ACUP and Scholars at Risk present the challenges to achieve academic freedom and the protection of academic refugees

On Thursday, February 15, ACUP and Scholars at Risk (SAR) organised a seminar on "Academic Freedom and Protection of Academic Refugees" at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF). The seminar began with the welcome by Josep M. Vilalta (Executive Secretary of the ACUP) and Pablo Pareja (Vice Chancellor of the UPF and professor of international relations) who emphasized the idea that academic freedom and the protection of refugees are essential aspects of the social responsibility of universities and they are global problems with a significant lack of debate both locally and internationally.

The professor of higher education at the University of Lincoln, Terence Karran, presented the results of his research on academic freedom in Europe, explaining the differences between de jure and de facto academic freedom. He presented the results of a survey of IDPs from all over Europe on perceptions and knowledge regarding the main trends and challenges that HE institutions currently face in Europe: the lack of job security among the IDP, a growing trend towards university governance in terms of business management, the pressures related to the impact of research, the conception of students as "clients" and the importance of economic value over cultural, intellectual and personal values.

Professor Silvia Morgades (UPF) presented the legal implications of the reception and the main legal options in immigration matters. Morgades explained that there are three possibilities depending on whether the person to be accommodated is already in Europe, is in a third country or in the country of origin. Morgades highlighted the limitations of immigration laws and the limited use of humanitarian visas in our country. An interesting idea regarding this issue could be the possibility of a group of universities preparing a host program following the Canadian model (Private Sponsorship of Refugee Program).

The seminar concluded with presentations by Sinead O'Gorman (Director of the Scholars at Risk network in Europe), Marit Egner (responsible for the Norwegian section of Scholars at Risk) and Anas al Khabour (professor at the University of Gothenburg, beneficiary of the reception program of the SAR network). Sinead explained the main activities carried out by the network and the possibilities to be actively involved in them, Marit focused on the experience carried out from the University of Oslo and the process of creating a national section of Scholars at Risk, as well as protocols and advice on the reception of academic refugees based on the university's own experience and the publication "Pathways to Practice: Welcoming Scholars at Risk to Campus" written by herself and Karolina Cato and published by the EAIE. Finally, the seminar ended with the presentation of Professor Anas al Khabour who explained his personal case and his career from Syria, Madrid and, finally, Sweden.

After lunch, representatives of the member universities of ACUP and SAR met to work on more practical aspects on how to involve Catalan public universities in network activities and possibilities to host academic refugees in universities.

Here you can see the images of the seminar.

Programa114.49 KB
Al Khabour959.14 KB
O'Gorman1.33 MB