NEW YORK, Dec. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Scholars at Risk, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting academic freedom, celebrates its 20th anniversary with the announcement of its 2020 Courage to Think award and the release of its annual Free to Think report. Both debuted at the group's virtual global conference, an event that has drawn 2,126 views from around the world, to date.
The Courage to Think award went to anthropologist Dr. Rahile Dawut, currently believed to be imprisoned in China. In December 2017, Dr. Dawut, an expert in Uyghur culture studies, disappeared while she was traveling from her base in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to Beijing. The award was accepted by Dr. Dawut's daughter, Akida Pulat.
Free to Think 2020 identifies trends related to attacks on higher education communities. These include the ongoing struggle for freedom in Hong Kong and China; a clampdown on scholar and student dissent in India by the nationalist ruling party; and pressures on higher education communities around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic is exerting a number of unique, and probably lasting, impacts on higher education, including the suspension of in-person operations and challenges associated with the switch to online instruction, attempts to restrict research and the flow of information about the virus, attacks on academic voices critical of government responses to COVID-19, and efforts to target and disrupt universities, taking advantage of their current vulnerabilities.
Nevertheless, universities hold a central role in documenting and researching the COVID-19 crisis. Robert Quinn, Executive Director of Scholars at Risk, said, "universities are among the spaces with the potential to lead the world out of this crisis, making it all the more important that society supports and protects higher education and the freedom to conduct academic and scientific work."
As a global network, Scholars at Risk calls on everyone who believes in freedom to help seek the release of imprisoned scholars, host threatened scholars at higher education institutions, share Free to Think 2020 to give voice to students and scholars who demand academic freedom, and support its collective efforts by contributing in any way you can. Please take action today.
SOURCE Scholars at Risk