When scholars worldwide are no longer safe in their home countries, they can get help from other universities. The international organization, Scholars at Risk (SAR), has over 500 member universities spread out over 39 countries and welcomes persecuted scholars. Now the list counts CBS as well.
On February 18, Scholars at Risk opened its Danish branch hosted by the University of Copenhagen. On the day of the launch, CBS’ Dean of Research, Søren Hvidkjær, signed up to support the work of SAR.
“CBS wishes to express our support for the important work done by SAR. Academic freedom is key to any university, not least CBS, and SAR helps scholars who experience the most extreme forms of restrictions on academic freedom, including killings, violence and disappearances,” he says.
SAR was established in 1999 at the University of Chicago and was launched at a big international conference in 2000. According to its website, it provides sanctuary and assistance to more than 300 threatened scholars worldwide, every year.
CBS has joined SAR as a so-called contributing member, which involves paying a membership fee. The University of Copenhagen has been a member for a couple of years and offers positions to scholars at risk. This, however, is not yet a possibility at CBS, explains Søren Hvidkjær.
“For now, CBS is not in a financial position to offer employment for scholars at risk. However, this is certainly something that we would entertain if there were financial resources available. For instance, one might imagine that some foundations would support such an endeavor,” he says.
Henrik C. Wegener, the President of the University of Copenhagen, has told the Danish newspaper Politiken that the Danish universities that are members of SAR will exchange experience and knowledge, and raise funds to help the scholars at risk, for example by offering temporary positions.
”The more universities that join SAR, the stronger the organization’s credibility and clout. Ours is just a small contribution, but I believe that it’s a strong statement on the side of academic freedom,” says Søren Hvidkjær.
There are currently 700 scholars on the waiting list for a position at a university in a safer part of the world.