Scholars at Risk

SFU's commitment to academic freedom is global. One of the ways we uphold this commitment is through our membership to Scholars at Risk.

The Scholars at Risk (SAR) mission is to protect scholars and promote academic freedom. Through SAR, SFU offers temporary academic positions to scholars facing grave threats such as imprisonment or being silenced in their home countries.

Since joining SAR in 2017, SFU International has received resounding support and interest across our academic faculties, which—along with crucial funding from SFU administration—has allowed us to launch the program at record speed. SFU has since hosted SAR scholars each year, welcoming accomplished scholars from Syria, Turkey, and Afghanistan.


Scholars interested in applying to the program can visit the Scholars at Risk application page .

Scholars are also invited to contact SFU International for more information at


Host a Scholar

SFU Faculties can host a scholar at risk in their Faculty for up to one year. SFU International will provide administrative and logistical support, and work with faculty to provide the necessary personal and academic supports for the scholar. If faculty have a scholar to recommend to the program, scholars can apply through the Scholars at Risk program and request SFU as their university of choice.

Host a Seminar

SFU Faculties can organize student advocacy seminars, which provide students with the opportunity to develop human rights research and advocacy skills through direct engagement on behalf of threatened members of the global higher education community. Arranged and supervised by your Faculty in partnership with Scholars at Risk, each seminar takes on the case of one or more scholars facing unjust restrictions, prosecution or imprisonment. For more information or resources, please visit the SAR Student Advocacy Seminar page.

Host a Speaker Series

The Vivian G. Prins Scholars at Risk Speaker Series is an opportunity for faculty to bring one or more diverse, interesting and courageous scholars to campus to share their powerful stories. Through these events, the SFU community will learn about threats to academic freedom and attacks on scholars, as well as the scholar’s own academic work and experiences. For more information, please visit the SAR Speaker Series Resource page.


presentation by Jeff Derksen and Shaheen Nanji at SAR Summit on North American Higher Education Internationalization and the Role of Visiting Scholars. 

SAR Canada Steering Committee in the Globe and Mail, "Scholars are at risk all around the world – and Canada needs to lead."

Read a SAR Spotlight on Dr. Hanadi Ibrahim. SFU's first SAR scholar, Dr. Hanadi Ibrahim, arrived in February 2018 and had a one-year visiting faculty post in the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science. Dr. Ibrahim graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Damascus and has completed a Master’s and PhD degree in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Paris Sud. She worked on developing analytical methods for lipids detection for biomarker discovery. She also studied the physicochemical properties of new potential drugs for photodynamic therapy of cancer. She gained expertise in chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques and mass spectrometry. While at SFU, her work searching for new catalytic properties of DNA for synthetic applications lead to a new publication