Scholars At Risk

The rundown

In Canada, we are privileged to enjoy many freedoms.  For this project, we are asking for your support to help scholars at risk who are threatened because of their scholarly teaching and research.  Since 2014, with generous support from donors, Carleton University has hosted three scholars at risk by providing salary, research support, and an opportunity to connect with an open and collaborative academic community.


Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of higher education institutions dedicated to protecting threatened scholars, preventing attacks on higher education communities, and promoting academic freedom worldwide. The network protects scholars suffering grave threats to their lives, liberty, and well?being by arranging positions of sanctuary at institutions in the network.  The Institute of International Education Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) also provides support and offers fellowships to support visiting appointments for threatened scholars to continue their work in safety at partnering academic institutions around the globe.

Carleton University and the University of Ottawa joined the SAR network in 2014.  Working together, with support from SRF and donations, the universities co?host scholars through this program.  We are seeking your support to continue and expand Carleton’s initiatives and offer hope to members of the global academic community.


In 2015, donors provided over $20,000 to support the launch of Carleton’s Scholar at Risk program.  Since then, we have raised an additional $10,000 to support the program.

In 2017-‘18, we hope to raise a minimum of $7,500 to contribute towards financial support for future scholars at risk.


From our Scholars at Risk, in their own words:

2017-’18: Prof.  Rahim Surkhi, School of Linguistics and Language Studies: “I love teaching and I’m excited to engage with young energetic students. I am looking forward to teaching Kurdish, a language that despite being official in Iraq, could be considered threatened in many parts of the world including Turkey and Iran.  The Kurds, being the biggest stateless nation in the world, cannot learn and teach their language in the school system of those countries.”

2016 & 2017: Prof. Simten Cosar, School of Journalism and Communication & Institute of Political Economy: “My involvement with SAR had started more than a decade ago as I was trying to do something for support to academics whose rights are violated because they speaktruth and/or because they do not refrain from critical research. At that time I wouldn’t have imagined myself being designated as another ‘scholar at risk’. I have been increasingly convinced about the value of such a network for all of us to continue in our critical and engaged stance in knowledge production processes. It is a valuable coincidence that my designation as a scholar at risk and my post as a visiting professor at Carleton University happened to be subsequent developments. Since fall 2016, Carleton has been some kind of a second home to me. I have found the opportunity to teach and research in different units at the university not out of my mid-term academic plans but due to the difficult conditions that seem to have been forcing the academic freedom in my home country. So, as I researched and taught through the funding provided for my visiting professorship position in the School of Journalism in fall 2016, and a similar visiting professorship at the Institute of Political Economy in fall 2017 I could observe the collegiality among the academics from different ranks with whom I had the chance to meet. During my current visit I could teach the two graduate courses that I have been planning for some time to well-intentioned graduate students with whom I could meet at a democratic academic platform. I also could feel the warm and solid support of the SAR network during my two visits. I believe SAR stands as a genuine and promising academic solidarity network that should be developed with multiple support layers.”

2015-’16: – Prof. Hossein Raeesi, Department of Law and Legal Studies: “When I left my country, I did not know if I would ever be able to return. On that day, as a 44?year old human rights lawyer with over 20 years of practice, I felt that I had lost my livelihood, my career, and my passion. Thanks to the support of Carleton/Ottawa U’s SAR initiative, I am finding a way back into my chosen career while making key connections so that I can continue working on advancing human rights issues.”