New Scholars at Risk Program Brings Two Scholars from Afghanistan to Stanford Global Studies and FSI

Encina Commons archway

In a letter to the community, Jisha Menon, Fisher Family Director of Stanford Global Studies, and Michael McFaul, director of FSI, announce plans to welcome two Afghan scholars in 2022.


Dear colleagues and friends,

As we begin the new year, we wanted to provide an update about the creation of a Scholar at Risk program at Stanford.

For many years, Stanford has worked together with the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund to support threatened and endangered scholars. Yet, our fundraising efforts to bring these scholars to campus have been largely ad hoc.

Last September, in the aftermath of the crisis in Afghanistan, more than 100 faculty members from across the university signed a letter stressing the need for an institutionalized program to provide ongoing support to international scholars facing persecution in their home countries. In the fall, an event hosted by Stanford Global Studies on scholar rescue at Stanford, which featured several at-risk scholars who have come to campus over the last decade, further underscored the importance of such a program.

Since then, we are excited to share that the President and Provost have offered seed funding to establish a Scholar at Risk program, which will provide our academic centers, departments, and programs a ready mechanism of response to the next global crisis facing scholars abroad. It is our hope that this funding will lay the groundwork for an endowment in the future.

Stanford Global Studies and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) have partnered to host two at-risk scholars from Afghanistan. When they arrive at Stanford, we look forward to introducing you.

While we are energized by these recent developments, our work is far from done. We must ensure the continuity of this program so that we can continue to support vulnerable academics for years to come.

Globally, more scholars than ever before are facing dire threats to their safety and work. As we pursue our mission of being a purposeful university, we have a moral obligation to help our fellow scholars, who have taken great personal risks to promote freedom and democracy in their home countries.

We would like to express our appreciation to everyone who has supported our efforts to ensure that at-risk scholars can find safe haven at Stanford. We encourage you to reach out if you are interested in getting involved with this program in the future.


Jisha Menon, Fisher Family Director, Stanford Global Studies Division
Michael McFaul, Director, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies