IIE-SRF Celebrates New Partnership with Finland; Chicago Tribune Features Syria Consortium Student; 2016 IIE-SRF Forum Registration Now Open
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IIE-SRF Celebrates New Partnership with Finnish Government Agency to Provide Safe Haven for Scholars in Finland

CIMO Director General Samu Seitsalo and IIE President and CEO Allan Goodman

On Tuesday, IIE-SRF announced a new partnership with the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture’s Centre for International Mobility (CIMO) to provide safe places in Finland for threatened scholars from Iraq and Syria. In partnership with CIMO, IIE-SRF will offer joint fellowships for as many as five professors to continue their academic work at Finnish institutions of higher education. CIMO will match IIE-SRF’s fellowships worth up to $25,000 USD, and the Finnish institutions will contribute in-kind support such as language training, housing, and additional assistance with cost of living expenses.

IIE kicked off the partnership by hosting a breakfast reception with CIMO and other Finnish representatives. Fittingly, the event was held at IIE’s headquarters in the Edgar J. Kaufmann Conference Room, which was designed by the renowned Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. Finnish Consul General Jukka Pietikäinen, CIMO Director General Samu Seitsalo, and IIE President and CEO Allan Goodman delivered remarks. They praised the positive relationship between Finland and the United States and expressed optimism that this partnership will lead to deepening cooperation between the two nations, as well as provide mutual benefit to the scholars and Finnish higher education.

An IIE-SRF fellow from Syria also spoke at the event, retelling his escape from the violence in his home country and arrival to the United States to continue his academic work in safety. His powerful story emphasized the need for partnerships like the one between IIE-SRF and CIMO to transform the lives of scholars and ultimately the future of war-torn countries. As the fellow elaborated, “Securing the future of Syrian education is as important as providing food and shelter because you cannot feed people for their entire lives. You have to keep the [academic] structures there so that [the people] can rebuild themselves.”

Read more about the partnership here>>

Chicago Tribune Features the Remarkable Story of an IIE Syria Consortium Student

The Chicago Tribune recently featured the remarkable story of Mariela Shaker, a Syrian student who, through the help of the IIE Syria Consortium for Higher Education in Crisis, escaped war in her hometown of Aleppo to earn a bachelor’s in music at Monmouth College. She is currently pursuing her master’s at DePaul University. The article explains, "Monmouth and DePaul caught her eye because they were part of an Institute of International Education consortium launched in 2012 to aid Syrian students,” in partnership with the Illinois Institute of Technology. IIE’s Deputy Vice President of International Partnerships in Higher Education Daniel Obst elaborated that "Chicago, especially, has been a safe-haven city for Syrian students and scholars."

The article describes Mariela’s harrowing journey from Syria to Illinois, and her subsequent efforts to raise awareness of the situation in Syria by speaking and performing at fundraising events. She said, "Although I feel powerless to change the current situation in Syria politically and socially, I am committed to the power of music and I believe in its ability to fashion peace and love in this world."

Read about Mairela's Journey here>>

Register for the 2016 IIE-SRF Forum

IIE-SRF is delighted to announce that registration for the 2016 IIE-SRF Forum is now open.

Convening partners from diverse sectors, the second annual IIE-SRF Forum will address the urgent need to support scholars who have been silenced at home by censorship, violence, and other human rights abuses. Featuring keynote speaker Prince Talal bin Muhammad of Jordan, the Forum will give a platform to scholars to share their experiences and discuss several of the key crises of 2015. It will also explore the role of the university in responding to higher education emergencies and the impact of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on academics.

IIE-SRF will host a workshop on the day before the Forum for current and potential partnering institutions to explore best practices when hosting a scholar on campus.


IIE-SRF Forum: April 29, 2016
IIE-SRF Hosting Workshop: April 28, 2016

Edgar J. Kaufmann Conference Room (12th Floor)
Institute of International Education
809 United Nations Plaza, NYC
Register Now

For any questions on how to register, please contact Janet Hoyte at jhoyte@iie.org.

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There are currently 72 scholars from 14 nations carrying out their IIE-SRF fellowships in 13 countries.
Scholars Seeking Visiting Appointments

See the full list of scholars seeking visiting academic appointments »
Scholar Spotlight
An Iraqi scholar of Histology and Embryology seeks a visiting position in Europe or North America. 

Call for Applications

February 1, 2016

As a reminder, February 1, 2016 is the deadline for the next round of IIE-SRF applications. IIE-SRF encourages nominations from universities and other partners who are aware of professors, senior researchers and public intellectuals facing threats to their lives or academic work. Please refer eligible candidates to srf@iie.org.

Learn more about applying or referring a scholar>>

In the News

The Washington Post - The war on education

Chicago Monitor - Illinois scholarship opportunities give Syrian students hope for the future

Previous Issues of The Beacon:

January 15, 2016 - Reception to Celebrate New Partnership; Scholars Thrive with ELS; 17 First-Time Host Partners in 2015; IIE-SRF Website Revamped

December 17, 2015 - Launch of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative; IIE-SRF Awards 1,000th Fellowship; Scholar Spotlight – Iraq; Fond Farewell to Martha Bloem

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Host a Scholar
Apply or Refer a Scholar





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