Empowering At-Risk Scholars in Displacement

Academic Freedwom Week der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin © HU Berlin

Humboldt Universität zu Berlin will host its second Academic Freedom Week from July 1st to July 5th, 2024.

Freedom is the academic motif 2024 for the German Federal Ministry Education and Research (BMBF). Building on the rewarding experience of our inaugural Academic Freedom Week 2023, this year we dedicate our series of events to standing in solidarity with at-risk scholars, emphasizing the individual experiences and needs of those facing persecution, displacement, and censorship. Amid escalating threats to academic freedom worldwide, our renewed mission aims to provide tangible support for scholars in crisis.

From the war in Ukraine to repressive measures in Russia, China, and Turkey, and the violation of the right to education for women and girls in Afghanistan, the challenges confronting academics in non-democratic countries are alarming. The targeting of students and professors on university campuses across Iran further underscores the urgency of our mission.

Many scholars risk extrajudicial persecution for expressing dissent or conducting research that challenges state narratives, forcing them to seek refuge in academic institutions abroad. However, recent events have exposed gaps in our ability to support these at-risk scholars effectively.

Academic Freedom Week 2024 acknowledges the need for collective action to safeguard academic freedom during crises. Our focus this year is on amplifying the voices of scholars in displacement, understanding their stories, and addressing their specific needs. Through targeted initiatives, we aim to provide comprehensive support, including scholarships, job opportunities, and essential resources vital for their academic and personal well-being.

By centering the experience of scholars in displacement, we seek to foster collaboration among academic institutions, policymakers, and civil society organizations. Together, we can build a more resilient global academic community that upholds the principles of academic freedom and protects those who defend them. Join us in empowering scholars at risk and ensuring that academia remains a beacon of freedom and knowledge for all.