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Scholars In Prison

Student Advocacy Seminar


Monitoring Attacks

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Around the world today, scholars are attacked because of their words, their ideas and their place in society. Those seeking power and control work to limit access to information and new ideas by targeting scholars, restricting academic freedom and repressing research, publication, teaching and learning. The Scholars at Risk Network responds to these attacks. Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of higher education institutions dedicated to protecting threatened scholars, preventing attacks on higher education communities and promoting academic freedom worldwide.

To learn about Network opportunities for higher education institutions and associations, researchers, and students, please download the Getting Involved Guide.

Protecting Scholars

Scholars at Risk protects scholars suffering grave threats to their lives, liberty and well-being, primarily by arranging positions of sanctuary at institutions in our network for those forced to flee. In most cases this is a one semester or one year position as a visiting scholar, researcher or professor at a higher education institution in a safe location anywhere in the world. Scholars at Risk also provides advisory services for host institutions and scholars, including those still under threat as well as those forced into exile who are struggling to restart their lives and their careers.

Scholars at Risk established its Scholars-in-Prison Project to help protect scholars unable to leave their home countries due to threats, restrictions or wrongful imprisonment, as well as to respond to widespread threats against an entire faculty, institution or educational system. The project monitors cases of attacks on scholars and academic freedom and issues media alerts and calls for letters and other interventions aimed at lifting of restrictions or charges, improvement in treatment or conditions of detention, release from detention, and/or investigations and accountability for past harms.  

The SAR Speaker Series raises awareness of attacks on scholars and academic freedom by organizing events at network member institutions featuring formerly at-risk scholars now outside of the country of danger. These events help scholars make new contacts and reestablish the personal and professional relationships that lead to future opportunities, while at the same time introducing local higher education communities to these inspiring, courageous individuals.

Since the network’s launch over 10 years ago, more than 400 scholars have found sanctuary and hundreds more have benefited from these and other services. In return, scholars contribute to their host communities through teaching, research, lectures and other activities.

Preventing Attacks on Higher Education & Promoting Academic Freedom

Building on our work to protect threatened scholars, Scholars at Risk works to prevent attacks on higher education communities and to promote academic freedom by targeting the root causes of intellectual repression. SAR is developing a system for monitoring attacks on academic freedom and circulating monitoring reports to policymakers and the public. The system will help to identify trends, develop best practices, and build increasingly effective responses to attacks. SAR also undertakes research aimed at building greater understanding of international, regional and national legal and administrative standards protecting academic freedom; organizes workshops and trainings on academic freedom designed for higher education leaders, administrators, and faculty; and publishes an online University Values bulletin.

Get Involved

Scholars at Risk provides a range of opportunities for involvement in network activities including opportunities for institutional involvement in hosting scholars and events, and for individual involvement of faculty, researchers, students and the public.  Scholars at Risk welcomes inquiries from those interested in getting involved by email to More information on Scholars at Risk network membership can be found here.  You can follow Scholars at Risk on Facebook ( or Twitter (
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