In June 2019, Salvador Herencia, Director of the HRREC Human Rights Clinic, participated in an event organized by the SAR Network in Vancouver during the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2019. It was a great opportunity to learn what other Canadian universities are doing and attempting to do on academic freedom.
The first panel was a more institutional explanation of what academic freedom is and the work of SAR. It was interesting to know how these efforts have been used to protect academics in Iran and Syria from Canada.
The second panel focused on academic and student experiences working on SAR related projects. Students explained their engagement in advocacy campaign while teachers showed the different ways a faculty could work/teach academic freedom in their universities. It was particularly telling the testimony of Maryam Rafiee and her campaign efforts seeking to have her father released from a prison in Iran.
Salvador participated in the second panel, where he presented the work that the HRREC Human Rights Clinic has been doing in this past 18 months. He focused on advocacy efforts while briefly describing what the University of Ottawa has done hosting academics. He talked about the Mónica Godoy case in Colombia, the IAHRS hearing from February and the "vacuum" that needs to be filled to have a stronger protection of academic freedom. The discussion mostly focused on what Canadian universities can do on academic freedom. Most of the discussion was about the creation of courses, funding, cooperation between faculties of law and education, etc.