2018 IIE-SRF FORUM
On March 9th the 2018 IIE-SRF Forum ‘Protecting Scholarship + Promoting Partnership’ took place in the IIE-SRF headquarters in New York. This year’s forum was focused on promoting new partnerships in order to further help and protect threatened scholars worldwide.
The day-long event held astonishing panels of speakers, from human rights defenders to government representatives and philanthropies. In addition, we had the opportunity to hear the voices and life-experiences of several rescued scholars, who gave us a lesson of dignity and professionalism. Interesting questions and tearful statements were raised,
“Why don’t we have a governmental ministry of peace” – Indian scholar; “We had to exit from our country but our country didn’t exit from us” – Yemeni scholar.
By the end of the scholar panel, we felt grateful to have a foundation like Scholar Rescue Fund fighting every day to rescue threatened scholars from imminent danger. Yet a lot needs to be done…
Canada, considered one of the most welcoming countries in the world, with a latest increase of 20-30% of outside students and receiving up to 500,000 students from abroad only last year, is currently hosting 22 IIE-SRF scholars, and proudly received the Henry G. Jarecki Award by IIE-SRF for this remarkable accomplishment. Similarly, we had the opportunity to learn from European countries. Finland, Germany and France presented their latest achievements hosting threatened scholars in their universities, always in partnership with IIE-SRF. Together, lessons are being learnt, and future efforts will be continued to support threatened scholars globally.
A refugee welcome map was also presented. Created by The European University Association, it collects almost 250 initiatives from higher education institutions from 31 countries, and it is aimed to identify common challenges and derive good practices for a long-term sustainable integration of refugees, one of the main challenges of the hosting universities and institutions.
The New York premiere of the documentary film Science in Exile, directed by Italian filmmaker Nicole Leghissa, and produced by The World Academy of Sciences closed the 2018 IIE-SRF Forum. The documentary showed the struggles that the threatened scholars suffer until they successfully leave their countries and start a new life abroad, where they can continue with their research.
A perfect final for an inspirational and moving day filled of new ideas and energies to continue battling this worldwide disease that “is denying the education and freedom, a crime against democracy” – Kader Konuk.