UCL Provost on refugee academics
4 June 2013
A celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA), the body dedicated to supporting and saving academics at risk of persecution worldwide, heard UCL Provost Malcolm Grant, who is also president of CARA, speak of the "certain knowledge that academics will continue to suffer and need support from colleagues in more fortunate countries.
The event marked publication of the fully updated edition of 'The Refuge and the Fortress: Britain and the Persecuted 1933-2013', the book charting CARA's history since it was founded in 1933, when British academics came together to launch an unprecedented rescue effort to save hundreds of Germany's leading academics from persecution by the Nazi regime.
Professor Grant said: "Universities have a critical social function of fostering freedom of speech and the expression of unpopular views. This attachment to freedom of speech means that they tend to be early victims of tyrannical regimes, and their academics can be subjected to harassment and far worse treatment.
"While we celebrate CARA's first 80 years we must also look ahead with real concern at the political and ethnic violence being played out in many parts of the world at the moment, in the certain knowledge that academics will continue to suffer and to need support from colleagues in more fortunate countries."
Stephen Wordsworth, Executive Director of CARA, said: "Over the last eighty years CARA has helped thousands of talented and highly-educated people who have found themselves in desperate situations, giving them support that has changed their lives and, in many cases, has brought great benefit to the UK too. We have been proud to do so, and we will continue to do our best to help all those who, through no fault of their own, are forced to turn to us in the years to come."
In 2013, CARA has launched its 80th Anniversary Fellowship Campaign, to support persecuted and disenfranchised academics forced into exile. Demand for the sort of support that CARA can offer is, sadly, continuing to rise. With the generous support of many UK universities, and of foundations, trusts and private individuals, CARA is doing all it can to honour its proud history and to continue to bring life-changing support to academics in desperate need.