Jeans Revolution

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

Stanford's History with Scholar Rescue

From escaping ethnic conflict in war-torn countries to fleeing oppression by autocratic regimes, there are scholars from around the world who have found their life, and their life’s work, in serious jeopardy.

For almost a century, Stanford has worked with the Institute of International Education (IIE), an independent not-for-profit organization, to provide some of these researchers 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. These scholars receive funding from Stanford and also the Scholar Rescue Fund, a program IIE formally established in 2002 to place scholars who have faced or have recently fled from immediate, targeted threats to their lives or careers at institutions across the world.

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

Stanford Scholar Rescue Fund

In February 2022, President Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Drell offered seed funding to establish an institutionalized Scholar Rescue Fund program at Stanford. This program will offer residencies to international scholars facing threats, persecution, or severe hardship in their countries. 

By providing Scholar Rescue Fund fellows with immediate assistance, this inaugural program will promote international scholarship and preserve intellectual capital that may otherwise be lost. It will also provide Stanford's academic centers and departments a ready mechanism of response to the next global crisis facing scholars abroad.

Interested in supporting this program? Please reach out to SGS Executive Director Katherine Kuhns at kkuhns [at]


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.

Halil Yenigün

Halil Yenigün, a former visiting scholar at the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, left Turkey in 2016 amidst a government crackdown on dissenting academics. In this interview, he shares his story of advocating for democracy, human rights, and peace in Turkey, and calls for “global democratic solidarity” across borders to keep invasive governments in check.

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.

I signed a petition that called for an end to the horrifying massacres of civilians occurring in the Kurdish urban areas at the time and proposed a return to a peace process. A few days later, I received a letter from the university stating that I was suspended. For the last two years, I have spoken much more on Turkish democracy breakdown, the Kurdish issue, and peace activism, but I took the opportunity here at Stanford to get back to my primary research interests.
Halil Yenigun
Halil Yenigün
Former Visiting Scholar, Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies


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

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

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

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

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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.