University of Alberta Recognized as Leading Host Institution; Two Doctors From Iran Recognized as Outstanding Scholars
NEW YORK, March 9, 2018 — At a ceremony at its New York City headquarters today, the Institute of International Education (IIE) presented Canada with an award for its leading role in the effort to save scholars from targeted persecution and conflict. Canada has worked with IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund to host 22 scholars at 12 institutions of higher education across the country to date.
The IIE-SRF Forum convened threatened scholars, higher education leaders, and government officials to discuss how best to mobilize resources to rescue scholars from around the world, wherever they are in jeopardy.
At the event, IIE-SRF Chairman Mark A. Angelson presented the 2018 “Henry G. Jarecki Award” to Canada for the important role it has played as a safe haven country, to recognize its work rescuing scholars threatened by conflict in countries such as Yemen and Syria, or by political turmoil in Zimbabwe.
“From Ottawa to Newfoundland, Quebec to Calgary, the government of Canada, Canadian universities, and ordinary Canadians have embraced scholars whose lives in their home countries have been upended by conflict and political turmoil. This was particularly important over the past year when it has been so difficult for certain of them to come to the United States,” said Mr. Angelson. “From every scholar whom IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund and the Canadians jointly support, we hear a common refrain – that the future is frightening for their colleagues and compatriots back home. With Canada and its institutions supporting the IIE-SRF mission, we at IIE will continue to do our part to ensure that scholars always will have a place to turn, a country to welcome them, and a community to celebrate their remarkable talents.”
IIE also presented awards to the University of Alberta, and to two rescued scholars from Iran, and screened the New York premiere of a World Academy of Sciences documentary, Science in Exile, with a live remote from one of the featured scholars, Ahmad Sadiddin, an agricultural economist who was forced to flee Syria.
IIE President and CEO Dr. Allan E. Goodman presented the University of Alberta with the “IIE Beacon Award” for their work hosting threatened scholars. The university has jointly funded five scholars on IIE-SRF Fellowships, including researchers in pharmaceutical sciences and aerospace engineering who were professors at the University of Aleppo until teaching and research became impossible under constant threat of bombing and violence. The award was accepted by Britta Baron, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President for International.
“The University of Alberta is honoured to receive the Beacon Award. We are proud to partner with IIE and with support from the Scholar Rescue Fund, we were able to help global scholars who suffer from the impacts of war, political oppression or discrimination,” said University of Alberta President Dr. David H. Turpin. “We are strongly committed to working with universities across Canada to create new opportunities for these scholars and students to continue their personal and academic pursuits and to allow them, in safety and security, to share their ideas, scholarship, and discoveries to the benefit of all.”
IIE Executive Vice President Maxmillian Angerholzer III presented the Outstanding Scholar Award to Dr. Kamiar Alaei and Dr. Arash Alaei, IIE-SRF Alumni from Iran, in recognition of their exceptional achievements during and after the IIE-SRF fellowship, and their advocacy for and assistance to displaced and persecuted students and scholars.
After being imprisoned in Iran’s notorious Evin prison, the two went on to become internationally recognized doctors specializing in HIV-AIDS and public health. IIE-SRF provided fellowships for them to come to the University at Albany, State University of New York, where Dr. Kamiar Alaei now heads the Global Institute for Health and Human Rights (GIHHR). Through the GIHHR, the brothers developed a long-distance, online higher education program designed for medical students in Syria displaced by the ongoing civil war.
IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund provides fellowships to threatened scholars, pairing them with a host institution that best fits their academic expertise where they conduct research, teach courses or lead seminars, guest lecture, and contribute to faculty projects. In some instances, they also serve as informal advisors to students. If conditions in scholars’ home countries improve, they may return after their fellowships to make meaningful contributions to their national academies and civil society. If safe return is not possible, scholars may use the fellowship period to identify longer-term opportunities abroad.
Scholar rescue has been a keystone of IIE’s mission since its founding in 1919. IIE was instrumental in founding the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars in the 1930s, which rescued more than 380 scholars fleeing persecution in Europe. With the creation of IIE-SRF in 2002, IIE formalized its commitment to this essential work. Since 2002, IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) has assisted nearly 750 scholars from 58 countries, placing them at more than 375 host partner institutions in 43 countries around the world. Need for IIE-SRF support is greater than ever: in 2017, IIE-SRF received more requests from scholars than ever before, and applications have increased by 50 percent since 2015.
About the Institute of International Education (IIE)
IIE has been a world leader in international education since 1919. IIE works to build more peaceful and equitable societies by advancing scholarship, building economies and promoting access to opportunity. As a not-for-profit with 18 offices and affiliates worldwide, IIE collaborates with a range of corporate, government and foundation partners across the globe to design and manage scholarship, study abroad, workforce training and leadership development programs. For more information visit www.iie.org