The University of Waterloo is pleased to announce that it is joining the Scholars at Risk (SAR) Network, effective immediately. Waterloo thus joins this established global community of institutions and individuals whose mission it is to protect scholars and to promote academic freedom.

SAR arranges temporary research and teaching positions at institutions in its network and provides advisory and referral services for scholars forced to leave their communities for reasons including war, intimidation, and threats of violence. By joining, Waterloo will engage in–and contribute to–SAR’s two sets of activities:

  • Protection:  By arranging temporary academic positions at member universities and colleges, SAR offers safety to scholars facing grave threats, so scholars’ ideas are not lost and so that they can keep working until conditions improve and they are able to return to their home countries. Since its founding in 2000, SAR has arranged more than 1,200 positions for at-risk scholars.
  • Advocacy and Learning: Scholars at Risk also provides advisory services for scholars and hosts, campaigns for scholars who are imprisoned or silenced in their home countries, monitoring of attacks on higher education communities worldwide, and leadership in deploying new tools and strategies for promoting academic freedom and improving respect for university values everywhere. Waterloo members will be able to join global peers on a variety of initiatives, and network with like-minded colleagues in working groups, workshops, and conferences.

“Academic freedom is fundamental to Waterloo’s mission to advance learning and knowledge through teaching, research, and scholarship,” said Professor Charmaine Dean, Vice-President, Research and International at Waterloo. “As a member of Scholars at Risk, we have reaffirmed our commitment to preserve and to promote the freedom to think, to question, and to share ideas, both locally and globally. Indeed, SAR will provide our institution with an important enabling mechanism for our support of academic leaders, educators, researchers, and students around the world who are intimidated and under threat of violence.”

SAR has more than 600 members worldwide, including 28 (now 29) in Canada. 

“Membership in SAR provides Waterloo members with multiple opportunities to engage internationally,” said Professor Ian Rowlands, Associate Vice-President, International at Waterloo. “The insights offered by the vast experience and significant expertise contained in the Network will serve to enrich our community immediately. Similarly, our own members will bring their knowledge and perspectives to enhance the global dialogue. Moreover, the opportunity to build an infrastructure locally to support hosting a scholar is another way in which Waterloo members will be able to become involved.”

With Russia’s continued attack on Ukraine displacing scholars in that region, and similar brutal and repressive conflicts raging across the world, Waterloo’s membership comes at a critical time for the preservation and advancement of important scholarship.

Waterloo’s membership in the SAR Network will contribute to advancing several of Waterloo’s strategic priorities, including the ways in which we strengthen sustainable and diverse communities. More specifically, as Waterloo aims to broaden its members’ understanding of, and engagement with, global communities, participation in the SAR Network will offer additional opportunities.

More information about Scholars at Risk can be found at its website. Waterloo International will be leading the university’s involvement, engaging in the kinds of activities listed on SAR’s ‘Get Involved’ website. Updates will be posted on Waterloo International’s International Opportunities page.

If Waterloo members have any questions or comments about our membership, they can contact Jessica Denenberg, Associate Director, International Relations at Waterloo International at

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