UC Riverside launched a $100,000 crowdfunding campaign to sponsor at least two Afghan scholars attempting to flee from the Taliban regime. With the UCR Afghan Scholars at Risk campaign, UCR joins other UC campuses supporting this cause.
UCs systemwide have partnered with two global organizations: Scholars at Risk and the Institute of International Education Scholar Rescue Fund. Both organizations work to promote academic freedom, and part of that effort includes helping arrange temporary academic positions at member universities and colleges.
Back in August UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox joined over 150 higher education institutions, associations, and networks, as well as over 3,500 professionals and students concerned about colleagues in Afghanistan, to send a letter to United States government officials urging them to take immediate action to help save Afghanistan’s scholars, students, and civil society actors.
Leading UCR’s crowdfunding initiative is Marko Princevac, interim vice provost of International Affairs; and David Lloyd, distinguished professor of English. Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Elizabeth Watkins has pledged to match each gift towards the campaign dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000.
Money fundraised through October will go toward critical resources, including transportation, visa-related costs, health insurance, and basic needs expenses necessary to get Afghan scholars and their families to the U.S.
Following U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan on Aug. 31, the country’s government collapsed, and the Taliban assumed control over the nation’s capital, Kabul. The unrest has led to chaotic evacuations, with friends, families, and allies around the world — including UCR — wanting to help those left behind.
“I want to make something clear: This is not us just handing charity to people,” said Lloyd, who is part of the UC-wide coordinating committee for Scholars at Risk. “Scholars bring experience — long traditions of scholarship and investigation. They bring different perspectives to us. We need to learn about Afghanistan, and we benefit from the international outlook they bring.”
Scholars at Risk and the Institute of International Education Scholar Rescue Fund will help identify up to two scholars interested in coming to UCR where they can expect to thrive in a diverse learning environment as they cultivate global leadership skills. Visiting scholars will either be conducting research, teaching, or hosting lectures.
“Hosting a scholar is much more than a humanitarian response. At UCR, we are committed to academic freedom,” Princevac said. “This is part of what we do. We also want to demonstrate to our students we don’t just talk about diversity; we act on it, we support it.”
To learn more or make a gift, visit the UCR Afghan Scholars at Risk campaign page or contact David Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org.