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Scholars at Risk and its sections and partner networks around the world organize events to promote academic freedom and respect for university values. Scholars at Risk members, staff and scholars assisted by the network frequently participate in conferences and other events related to SAR's mission. Upcoming events can be found on this calendar, with featured events listed below. To submit an event to the calendar, please contact For a complete list of past events please visit the Scholars at Risk event archive. To learn more about inviting a SAR scholar to speak, please visit our Speaker Series page.

Upcoming Events

2016 Scholars at Risk Network Global Congress
June 8-10, 2016

Co-hosted by the McGill University's Faculty of Law, Centre for Human Rights & Legal Pluralism and the Scholars at Risk Canada Section

Scholars at Risk announces the scheduling of the 2016 Scholars at Risk Network Global Congress for June 8-10, 2016 in Montreal.  The 2016 event will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Scholars at Risk Network and the collective efforts of network members and partners protecting scholars and promoting academic freedom worldwide. The Global Congress is the place where network members connect with partners from around the world, share experiences of hosting at-risk scholars, learn about new activities for faculty and students, and discuss strategies for meeting the challenges of protecting academic freedom. 

For more information, visit the Congress page.

Featured Past Events

Legal Restrictions on Thought & Expression in Pakistan, Egypt, Thailand, and Bahrain

March 14, 2016
Co-hosted by the National Endowment for Democracy

In a number of countries, counter-terrorism, blasphemy, sedition and similar laws are increasingly used to restrict free inquiry and expression, resulting in a shrinking academic and societal space for dialogue. Wrongful prosecutions under these laws not only threaten the well-being of targeted individuals, but undermine the quality of academic work and public discourse and deny everyone in society the benefits of expert knowledge, scientific and creative progress, and free expression.

These laws are often defended as reasonable restrictions on violent or anti-social conduct or as appropriate expressions of national or cultural prerogatives. In practice they are used to restrict thought, punish expression, and intimidate individuals and society generally.


Academic Freedom, Free Expression, and China's Quest for World-Class Universities

December 3, 2015
Co-hosted by The New School's Center for Public Scholarship and University of New Orleans Press

Can China become a world leader of higher education without full academic or expressive freedom? What challenges does this pose for western universities partnering with Chinese higher education, whether domestically by hosting student exchanges and Confucius Institutes, or through overseas programs or branch campuses? And what do these challenges in China mean for institutions partnering with higher education communities in other countries where academic and expressive freedom may be similarly constrained?

A recording of the event is available on YouTube.

Faculty and Researcher Development Workshop

June 3-5, 2015

SAR held a three-day workshop in Geneva, Switzerland, to introduce representatives of SAR member institutions, sections and partner networks to the SAR Academic Freedom Monitoring Project. Hosted by SAR member institution, the Université de Genève, the workshop gave current Monitoring Project researchers the opportunity to share developments of attacks on higher education in their countries of focus, and for everyone to discuss and plan advocacy initiatives to protect and promote academic freedom worldwide. Visit the Academic Freedom Workshops Page to learn more about previous workshops.

The European University Association (EUA) and SAR #HonorGarissa

April 27, 2015

Universities around the world answered EUA's call for a minute of silence remember and honor the victims of the April 2 attack on Garissa University College in Kenya. The attack, which left 147 dead and at least 79 wounded, was the deadliest Kenya has seen since the 1998 US Embassy bombing. SAR scholar Felix Kaputu gave remarks to commemorate the occasion.  Read EUA's statement on attacks on EUA's website.

Roger Williams University's Student Academic Showcase

April 21, 2015

Executive Director, Rob Quinn, gave the keynote speech opening the SAR member-institution's annual Student Academic Symposium and Honors.  In his speech, Rob discussed the essential role academic institutions play in protecting threatened and refugee scholars across the globe.  Students in a digital journalism course also had the opportunity to meet Rob and speak about the intrinsic relationship between SAR and the media.  Visit RWU's website and check out their Scholar-in-Prison project on Facebook.


Global Kids 2015 Youth Conference

April 17, 2015

Over 500 high school students and teachers from New York City and Washington D.C. came together for Global Kids' Annual Youth Conference at Baruch College.  SAR Program Associate, Daniel Munier, participated in this year's conference, which centered on the theme, "know justice, know peace." Students met with Daniel for a workshop and discussion of social justice and how the right to freely think and share ideas is essential to enacting change in local and global contexts.  Visit the Global Kids website to learn more about their programs and the annual conference.

Rob Quinn delivers opening plenary at the Forum on Education Abroad

March 25, 2015

Scholars at Risk joined university and study abroad professionals from around the world at the Forum on Education Abroad's 11th annual conference. The Forum brings together professionals in international education to discuss trends in study abroad, develop collaborative relationships, and hare best practices to improve the experience of students participating in international exchanges.

Rob Quinn, SAR's Executive Director, welcomed attendees at this year's conference by delivering his opening plenary, "We Leave our Guns at the Door: The Essential Role of Higher Education." In his speech, Rob discussed the "knowledge over force" principle whereby higher education stakeholders–including scholars, administrators, students and governments–use reason and dialogue to handle disputes, rather than resorting to intimidation, coercion or force to meet objectives. A copy of Rob's speech can be viewed by clicking here and more information about the annual conference can be found on the Forum on Education Abroad's website

Launch of SAR-Ireland section coordinating committee

Universities Ireland, in partnership with Scholars at Risk, launched the SAR-Ireland section coordinating committee at Trinity College Dublin on December 10, 2014. Speakers included Dr. Michael Murphy, President, Universities Ireland, Ruth Taillon, Secretary, Universities Ireland, Shadi Sadr, Iranian femininst and human rights defender, Dr. Roja Fazaeli, Lecturer in Islamic Civilisations, Trinity College Dublin, Claire Mary Dowling, a student at Trinity College Dublin and Sinead O’Gorman, European Director at SAR. 

SAR Speaker Series, Lund University, December 5, 2014

Lund University celebrated the launch of the Scholars at Risk program on campus with a SAR Speaker Series event on Friday December 5, 2014. Speakers included, from left to right, Pär Svensson, SAR Primary Representative at Lund University, Marit Egner, SAR Primary representative at University of Oslo, Dr. Shirin Zubair from Pakistan, Sinead O’Gorman, SAR European Director, and Margareta Nordstrand, Head of External Relations at Lund University.


SAR Speaker Series, University of Gothenburg, December 4, 2014

On December 4, as part of the SAR Speaker Series in Sweden, the University of Gothenburg hosted a meeting about Scholars at Risk for faculty, administrators and students. Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Helena Lindholm Schulz hosted the meeting. Professor Johan Öberg from the Faculty Office for Fine and Applied Arts gave a talk on “The importance of freedom of speech, academic thinking and expressions of art”. Sinead O’Gorman and Marit Egner presented Scholars at Risk’s global work and the activities of the SAR-Norway section, while Dr. Shirin Zubair presented on challenges to academic freedom in Pakistan. The University of Gothenburg is leading national efforts to engage more Swedish higher education institutions in activities to protect persecuted scholars and promote academic freedom.


SAR Speaker Series, Malmö University, December 3, 2014
The 2014 SAR Speaker Series in Sweden was launched with events at Malmö University on December 3. Pro-Vice-Chancellor Hans Lindquist and Ingrid Dackert, Dean, Faculty of Culture and Society hosted the meetings, with presentations from Per Bergström from the City of Malmö about the work of the ICORN network, a talk by Dr. Shirin Zubair on gender, education, academic freedom in Pakistan, and a presentation by Marit Egner on the activities of the Scholars at Risk Norway section. For press coverage, please see:

Academic Freedom in Central Asia: The Case of Alexander Sodiqov

On July 22, 2014 Scholars at Risk hosted a panel discussion at New York University on the topic "Academic Freedom in Central Asia: The Case of Alexander Sodiqov." The discussion panel addressed the recent arrest of Alexander Sodiqov, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, who was taken into custody while conducting research on conflict resolution in Tajikistan. Although Alexander Sodiqov has been released on bail, he remains under investigation and is prohibited from leaving the country.

The panelists included Edward Schatz, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto; Alexander Cooley, Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College; Anne Nelson, Lecturer at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and former director of the Committee to Protect Journalists; John Heathershaw, Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Exeter; and Rob Quinn, SAR's Executive Director. Together, the panelists discussed the developments in Alexander's case, and the serious concerns this incident raises on the state of academic freedom in Central Asia. Speaking from a multitude of different perspectives and extensive personal experience, each panelist emphasized the need to protect academic research from political pressure and to promote higher education values worldwide.

For more information on previous SAR events, please see the event archive here.


Scholars at Risk offers training sessions on best practices for promoting academic freedom and defending the human rights of scholars. Combining case study, role play and guided discussion, the sessions aims to equip participants to act effectively in defence of threatened scholars.  The trainings provide participants (university faculty, administrators, trustees, students, academic associations, unions and other stakeholders) with advice and guidelines for responding to threats to scholars, universities or associations around the world.

For further information on Scholars at Risk training sessions or to organize a session for your association or university, please contact or +1-212-998-2179.
Examples of past trainings
American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Best Practices for Defending Threatened Scientists

Scholars at Risk partnered with the Welfare of Scientists Working Group of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to host a training workshop on best practices for defending threatened scientists. The workshop was held at the AAAS offices in Washington D.C. on January 21, 2010. Representatives from scientific associations, universities, government agencies and the private sector participated in the workshop, which addressed the role of international and regional human rights standards in protecting individual scientists; procedures for evaluating requests for assistance from colleagues at-risk; effective response strategies; proven public and private advocacy techniques; alert-writing; and intelligent ways to engage key stakeholders in efforts to defend threatened scientists.
American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD)
Academic Freedom as Risk Management

Scholars at Risk presented a workshop on “Academic Freedom as Risk Management” at the American Conference of Academic Deans 66th Annual Meeting. The workshop, attended by provosts and deans from universities and colleges across the United States, was held on January 20, 2010 in Washington D.C. The session combined case study, role play and guided discussion to explore how grounding leadership in core university values can minimize threats to academic freedom, turning crises into opportunities to enhance an institution’s most valuable asset – its reputation.
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