Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) Cara is Vice-Chair of GCPEA, a New York-based coalition of NGOs and UN agencies formed in 2010 to highlight the problem of targeted attacks on education, particularly during armed conflict. Probably the biggest single achievement so far has been GCPEA’s work to prepare and launch what became known as the ‘Draft Lucens Guidelines for protecting schools and universities from military use during armed conflict’. The ideas were then developed under the leadership of Norway and Argentina into the Safe Schools Declaration, and so far over 65 countries – more than one-third of UN members states and including a clear majority of NATO and EU states – have adopted the Declaration and the accompanying Guidelines for protecting schools and universities from military use during armed conflict. This is already making, and will continue to make, a real difference to those caught up in conflict. Cara hopes that more countries will sign up in the near future. With its US partners (Scholars At Risk and the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund – see below) and others, Cara has also prepared new GCPEA ‘Principles of State Responsibility to Protect Higher Education from Attack’, and an accompanying Implementation Guide, which were launched at UNESCO at two events in 2016. Cara will continue working with its partners in 2017 to build support for these Principles.
Philipp Schwartz Initiative In 2016-17, Cara has, with its US partners, once again worked with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany to support this Initiative, which helps at-risk academics to find places at German universities. The funding comes from the Federal Foreign Ministry and a number of German foundations. 2017 was the Initiative’s third year, and it has grown year by year – in 2017, over 30 fellowships were available.
The British Academy Cara enjoys excellent relations with The British Academy, who have generously hosted many of its meetings and events.
The Royal Society Cara’s 1933 predecessor, the Academic Assistance Council (AAC), was first accommodated in the attic of the Royal Society’s rooms in Burlington House on Piccadilly, and the AAC’s Founding Statement was issued from there. The relationship has remained close, and Cara’s annual ‘Science and Civilisation’ lecture continues to be hosted by The Royal Society.
Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund Cara has partnered with the Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund to increase the provision of long-term support for applicants wishing to complete postgraduate study at a UK university.
Human Rights Defenders Platform In 2014, Cara joined the Brussels-based EU-funded Global Platform for the Temporary Relocation of Human Rights Defenders. The aim of the Platform is to offer temporary relocation to human rights defenders at risk and to facilitate the sharing of information and experiences to help improve respective programmes and collaborate over placements.
The Migration Museum Project Cara has partnered with the Migration Museum Project to run a series of seminars entitled ‘Great Minds’, which explore the ways that migrants have shaped intellectual life in the UK. Cara also sits on the Project’s Education Advisory Committee, which aims to engage young people with migration and related issues such as citizenship, identity and belonging.
Scholar at Risk (SAR) Network SAR launched in June 2000, as an international network of higher education institutions dedicated to protecting threatened scholars, preventing attacks on higher education communities and promoting academic freedom worldwide. SAR protects scholars suffering grave threats to their lives, liberty and well-being, by arranging positions of sanctuary at institutions in its network for those forced to flee. SAR also monitors attacks on academic freedom and produces an annual ‘Free to Think’ Report.
IIE Scholar Rescue Fund The Institute of International Education (IIE), a US independent not-for-profit organisation, launched the Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF) in 2002. SRF provides fellowships for established scholars whose lives and work are threatened in their home countries, to permit professors, researchers and public intellectuals to find temporary refuge at universities, colleges and research centres anywhere in the world. During the fellowship, conditions in a scholar’s home country may improve, permitting safe return; if this is not possible, the scholar may use the fellowship period to identify a longer-term opportunity.
Pharmacy Schools Council (PhSC) Pharmacy is one of the most prevalent disciplines among our Fellows. Cara is grateful for the support of members of the PhSC, which has resulted in Fellows receiving placements at more than ten pharmacy schools in the UK.
“By seeing what happens in societies where universities and scholars are put at extreme risk, we come to better appreciate why we defend what we do and better recognise the warning signs of the erosion of those freedoms… without genuine academic freedom, our universities will not fulfil their core mission..."
Professor John Sexton, UK Network Inaugural Meeting, The British Academy