SYRIA: International Higher Education Protection Organizations Condemn Attack on University

The Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA), the Scholars at Risk Network (SAR), and the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF), January 18, 2013

London/New York, 18 January 2013 – The Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA), the Scholars at Risk Network (SAR), and the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) jointly denounce – in the strongest terms – the attack on the University of Aleppo on 15 January.  Information indicates that the bombings resulted in the civilian deaths of at least 80 persons and many more seriously injured. It is thought that many students and faculty of the university are among the casualties.

“There can be no possible justification for such an attack on students in their examination rooms and dormitories.  It is one more grim example of the way that educational institutions, and their innocent staff and students, are all too often caught up in violence around the world,” Mr Stephen Wordsworth, Executive Director of CARA, said from London.

The bloodshed in Syria continues and all levels of education have paid a heavy price in the conflict.  Reports are that in some parts of Syria education has come to a virtual standstill.  All parties must immediately abstain from targeting educational facilities and educators and students must be protected.

The three organizations call upon the parties in Syria to take all necessary steps to protect schools and universities, and those who work and study in them, from any further attacks.  “Syria’s academics and its young people are the country’s future,” stated Mr Wordsworth on behalf of CARA, SAR, and IIE-SRF.

About CARA

Founded in 1933 in response to the Nazi crackdown on German universities, CARA (the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics) has assisted thousands of academics over 80 years, whenever they have faced violence or persecution: Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland during the Cold War, military dictatorships in Latin America, Greece under the Colonels, apartheid South Africa, Ethiopia, and more recently Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Zimbabwe.  With the support of 75 UK universities, CARA offers periods of sanctuary and, where the risks are too great for return, helps beneficiaries to build new lives in the UK.  www.academic-refugees.org

About Scholars at Risk

Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of over 300 higher education institutions and their members in over 34 countries dedicated to promoting academic freedom and defending the human rights of scholars worldwide. Scholars at Risk’s mission is to protect threatened scholars, prevent attacks on higher education communities and promote academic freedom.  www.scholarsatrisk.org

About the Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF)

Founded by the Institute of International Education in 2002, IIE’s SRF provides academic fellowships and other support for established scholars whose lives and work are threatened in their home countries.  These fellowships permit professors, senior researchers and public intellectuals to find temporary refuge at universities, college and research centers anywhere in the world, enabling them to pursue their academic work in safety and to continue to share their knowledge with students, colleagues and the community at large. https://www.scholarrescuefund.org   Syrian students and scholars needing assistance can go to: www.iie.org/syriascholarships

About the Global Coalition

CARA, SAR and IIE-SRF are all members of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA).  GCPEA was established in 2010 by organisations from the fields of education in emergencies and conflict-affected fragile states, higher education, protection, international human rights, and international humanitarian law who were concerned about ongoing attacks on educational institutions, their students, and staff in countries affected by conflict and insecurity. https://www.protectingeducation.org