Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF)
The Institute has participated in the rescue of persecuted scholars since its founding in 1919 when the Emergency Committee to Aid Displaced German Scholars was established. The Committee eventually aided such distinguished individuals as Martin Buber, Paul Tillich and Jacques Maritain. In the 1930s, as IIE's Assistant Director, Edward R. Murrow worked to rescue European scholars threatened under Nazism, as well as those fleeing from Spanish and Italian fascism.
In 2002, IIE and its Trustees launched the Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF) to serve as a permanent, formalized response to this critical international problem. The Scholar Rescue Fund provides fellowships and safe haven for established scholars whose lives and work are threatened in their home countries. These fellowships allow professors, researchers and other senior academics with temporary refuge at universities and colleges around the world, enabling them to pursue their academic work and to continue to share their knowledge with students, colleagues, and the community at large. During the fellowship, conditions in a scholar's home country may improve, permitting safe return to help rebuild universities and societies ravaged by fear, conflict and repression. If safe return is not possible, scholars can use the fellowship period to secure a longer-term opportunity with support from IIE.
In 2007, to respond to a severe academic crisis, the Institute of International Education's Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF) launched the Iraq Scholar Rescue Project. This project is assisting hundreds of Iraq's most senior and most threatened academics – through temporary academic positions at universities, colleges and other institutions of higher learning primarily in the Middle East and North African regions. This effort is generously supported by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Department of State, the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, IIE Trustees, among others. In doing so, the Scholar Rescue Fund hopes to contribute to the preservation of Iraq's vital intellectual capital and ensure that, when conditions permit, these scholars will be able to return home to rebuild their once flourishing academic communities.
In 2009, SRF published Scholar Rescue in the Modern World, the first effort to share with a larger community the breadth and nature of the persecution of scholars around the globe. It is based on the data from the first five years of activity of the Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF). "Scholar Rescue in the Modern World" finds that life- and career-ending threats to scholars are widespread and egregious. Applicants and grantees have come from a wide range of academic disciplines and fields, and their countries of origin span almost all regions of the world. The report clearly states that there is much more we do not know, and recommends several new programs or activities to mitigate scholar oppression worldwide.
Through various avenues, including the Emergency Student Fund, IIE offers aid to international students facing emergencies and crises, such as illness or natural disasters. During events such as Hurricane Katrina, the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Japanese financial crisis, and others, IIE has been there to assist international students to relocate to new universities, replace books and other academic supplies, and return to their studies.
Most recently, the Institute of International Education (IIE) has created an emergency grants program to help students from Haiti on U.S. campuses whose home country support has been seriously affected by the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Haiti-EAS (Emergency Assistance for Students) is providing grants of up to $2,000 to undergraduates and graduate students from Haiti enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities, who are facing serious financial difficulties due to the recent tragedy in their home country. Accredited United States campuses were invited to nominate up to 5 students at their institutions for whom help is immediately needed for the spring semester 2010.