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Wilson Center Launches New Initiative for Threatened and Displaced Scholars

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is launching a new Initiative to offer residential fellowships to foreign scholars who face threats to their lives or their careers in their home countries. The new program seeks to provide a temporary institutional base for scholars who face threats because their research and actions have challenged their countries’ authoritarian regimes or because their countries face ongoing conflicts. 

“Providing a safe haven to scholars-at-risk through this initiative responds to a pressing humanitarian crisis,” declared Ambassador Mark Green, the Wilson Center’s President and CEO. “With the retreat of democracy around the globe, the threat to academic freedom has never been greater.”

In launching this Initiative, the Wilson Center is delighted to join the Institute of International Education Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) Alliance, a global network of partners offering practical support to threatened scholars. IIE-SRF is the only global program that arranges and funds fellowships for threatened and displaced scholars at partnering higher education institutions worldwide. The Wilson Center will arrange a select number of fellowship appointments each year in cooperation with IIE-SRF. 

The Wilson Center has offered at-risk scholars, practitioners, and activists fellowship opportunities on an ad hoc basis since the 1970s. The new initiative institutionalizes and amplifies these earlier arrangements to provide a more sustained measure of support. Threatened scholars selected through this Initiative will join the Wilson Center’s residential community of scholars in Washington, DC. The Wilson Center will arrange the visas and provide financial support to the fellows for a full year.

Additional information about the IIE-SRF program and its eligibility criteria can be found on its website. 

Notes to editors:

1.    The Wilson Center provides a strictly nonpartisan space for the worlds of policymaking and scholarship to interact. By conducting relevant and timely research and promoting dialogue from all perspectives, it works to address the critical current and emerging challenges confronting the United States and the world.