The organization Scholars at Risk (SAR) and the Central European University were recognized for their contributions to global academic freedom, receiving the 2019 Politiken Freedom Prize.
The need for defense of fundamental human rights is courageously defended all over the world. Many selfless organizations act all over the world to ensure these rights, and each year the Danish newspaper Politiken recognizes some of these institutions for their hard work and commitment.
Scholars at Risk’s executive director Robert Quinn accepted the prize for the organization. The organization’s mission is to protect scholars and academic freedom through a well-founded international network of institutions and individuals.
The organization advocates for scholars who are at risk of detention for expressing sentiment which are perceived as dangerous or anti-government. In addition, they assist scholars by providing them with temporary positions at member institutions, in-country services to threatened scholars and families, and referrals for host campuses.
In the instances that scholars are unable to safely return to their home countries, the organization also offers follow-up placements through their network. Additional benefits of the organization include opportunities for staff and students, advanced reporting, advocacy, research and training opportunities.
The Central European University has been clashing with the Hungarian government amidst a crackdown of what man consider a threat to academic freedom. Under Prime Minister Viktor Orban, programs of study that challenged long-held normative beliefs such as gender studies were to be discredited, much to the dismay of the international community including the EU.
Legislation passed by the government purportedly targeted the institution and made operation within Hungarian borders difficult to proceed. While the government and the CEU reached an impasse, the CEU has decided to move their 2019 cohort to Vienna.