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Scholars at risk

Queen’s joins international network created to protect threatened academics.

Queen’s University has become the newest member of Scholars at Risk (SAR) – an international network of institutions and individuals working to protect scholars facing threats to their lives, liberty, and well-being.

Queen’s School of Medicine students, who recently championed the university’s involvement with SAR, marked the occasion with a lecture by historian Evren Altinkas, who secured an academic position at the University of Guelph through SAR after he had to resign his university position and flee Turkey due to his research and activism.

Evren Altinkas speaks to students at Queen's University.
Evren Altinkas speaks to students at Queen's University, marking Queen's University's membership to Scholars at Risk.

“We were so happy to host Dr. Altinkas at Queen’s University for a lunchtime lecture during his time as a Scholar at Risk at the University of Guelph,” says Nicole Asztalos, one of the Queen’s medical students who first pursued the SAR program. “His work on academic freedom around the world and the struggles that he and his family have experienced because of this work highlight why the SAR network is important. It was also an excellent opportunity for the Queen’s community to learn more about this organization and the types of people who we can help by being involved." 

On Feb. 8, Dr. Altinkas spoke to members of the Queen’s community about his experience as part of his lecture on historical insights on academics and academic freedom in Europe, North America, and the Middle East. He discussed his involvement with SAR, and subsequent recruitment to University of Guelph. In addition, he provided insights into how accessibility of academic thought could be enhanced in Canada.

“It was a tremendous opportunity to have Dr. Altinkas share his journey with the Queen's community,” says Danielle Weber-Adrian, another Queen’s medical student. “With his presentation, Queen's University has launched its involvement in the Scholars at Risk program – an endeavor we hope to nurture into an ongoing legacy.”

Following his lecture, Dr. Altinkas met with Tom Harris, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), and Jill Scott, Interim Associate Vice-Principal (International), to discuss in more detail how Queen’s can implement SAR initiatives on campus.

“Scholars at Risk is doing important international work to ensure that academics are free to think, question, and communicate their work,” Dr. Scott says. “I’m pleased to announce Queen’s University’s membership to the network, and look forward to engaging the campus community, particularly our faculty members.”

As a member, Queen’s is now able to participate in the full offerings of the network including participating in human rights research and legal clinics, and potentially hosting a scholar on campus.

For more information on the SAR program, contact the Office of the Associate Vice-Principal (International).