Scholar Mustafa Khattab

Emergency Assistance for Scholars and Students

Through the Scholar Rescue Fund, the Emergency Student Fund, and other efforts, IIE offers assistance to threatened, displaced, or otherwise afflicted scholars and students around the world.

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.


The Institute of International Education has a long history of providing emergency assistance to students and scholars facing emergencies around the world. Through the Emergency Student Fund (ESF), IIE is able to respond to urgent crises in an immediate and effective manner by providing financial support to students when emergencies in their home countries threaten to jeopardize the completion of their studies.

In response to specific emergencies, IIE will issue a call for applications to the Emergency Student Fund. In general, students must be nominated by their host universities, which are also encouraged to provide as much support to students as possible.

Building on a Freeman Foundation designation of $2.5 million for emergencies involving students from East and Southeast Asia studying in the U.S., IIE is issuing a request to donors around the world to support this fund for other world areas. Since 2010, IIE's ESF has provided $2 million in emergency grants to over 700 students from Japan, Haiti, Libya, Thailand, the Philippines, Syria, Iran, and Nepal whose home sources of financial support were impacted by crisis or natural disaster. The Institute seeks to have a fund in place so that IIE can respond quickly to help students when disasters and emergencies arise. To support IIE's Emergency Student Fund, please make a donation now and designate your gift by entering "ESF" in the gift designation field.

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    Faces of IIE
    • african-professor

      An SRF grant enabled an African law professor to safely continue to help rebuild civil society in his home country.

    • Belarussian professor

      This Belarusian professor of sociology examines democratic movements, media, and more.

    • Donny George

      A Scholar Rescue Fund fellowship has allowed this archeologist to teach in safety while he works to preserve Iraq’s heritage.

    • Scholar Rescue

      The Scholar Rescue Fund was able to help this legal scholar from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    • Sudanese microbiologist who benefited from the Scholar Rescue Fund

      The Scholar Rescue Fund helped this scientist from Sudan continue her life-saving research.


    Institute of International Education
    809 United Nations Plaza
    New York, NY 10017 USA

    Scholar Rescue Fund
    Tel: +1 212.205.6486

    Emergency Student Fund