Yevgenia Albats (left-center), Elisabeth N.M. Ayuk-Etang (center), and Nasiruddin Nezaami discuss the crises taking place in their home countries. (Image credit...

Supporting Endangered Scholars Around the Globe

Stanford has hosted displaced scholars who have had to escape conflict or flee persecution because of their research, race, or creed for nearly a century.

Scholar Rescue at Stanford

In 2022, with seed funding from the president, provost, and numerous schools, departments, and programs across the university, Stanford established an institutionalized Scholar Rescue Fund program. This program offers residencies to international scholars facing threats, persecution, or severe hardship in their countries. 

By providing Scholar Rescue Fund fellows with immediate assistance, this program promotes international scholarship and preserves intellectual capital that may otherwise be lost. It also provides Stanford's academic centers and departments a ready mechanism of response to the next global crisis facing scholars abroad. In 2023, Stanford hosted six scholars from countries including Ukraine, Russia, and Venezuela through the Scholar Rescue Fund.

The program is modeled after the Scholar Rescue Program offered by the Institute of International Education (IIE), who Stanford has partnered with for nearly a century to bring displaced scholars to campus.

Interested in supporting this program? Please reach out to SGS Executive Director Katherine Kuhns at kkuhns [at] (kkuhns[at]stanford[dot]edu).

I’m proud of Stanford’s commitment to supporting international scholars facing threats, persecution, or hardship. Our longstanding partnership with the Institute of International Education has helped preserve intellectual talent that might otherwise be lost. We are honored by this recognition, and I’m grateful to Stanford Global Studies for leading this work.
Richard Saller
Stanford President

Stanford's History with Scholar Rescue

For almost a century, Stanford has worked with the Institute of International Education (IIE), an independent not-for-profit organization, to provide endangered scholars a refuge from their dangerous predicaments.

The first scholar to come to Stanford through the IIE was renowned physicist Felix Bloch who fled Nazi persecution. More recently, scholars have come to Stanford from countries including Belarus, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and Zimbabwe – countries that have experienced civil unrest and conflict.

Since 2006, Stanford has hosted 11 endangered scholars through IIE-SRF. Many of these scholars have found their academic home at Stanford Global Studies:
Country of origin field of study fellowship appointment
Belarus Political Science; Economics 2006
Belarus Journalism 2010-2011
China Economics 2012-2013
Iran Political Science 2010
Iran Philosophy 2011-2012
Kazakhstan Linguistics 2019-2021
Kyrgyzstan Information Law 2010-2012
Serbia Philosophy; Literature 2013-2015
Turkey Political Science 2017-2019
Uzbekistan International Human Rights Law 2007-2009
Zimbabwe Social and Political Philosophy 2008-2009

Scholar Spotlights

Nicholas Opiyo

Nicholas Opiyo

Nicholas Opiyo, a former visiting scholar at the Center for African Studies, discusses his experience growing up in the shadow of war, research on civil society, and efforts to defend and empower marginalized communities in Uganda.

Nasiruddin Nezaami

Nasiruddin Nezaami, a legal scholar born and raised in Kabul, fled to the United States after receiving funding from Stanford Law School and the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund. Before that, he was a professor of law at the American University of Afghanistan, where he served as chair of the law department.

Sreten Ugričić

Sreten Ugričić

Sreten Ugričić, a former visiting scholar at the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, served as the director of the National Library of Serbia from 2001 – 2012, when he was dismissed after being accused of terrorism for publicly supporting freedom of speech in Serbia.


Katherine Kuhns (left) and Grant Parker (right) of Stanford Global Studies receive Century Medal from James King (center)

Katherine Kuhns (left) and Grant Parker (right) of Stanford Global Studies receive Century Medal from James King (center) of the Institute of International...

Stanford receives Century Medal for supporting international scholars in crisis

January 26, 2024

The Institute of International Education recognized the university for its work to provide a safe haven for academics facing threats, persecution, or hardship in their home countries.

​​​​​​​Visiting SLS Fellow and AUAF Law Professor Reflects on Afghanistan Two Years After Taliban Takeover

August 14, 2023

Nasiruddin (Nasir) Nezaami’s heart was pounding as he neared the Torkham crossing at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in May 2022.

Scholars Elisabeth N.M. Ayuk-Etang, and Nasiruddin Nezaami discuss the crises taking place in their home countries. (Image credit: Rod Searcey)

Stanford launches Scholar Rescue Fund

May 11, 2023

The fund helps provide refuge at Stanford for researchers and academics who have fled persecution or conflict in their home countries so they can safely continue their scholarship.

Encina Commons archway

New Scholar Rescue Program Brings Two Scholars from Afghanistan to Stanford Global Studies and FSI

February 11, 2022

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.

Stanford’s long history in supporting displaced academics during crisis, conflict

March 16, 2021

Through the Institute of International Education, Stanford has hosted displaced scholars who have had to escape conflict or flee persecution because of their research, race, or creed.

Nicholas Opiyo

“Learn more, educate yourself, understand, know what’s happening” in Uganda in order to be helpful, says human rights attorney

May 13, 2019

Nicholas Opiyo, a Ugandan human rights attorney, spoke at the 2019 Stanford Global Studies student dinner at the Stanford Faculty Club.

Past Events

Global Dialogues Series: Scholar Rescue at Stanford

Nicholas Opiyo

2019 SGS Student Dinner Featuring Ugandan Human Rights Attorney Nicholas Opiyo

Encina Commons archway

Scholars-At-Risk at Stanford

The first event in SGS' Global Dialogues Series focused on Scholar Rescue at Stanford. The webinar looked at the fight for freedom of speech in contexts around the globe and the individuals who have risked everything to stand up against authoritarianism and advocate for human rights. View a recording of the event below.