholars currently detained, and to reaffirm publicly the government's support for internationally recognized principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy.  Pending this, Scholars at Risk calls upon Thai authorities to ensure the well-being of any scholars or others held in custody under the order or otherwise, including disclosing their location, any charges against them, and guaranteeing access to counsel, family and any necessary medical treatment.  Scholars at Risk further calls on Thai authorities to ensure that any proceedings against scholars held proceed in a timely manner consistent with Thailand’s obligations under international law, in particular internationally recognized standards of due process, fair trial, academic freedom and free expression, and freedom of association. More



SAR honored with Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award

Scholars at Risk is honored to receive Tufts University’s Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award. The award is given in commemoration of former university chancellor and president Dr. Jean Mayer, whose dictum was: “Scholarship, research and teaching must be dedicated to solving the most pressing problems facing the world.” The inscription on the award reads: “For your extraordinary embrace of intellectuals fleeing persecution and violence and for your vigorous defense of the principles of unencumbered inquiry and academic freedom.” SAR is grateful to all our members and partners who make this important work possible.

The award was presented to SAR on February 28th at Tufts University’s annual Institute for Global Leadership symposium, which focused on “The Future of the Middle East and North Africa”, and featured international practitioners, activists, academics, public intellectuals, and journalists, including SAR scholars from Bahrain and Syria.


Tunisia's NCA Approves Article 32 protecting academic freedoms in new constitution

University and the Nation Report Cover, Nov 2013

On January 6th Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly adopted a constitutional provision guaranteeing protection of academic freedoms. Article 32 of the new constitution states that "academic freedoms and freedom of scientific research shall be guaranteed" and requires that "[t]he state shall seek to provide the necessary means to develop scientific and technological research."  The measure passed by a vote of 171 for, 6 against, and 6 abstentions. The NCA is scheduled to adopt the full constitution by January 14. Adoption requires two-thirds of the assembly's 217 members; otherwise it will have to be put to a public referendum.

With the new Article 32, Tunisia joins at least 20 other states that include explicit protection for academic freedom or academic liberty in their constitutions. Constitutions in another 99 states include language directly guaranteeing elements of academic freedom (including, for example, institutional autonomy), while 76 states indirectly guarantee academic freedom via related rights, including the freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and right to education. (Full list of countries here.)

Scholars at Risk supports the inclusion of language explicitly protecting academic freedom and institutional autonomy in national constitutions, basic laws and national higher education statutes. Explicit protection helps to ensure the security of higher education communities and their members, freeing them to fulfill their vital educational, social, cultural, economic and political functions, to the benefit of society.

Scholars at Risk has been concerned about pressures on higher education communities in Tunisia and throughout the Arab Spring countries, including co-organizing an international conference in Tunis together with Tunisian partners and New York University's Center for Dialogues. The report of the conference, The University and the Nation: Safeguarding Higher Education in Tunisia and Beyond, was released on November 18th. Details of the event are available on SAR's Events page.


New Report: Institutional Autonomy and the Protection of Higher Education from Attack

Autonomy & Security report cover image

Scholars at Risk is pleased to share the publication of a new report, "Institutional Autonomy and the Protection of Higher Education from Attack."  The report examines the need for increased efforts to protect higher education from violent and coercive attacks by simultaneously increasing security and autonomy.  The report is issued by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA).  Scholars at Risk is a member of the coalition's Higher Education Working Group and played a leading role in developing the report.


 


 
SAR News Headlines SAR Events

01/28/2014, Providing a safe haven for scholars at risk Montreal is half a world away from the rural community of Bure, Ethiopia, where Semahagn Abebe was raised by his grandmother. One of eleven children, he soon moved to the capital city, Addis Ababa, to pursue higher education and launch his career.
more »

10/25/2013, Prof Suspended Over Tweet Won't Return in 2013 The chancellor of the University of Kansas announced Thursday that a journalism professor suspended over a tweet that angrily targeted the National Rifle Association after the Navy Yard shootings will not return to his classroom in 2013.
more »

10/25/2013, Confederate flag raises issues, ire at a N.Y. college ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A University of Rochester student says college officials violated his right to free expression by forcing him to take down a Confederate flag he had put in the window of his room on campus.
more »

02/21/2013, The University and the Nation: Safeguarding Higher Education in Tunisia and Beyond Scholars at Risk and the NYU Center for Dialogues announce a conference, The University and the Nation: Safeguarding Higher Education in Tunisia and Beyond, at University of Manouba in Tunis, Tunisia on...
more »

05/23/2011, Launch of Scholars at Risk, Norway Section Scholars at Risk, Norway Section will be launched at Oslo University College (HiO). The Norwegian Section will represent Norway in the wider international Scholars at Risk Network and organize and coordinate...
more »

04/27/2011, Swimming with Sharks: How Big Pharma Threatens Academic Freedom The University of Groningen, member of the SAR-UAF network in the Netherlands, hosts “Swimming with Sharks: How Big Pharma Threatens Academic Freedom,” from 8 to 10 p.m. on April 27 at the Academiegebouw,...
more »

Home | Contact | Site Map
194 Mercer Street, Room 410, New York, NY, 10012 USA
TEL 1-212-998-2179 FAX 1-212-995-4402 EMAIL scholarsatrisk@nyu.edu
© 2009 - 2013 Scholars at Risk Network
New York University