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Scholars at Risk Canada Section

Scholars at Risk is grateful for the participation and support of current members of the Canada Section, including:

Brock University Carleton University Centennial College
Concordia University McGill University University of Guelph
University of Ottawa University of Toronto University of Winnipeg
Western University York University  

Scholars at Risk invites colleges, universities, associations and other interested partners across Canada to be in touch to learn more about specific opportunities and activities available to members of the Canada Section. For additional information, and to inquire about joining the section, please contact

View the launch program
Read a 'Share Your Stories' feature on Centennial College
Watch a 'Share Your Stories' video from Massey College/ University of Toronto
Read a blurb about the launch in The National Post
Read an article about McGill University's first SAR scholar, an Ethiopian law professor

Carleton University and University of Ottawa launch a new SAR program

March 4, 2015

Two new SAR members, Carleton University and University of Ottawa, came together on March 4, 2015 for "Je Suis Scholar," a full day launch of a joint SAR program. The event was attended by members of both campus communities and culminated in a panel discussion featuring SAR scholars, Farai Gonzo and Baktybek Beshimov.

Ms. Gonzo, a journalist and academic from Zimbabwe, and Dr. Beshimov, a politican and scholar from Kyrgystan, described the extreme challenges they faced due to their work in human rights and politics, and commented on the current needs of their colleagues in traditional and non-traditional scholarly professions who remain in their respective home countries. Both scholars, who are now teaching in North American higher education institutions, shared their deep and common appreciation for their host institutions and the role the Network can play in assisting threatened scholars.

That same day, CBC Radio invited Ms. Gonzo and Dr. Melanie Adrian, assistant professor of law at Carleton, to speak about Scholars at Risk and the new partnership. Dr. Adrian, who chairs the SAR committee at Carleton, discussed the University's plans to co-host their first scholar in the 2015-2016 academic year in collaboration with the University of Ottawa, and Ms. Gonzo, who now teaches at Centennial College in Toronto, shared her powerful story of defying the government's efforts to censor her work. A recording of the interview can be listened to here.

Western University welcomes first Scholar at Risk

January 22, 2013

On January 22, 2013, Western University, Canada, hosted a reception celebrating the university's first Scholar at Risk, Professor Anna Dolidze, who joined Western Law in July 2012 to teach and research international law
. Western University President Amit Chakma spoke at the event on the importance of protecting academic freedom: “Western has an opportunity and a responsibility to play a leadership role in helping to protect academic freedom, wherever it may happen to fall under threat." Western is a founding member of the Scholars at Risk - Canada Section, which was launched in June 2012 and now consists of eight member institutions. For more information, please see this video of the January 22nd event.

University of Toronto hosts Gown Run for Risk

September 8, 2012

Braving inclement weather, participants and volunteers from the University of Toronto ran or walked in the rain to complete the first Gown Run for Risk and helped raise $695 for the Scholars-at-Risk program at Massey College/School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto.

SAR announces launch of Canada Section

June 29, 2012

Scholars at Risk is pleased to announce the launch of Scholars at Risk - Canada Section, which took place on June 22, 2012 at the University of Toronto's Massey College. The Honourable Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Winnipeg, formally launched the section, presenting a keynote that focused on the responsibility of academic institutions to protect academic counterparts worldwide who are unable to pursue scholarship safely.

The launch of the Canadian Section represents the culmination of several years of partnership between Canadian higher education institutions and the wider, international Scholars at Risk Network. SAR ‘sections’ are a means of engaging national institutions in that wider effort, and of enhancing organization and coordination of local activities in support of academic freedom, university autonomy and related values. In joining Scholars at Risk, Canadian higher education institutions, academic leadership and staff are sending a strong message of solidarity with scholars and institutions in situations where academic freedom is restricted and research, publication, teaching and learning are repressed.

Participants at the launch event included faculty, administrators, union representatives, human rights leaders and students. SAR representatives from across Canada and SAR’s partner network in the Netherlands took part in the launch. The day began with presentations providing background on the inspiration for involvement in Scholars at Risk's work. Massey College Master John Fraser opened proceedings, reflecting on the College's long-standing involvement in Scholars at Risk and sharing inspiring stories of scholars previously hosted by Massey. Vicki Bismilla, Vice-President Academic and Chief Learning Officer of Centennial College, shared her college's experience integrating SAR activities into the institution’s established programs and encouraged participants to consider the fact that engaging in SAR's work can help an institution meet its core mission. SAR’s Executive Director, Robert Quinn, offered remarks on the role that institutions and individuals have in defending the intellectual space in society, drawing examples from SAR's experience protecting threatened scholars and promoting academic freedom.

Two SAR scholars, Anna Dolidze of Georgia and Dr. Clement Jumbe of Zimbabwe, presented at the launch. Both shared with attendees their stories, summarizing the threats they had faced in their home countries, the (often quite indirect) paths they took to reengaging with academia in their new countries, and the ways in which the Scholars at Risk network and Canadian institutions have been able to help them.

President of PEN Canada and award-winning author Charles Foran gave remarks at midday, drawing from his experience with threatened and refugee writers in Canada. Charles described writers and scholars as in the vanguard of moving society forward because of their willingness to inquire, to create and to generate ideas. Throughout the afternoon, participants discussed the goals of the Canadian section, learned more about SAR activities available to university and college members of the section and determined next steps for the section. It was agreed that a steering committee would be established to coordinate joint activities of the section and to represent Canada in the wider SAR network. Following this discussion, the Scholars at Risk - Canada Section was officially launched by The Honourable Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Winnipeg. To mark the occasion, representatives from founding member institutions of the Canada Section participated in a signing ceremony, committing anew to join in solidarity with Scholars at Risk members worldwide to protect endangered scholars and promote academic freedom.



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