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UC Merced Launches Initiative to Aid Fleeing Afghan Scholars

September 22, 2021

The recent takeover of Afghanistan by Taliban forces has caused many Afghans to flee their homes searching for asylum.

Responding to the urgency of the current situation in Afghanistan, UC Merced’s Center for the Humanities has joined the rest of the UC campuses in starting a campaign to help Scholars at Risk (SAR) save the lives of scholars in the region, as well as in other turbulent areas of the world.

“This initiative will not only help safeguard academic freedom around the world but, more importantly, it will save the lives of some of our colleagues in Afghanistan and those of their families,” said Ignacio López-Calvo, director of the Center for the Humanities. “We trust the generosity of our colleagues at UC Merced and hope that they will consider making a gift to this extremely important and urgent cause.”

UC Merced is working with SAR, an international network of institutions and individuals that protects scholars suffering grave threats to their lives, liberty and well-being. Together they are arranging temporary research and teaching positions at institutions in their shared network and providing advisory and referral services.

"It is an incredible initiative. I am delighted to see that UC Merced never ceases to help vulnerable people," said Paola Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco, who graduated with a Ph.D. from UC Merced and now teaches at the University of Essex in England.

The campaign will run through Oct. 29 with the goal of raising $40,000 to match the Provost Office's commitment to start this initiative.

If you would like to help, please visit UC Merced’s Scholars at Risk page.