Editors’ note: this guest entry has been kindly developed by Dr. Allan E. Goodman (pictured to the left), President & CEO, Institute of International Education (IIE). Allan Goodman is the sixth President of IIE, a leading not-for-profit organization in the field of international educational exchange and development training. IIE administers the Fulbright program, sponsored by the United States Department of State, and 200 other corporate, government and privately-sponsored programs. Dr. Goodman helped create the first U.S. academic exchange program with the Moscow Diplomatic Academy for the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs and developed the diplomatic training program of the Foreign Ministry of Vietnam. Dr. Goodman has also served as a consultant to Ford Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the United States Information Agency, and IBM.
This entry is the fifth response to Nigel Thrift’s ‘A question (about universities, global challenges, and an organizational, ethical dilemma)‘. The first four were provided by Peter N. Stearns, Provost of George Mason University, Gregor McLennan, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Bristol, David J. Skorton, President, Cornell University, and Daniel I. Linzer, Provost of Northwestern University.
Our sincere thanks to Allan Goodman for this response on behalf of the IIE, not to mention the global network of universities and scholars that support and/or benefit from the IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund.
Kris Olds & Susan Robertson
Nigel Thrift refers to and has focused us on “the long emergency” related to climate change and its attendant effects. The other long emergency on which the Institute of International Education (IIE) is focusing has necessitated us to rescue scholars for nearly a century.
Every year since our founding in 1919, we have responded to appeals from scholars fleeing oppression, caught in the cross-fire of local, regional, and even world-wide wars, or stranded in the midst of natural disasters and catastrophes. In some years, we have helped a few; in others a few hundred or even a thousand. The cumulative number now exceeds 20,000.
As this century began, the Trustees of the Institute recognized that scholar rescue was, in fact, a permanent part of what we do and raised a Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF) endowment to support it. SRF provides safe haven to those threatened or persecuted worldwide. The Fellowship funds and supports visiting academic positions at universities anywhere in the world where the scholar will be safe and can continue their research and teaching. It is open to scholars from any country and every discipline. So far more than 2,000 have applied to the Institute for help from over 100 countries. Over 400 from 43 countries have received grants and more than 200 higher education institutions in 38 countries have joined with us in hosting rescued scholars. When I mention these statistics to an academic audience, most often the reaction is “we had no idea” the problem was so large or persistent. Hence, my thought that this is also “a long emergency.”
Our experience with the first five years of the fund is documented in a study by Dr. Henry G. Jarecki and Daniela Zane Kaisth, Scholar Rescue in the Modern World and published last year.
In this Commencement season, campuses look especially inviting and recall the observation of England’s Poet Laureate John Masefield that “there are few earthly things more beautiful than a university.” But Masefield was also speaking about something deeper and which has enabled so many universities around the world to assist us in rescuing scholars. Beyond the surface beauty, he told the graduates of the University of Sheffield, it is a place that “will welcome thinkers in distress or in exile.”
From our experience at the Scholar Rescue Fund, universities are well organized to do just that – and help us every day.
Allan E. Goodman