Scholars in Danger Join World’s Refugees

November 03, 2014 / Phil Lesch

The Chronicle of Higher Education
November 3rd, 2014

Their stories are grim.

A Syrian engineer flees the country after being detained and tortured by government forces. A writer and human-rights activist escapes following threats from members of a far-right political group in Greece. In Thailand, a military coup forces an outspoken anthropologist to seek refuge abroad.

Intellectual dissidents have long faced political persecution and violence. But in recent years, the dangers facing them and universities in troubled regions have reached a crisis point. According to the Institute of International Education, which has been helping imperiled scholars since 1919, academics and students are being forced to flee their homes and homelands at a level not seen since World War II, when thousands of professors and scientists escaped Nazi-controlled Europe.

While those seeking aid are from all corners of the globe, the greatest need is in the Middle East, says Allan E. Goodman, the institute’s president.

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