Riksbankens Jubileumsfond has chosen to honour its retiring board chair through a grant of SEK 5 million to the Swedish section of Scholars at Risk.
“This is particularly exciting, since this is the second time they have supported us. It sends a signal about how important these issues are,” says Karolina Catoni at the University of Gothenburg, Swedish national coordinator for Scholars at Risk.
Scholars at Risk (SAR) provides protection to threatened scholars by offering academic sanctuaries at universities outside the home country. Sanctuary provides temporary employment as a visiting researcher or visiting lecturer.
“The situation in countries like Turkey, Syria and Yemen has resulted in a significant increase in scholars needing protection. This professional category is increasingly under threat,” says Karolina Catoni.
Fourteen placements in Sweden
The Swedish section of SAR was founded in 2016 and consists of 21 Swedish universities together with the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities. So far, they have been able to create 14 placements for threatened scholars.
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond has previously awarded SEK 6 million to co-fund placements of scholars within the humanities and social sciences covering up to 50 per cent of costs. Now that Board Chair Maarit Jänterä-Jareborg is retiring, the foundation has chosen to honour her by supporting SAR-Sweden with an additional SEK 5 million. This allows the Swedish universities that are part of the network to continue to apply for co-funding to host threatened scholars within the humanities and social sciences.
Still active at Swedish universities
The University of Gothenburg coordinates the Swedish section of Scholars at Risk, and the University has hosted six threatened scholars so far.
“Through Scholars at Risk, they have been able to leave their home countries. They are all still active within higher education and research, and four of them are still active at Swedish universities,” says Karolina Catoni.