Nirenberg: E-mail Regarding Support for Scholars Facing Violence and Repression

The following is a letter sent by David Nirenberg, Director and Leon Levy Professor, to the Institute Board of Trustees, Faculty and Emeriti, current Members and Visitors, AMIAS, Friends, and Staff on March 15, 2022.

As we witness with horror the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, I want to express my sympathy for all who are suffering, and to reiterate the support of the Institute for Advanced Study for its Scholars, Staff, and Friends whose lives have been touched. From the outbreak of the war, the IAS community has rallied to offer logistical assistance to scholars and their families affected by the violence. I am grateful to the Institute staff and our legal services for the expertise they have provided. Please know that we are available in any case of need.

Since its inception, the IAS has always recognized a special duty to defend the free flow of ideas, and to provide refuge to scholars who face repression and violence around the world. In the 1930s and ’40s, many of our founding Faculty were refugees from persecution and war. In the 1970s, the School of Social Science offered opportunities to scholars living under authoritarian regimes in South America. More recently, the Institute advocated for scholars harmed by the Executive Order restricting travel from predominantly Muslim countries. Every year, the Institute opens its doors to scholars whose lives and work are at risk.

This year and for the foreseeable future, we will be called on to do more. We are expanding the resources available to bring scholars at risk to our campus, working with partners to advocate for the admission of such scholars to the United States, and identifying practical steps we can immediately take to further support scholars displaced by violence and persecution.

In the midst of a war marked by disinformation, intimidation, and the repression of facts, the value of scholarship and the fragility of its conditions of existence become acutely apparent. I am therefore all the more grateful to you for your collective efforts to defend truth, advocate for the free flow of ideas, and support scholars at risk in Ukraine and throughout the world.


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Lee Sandberg