UC Merced raising money to provide work, a refuge for Afghan scholar

KSEE24 News

MERCED, Calif. (KSEE) — The University of California, Merced is raising money to bring a scholar from Afghanistan to work on campus.

“A lot of scholars and students are at-risk, and they’re fleeing their homes, searching for asylum in other countries,” said Ignacio Lopez-Calvo, the director of the center for humanities at UC Merced.

UC Merced is given a list of scholars through an organization called “Scholars at Risk,” a network of institutions that arranges temporary research and teaching positions at universities for scholars who need refuge.

“Scholars at risk is not only for Afghanistan — it’s also for Syria, for Iraq – anywhere in the world where their situations have conflict and there’s no academic freedom, no freedom of expression, people are at risk…” Lopez-Calvo said.

Lopez-Calvo says the university would employ the scholar for at least a year and try to keep them on campus until it’s safe for them to return to their home country.

The goal is to raise $40,000, which the provost promises to match.

“Our goal really is to provide a safe haven at the UC space to pursue research. We’re offering space in our lab which is right across from the humanities center, and also funding to help support the scholar while they’re here,” said Christina Lux, the associate director of the center for humanities.

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