Scholars at Risk

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Scholars at Risk: protecting academic freedom
In too many countries, those seeking power and control are working to limit access to information and new ideas by targeting scholars, restricting academic freedom and repressing research, publication and learning. Every day scholars are threatened and killed. Colleges and universities are pressured and shut down.

UAF Scholars at Risk is a joint initiative of the The Foundation for Refugee Students UAF and the Scholars at Risk network (SAR) to defend threatened and refugee scholars, academic freedom and university values worldwide.

Sanctuary in the Netherlands
Since 2009, the UAF provides sanctuary in the Netherlands and Belgium for scholars who suffer threats in their home country. Through temporary academic positions, we help scholars to escape dangerous conditions and to continue their important work. In return, scholars contribute to their host institutions through teaching, research, lectures and other activities.

Many scholars return to their home countries after their visits. When safe return is not possible, the UAF and SAR will work with scholars to identify opportunities to continue their work abroad.

VU University and Scholars at Risk
The VU University in Amsterdam has been working with the Foundation for Refugee Students UAF and Scholars at Risk since 2011 to give one scholar a year the opportunity to work safely at VU University. Thanks to a subsidy of the VU association, in the upcoming three years two extra scholars a year can have this opportunity. This year the subsidy amounts to €32.000

Learn more about the UAF.

Our partners

Protecting academic freedom

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Crowdgiving for Scholars at Risk

On November 4, Triodos Foundation launched a crowdgivingplatform: Give the Change. One of the projects  is Scholars at Risk (SAR). The goal is to raise €10.000,-. With this amount, a scholar at risk can work safely for a year at an educational institute in the Netherlands. If 400 people give €25,- each, we reach our goal! Click here and join Give the Change.

Fake news, real risks: ‘Fact-checking could get me killed’

A human rights defender in Iraq is determined to fight the online spread of fake news, despite threats to his life. He explains why running one of the largest fact-checking organizations in the Middle East puts him at grave risk. 

Checking the reliability of information on the internet may not seem like a very dangerous undertaking. But for an Iraqi computer engineer who uses the name Adam, the dangers are significant. Whenever he is sitting behind his computer to expose false news stories, Adam is risking his life in a digital warzone. 
Read more

What can you do?

You can also contribute to Scholars at Risk! Ask for attention for academic freedom with an action or a meeting, or enable a safe working environment for a scholar at your university. We provide you with advice and materials.

More information: Bodil Stelwagen at the Foundation for Refugee Students UAF. Phone +31 30 2520835 or email