Scholar Rescue Fund Partnership with Finnish Government

NEW YORK, NY, January 26, 2016—The IIE Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) has announced a new partnership with the Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI)* to provide safe places in Finland for threatened scholars from conflict zones, with a special focus on Iraq and Syria, to continue their academic work. IIE and EDUFI kicked off the partnership today by hosting a breakfast reception with other Finnish representatives. At the event, a professor from Syria spoke about his experience coming from Syria with the support of a fellowship from IIE-SRF, which enabled him to be a visiting scholar at a U.S. university.

In partnership with EDUFI, IIE-SRF will offer joint fellowships for as many as five Iraqi and Syrian professors to continue their academic work in safety at Finnish institutions of higher education. EDUFI will match IIE-SRF’s fellowships worth up to $25,000 USD, and the Finnish institutions will contribute in-kind support such as language training, housing, and additional assistance with cost of living expenses.

Samu Seitsalo, Director of the Finnish National Agency for Education, remarked, “EDUFI is excited to join IIE-SRF. We have been looking for possible ways to support Higher Education in emergencies together with the international community. As a part of the humanitarian response, it is also important to channel support to the academia in the region suffering from the crisis. No country can afford to lose a whole generation of scholars. We strongly believe that the IIE-SRF scholarship holders can help in rebuilding their societies one day. Joining IIE-SRF is also the first concrete step in cooperation between IIE and EDUFI. We are sure that there are also further possibilities to deepen our collaboration in the field of international education.”

Mark A. Angelson, Chairman of IIE-SRF, said, “We are delighted to announce this partnership and are grateful to EDUFI for their participation. As civil war continues to devastate Syria’s higher education system, and the self-proclaimed Islamic State and other radical forces persist in Iraq, there is a greater need than ever for trans-Atlantic partnerships that support academics facing war and targeted threats. We are honored to work with our Finnish partners to provide shelter for Syrian and Iraqi scholars who will contribute so much to all whom they encounter and eventually return to participate in rebuilding their own national academies.”

Since its founding in 2002, IIE-SRF has awarded fellowships to 94 scholars from Syria, who have been hosted by 75 higher education institutions in 13 countries. During the same period, IIE-SRF awarded fellowships to 307 scholars from Iraq, in partnership with 172 institutions in 20 countries.*

Recent Ph.D. graduates from Syria and Iraq in all fields are eligible to apply for the IIE-SRF fellowships, which will cover nine to twelve months of teaching and/or research at a Finnish institution of higher education. After the first year, scholars may also apply to IIE-SRF for one additional year of support. Prospective fellows should refer to the IIE-SRF Eligibility Criteria. Selected scholars will be placed at host universities in Finland in visiting positions arranged by EDUFI.

 *This announcement was updated on June 16, 2017


About the Institute of International Education Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF)

IIE-SRF formalizes the unwavering commitment that IIE has demonstrated for nearly a century to preserve the lives, voices, and ideas of scholars around the globe. IIE-SRF fellowships support visiting appointments for threatened scholars to continue their work in safety at partnering academic institutions worldwide. Since 2002, IIE-SRF has assisted more than 625 scholars from 55 countries, placing them at over 350 host partner institutions in 41 countries around the world.

About Center for International Mobility (CIMO)

CIMO is a Finnish government agency that promotes academic international mobility and internationalization by coordinating exchange programmes, trainee opportunities, and scholarship schemes in Finland. It also supports the teaching of Finnish language and culture in universities outside Finland, raising the international profile of Finnish higher education.

About the Institute of International Education (IIE)

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,400 member institutions.