In solidarity with Afghanistan

In solidarity with Afghanistan

The EAIE stands in solidarity with the academic community in Afghanistan, which faces serious threats to institutional integrity, personal safety and academic freedom at this time.

The higher education community across Europe and around the world has been horrified and disheartened in light of the rapidly deteriorating political situation in Afghanistan, which has resulted in direct and deleterious effects on higher education institutions, students and staff in that country. Committed as the EAIE is to an “equitable world in which international education connects diverse perspectives and fosters greater understanding,” we have an obligation to support efforts and actions that push back against threats to the achievement of that objective.

To this end, the EAIE enthusiastically endorses Scholars at Risk’s urgent appeal to EU governments and EU institutions to provide resources and mechanisms that will help ensure the safety of endangered academics in Afghanistan at this time of intense insecurity. To back up our commitment in more concrete terms, the EAIE contributes financially to SAR to support this and the other vital advocacy work they do. We urge other organisations – as their means allow, with no amount being too small – to consider doing the same or contributing to other actors involved in this crucial work.

European higher education institutions have a long history of providing safe haven to threatened scholars and students, and international education professionals often operate on the frontlines of efforts to secure opportunities for such individuals to continue their academic activities in safety. However, this work cannot be meaningfully undertaken without supportive legal, societal and other framework conditions. Only by synchronising efforts at institutional, national and European levels can Europe rise to its fullest potential to help meet the challenges presented by the current crisis in Afghanistan.

Individuals can make an important difference, too. Ideas for action include:

  • Contacting government representatives at all levels to express your concerns
  • Following advocacy organisations on social media to demonstrate interest and support
  • Donating time, money and other resources to advocacy efforts
  • Raising awareness within your own higher education institution around the opportunities to support displaced students and scholars

Along with Scholars at Risk and the other institutions and organisations that have endorsed this appeal, we urge those in key leadership and decision-making positions to do everything in their power to create the conditions necessary to respond rapidly and meaningfully to the acute needs of the academic community in Afghanistan. We urge higher education institutions to prepare to welcome scholars fleeing the situation, and among our own community of international educators, we urge active attention to and engagement with these issues, as appropriate, in the context of your own professional practice. In doing so, all of us will benefit from the shared exercise of defending the rights of all individuals to teach and learn, innovate and grow in safety and with dignity.