Campus & Community

Safe haven sought for persecuted scholars

2 min read

The University Committee on Human Rights Studies is launching a new Harvard initiative to assist scholars who face the risk of persecution in their home countries because of their beliefs, scholarship, or identity. The yearlong fellowship is intended to provide a safe environment for academics, writers, or independent intellectuals (employment at an academic institution is not required of fellowship candidates) to pursue scholarly work without fear of repression, violence, censorship, or punishment. The fellowship is not envisaged as an opportunity to mobilize political support on the issues giving rise to a scholar’s predicament.

The University believes it has a particular responsibility to demonstrate its global leadership and active engagement with the international academic community by committing itself to host one or more displaced/persecuted scholar(s). Harvard has therefore decided to join Scholars at Risk, a national network of universities and colleges that defends the human rights of scholars worldwide by arranging temporary positions in American universities.

Starting in academic year 2002-03, Harvard will provide a fellowship for at least one persecuted scholar to pursue their scholarly work. The scholar will be hosted as a visiting fellow in the appropriate academic department; no teaching will be required.

Nominations for the new fellowship are being solicited from all members of the Harvard faculty. The deadline for submissions is Monday, April 8. This fast-approaching deadline is dictated by the desire to have a fellow in place for the fall semester. The selection committee will review submissions and consult appropriate departmental hosts of possible candidates. A candidate will be selected by May 10.

Nomination forms are available at the University Committee’s Web site at Fellowship submissions may be sent to Afreen Alam, coordinator of the University Committee on Human Rights Studies, by e-mail:; fax: (617) 495-4297; or postage: 218 Eliot, Kennedy School of Government, 79 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge MA 02138.