Edinburgh Global

The University is awarded for its ‘Distinguished Service’ by Scholars At Risk

The University has been recognised for its work in supporting persecuted scholars and defending academic freedom as a Sustaining Member of the Scholars at Risk (SAR) network.

Scholars At Risk (SAR) is a network made up of over 530 higher education institutions, including the University of Edinburgh, in 42 countries. Together we work to protect scholars suffering grave threats to their lives, liberty and well-being, whilst promoting academic freedom. Remarkably each year, the network assist more than 350 scholars, arrange positions of refuge at partner universities for scholars unable to work safely in their home countries, provide advice and referrals, monitor and report on attacks to higher education, and campaign for the release of scholars in prison.

As a Sustaining Member of the network, the University of Edinburgh is at the forefront of a dynamic global movement rooted in a vision of a world in which everyone enjoys the freedom to think, question, and share ideas.

Alan Mackay, Director at Edinburgh Global & Deputy Vice-Principal International, serves as the University’s primary representative to the SAR Network, acting as a point of contact for staff and students interested to engage in associated activities. He has been instrumental to the success of this partnership. We spoke with Alan, who was clearly conscious that this is also a team effort within and beyond Edinburgh Global:

As the Scholars At Risk representative I was delighted to receive this award on behalf of the University of Edinburgh for our outstanding dedication and commitment to protecting scholars and academic freedom. I am very proud to work for a University and with so many colleagues here who support these endeavours which to me embody the very essence of what a values-led global university is about in making our world a better place.

Alan continued: "Many of our colleagues who we support here in Edinburgh and beyond through our partnership with Scholars At Risk and the Council for At Risk Academics have been persecuted for a range of reasons and their lives have often been in very grave danger as a result of their work.”

“There is more to do. We will continue our work to ensure that our colleagues facing persecution and threats to their lives and liberty across the world know that we can hear them and work to support them. We will ensure that they know the University and the City of Edinburgh remain a place of sanctuary that works to protect and support academic freedom.”

Since joining the network in 2019, many university staff and students have taken part in SAR’s work. This includes involvement in the provision of temporary academic appointments of refuge for threatened scholars to continue their work safely through SAR’s hosting programme and engaging in Student Advocacy Seminars and Legal Clinics. As Alan says, the University will continue on this work that has both enriched and inspired the community.

Robert Quinn, Executive Director of Scholars At Risk, said: “As a leading member of the network, Edinburgh is responsible for these accomplishments and should be celebrated. We are deeply grateful for Mr. Mackay’s dedication to this work and leadership role. In honour of this commitment, SAR would like to recognise Mr. Mackay and Edinburgh as leaders in promoting academic freedom.”

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