Scholars at Risk uOttawa

About the Program

The University of Ottawa joined the Scholars at Risk (SAR) Network in 2014.

Scholars at Risk is an international network of higher education institutions dedicated to protecting threatened scholars, preventing attacks on higher education communities and promoting academic freedom worldwide. The network protects scholars suffering grave threats to their lives, liberty and well-being by arranging positions of sanctuary at institutions in the network.

Scholars at Risk's work is rooted in the principle of academic freedom--the freedom to pursue scholarship and research without discrimination, censorship, intimidation, or violence. SAR aims to bring scholars facing severe human rights abuses in their home region to positions at universities, colleges and research centers in any safe country.

Scholars at Risk began in the Human Rights Program of the University of Chicago in 1999. The Network launched with a major international conference at the university in June 2000. In 2003, the network headquarters relocated from the University of Chicago to the Greenwich Village campus of New York University. Since the network’s launch over 10 years ago, more than 400 scholars have found sanctuary and hundreds more have benefited from these and other services. In return, scholars contribute to their host communities through teaching, research, lectures and other activities. The University of Ottawa and Carleton University partnered on this initiative between 2014 and 2017 and co-hosted two scholars during this period. Both institutions are collaborating actively to promote the SAR Program in the region and the country.

  • In June 2015, SAR released the first Free to Think, a report of their Academic Freedom Monitoring Project which documents attacks on higher education communities.The network has since released yearly updates for 2016, 2017 and launched the Free to Think 2018. uOttawa is contributing to this effort, through the monitoring of six countries in the Americas through its Human Rights Clinic (project began in January 2018).
  • In June 2016, the network met in Montreal for the 15th Global Congress. A report (only in English) with the main takeaways was issued in September 2016. In April 2018, Caroline Faucher, HRREC's Communications and Events Management Officer, and Assistant Director Viviana Fernandez represented uOttawa at the SAR 2018 Global Congress in Berlin (read the Summary Report of the Conference).
  • Viviana Fernandez was interviewed by Globalisation Café on the topic of Academic freedom, what is it? why is it important? and where is it most at risk? Listen to the podcast here. Viviana is the Assistant Director at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa (uOttawa). She represents The University in the Steering Committee of the Scholars at Risk (SAR) Network – Canada Section since 2016 and in the SAR’s International Advisory Committee.
  • Spotlight on “Dangerous Questions: Why Academic Freedom Matters”: This SAR spotlight presents an edited interview with SAR scholars, students, faculty and administrators who have taken the free massive open online course (MOOC) “Dangerous Questions: Why Academic Freedom Matters” to hear firsthand what they learned. 
  • To learn more about the Scholars at Risk (SAR) Program, you can watch this video.
  • To contact the SAR Program at uOttawa, please write to


Give to the SAR uOttawa Program

Contributions to the SAR uOttawa Program at the University of Ottawa can be made by going to Giving to uOttawa.

Give now


SAR uOttawa Events

Back to top