Scholars at Risk

The Scholars at Risk (SAR) program at Wesleyan is dedicated to helping scholars, artists, writers, and public intellectuals from around the world escape persecution and continue their professional lives. We do this primarily by hosting scholars on our campus in Middletown, as well as by providing electronic library access to certain other scholars. We work with the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund and the international Scholars at Risk network to identify scholars to host, and are members of the New University in Exile Consortium (NUEC) which provides hosted scholars with additional community and support during their time with us. The goals of the SAR program at Wesleyan are:

  • Enable scholars to escape risk.
  • Enable scholars to continue or rebuild their professional lives, including adapting to US higher education. Some teaching is typically conductive to this. With support, scholars can avoid the feeling of being in a “second exile” on our campus.
  • Support scholars in identifying possible next steps, after their year (or sometimes two) at Wesleyan.
  • Through opportunities to learn from, work with, and support the scholar (and their dependents), students, faculty, and staff—and the broader community—may also gain in terms of intercultural sensitivity and knowledge.

At Wesleyan, we take a team approach to supporting scholars and their dependents, with staff from Academic Affairs and from the Fries Center for Global Studies; faculty from each host department; and volunteers (including students, faculty, staff, and community members) all playing key roles. The SAR program is coordinated by the SAR Committee, chaired by the Director of the Fries Center (who also serves as Wesleyan’s liaison to the organizations referenced above).

In particular, the Wesleyan Welcome and Hospitality Committee (WesPotality) supports the scholars and their family as they adjust to life in the US. Our group of volunteers facilitates non-academic aspects of welcoming scholars at risk and their families to the Wesleyan and Middletown communities. This includes finding housing, collecting donations of clothing and household items, helping enroll children in school, providing English language tutoring, developing tools for self-sufficiency, and building cultural connections. WesPotality committees include the following, and all could use your help! 

  • Welcome and Arrival Committee
  • Housing Committee
  • Health and Wellness Committee
  • Finance and Technology Committee
  • School and Childcare Committee
  • Language and Advocacy Committee
  • Community Connections and Cultural Orientation Committee

Please email WesPotality if you would like to learn more or to join our efforts to support scholars at risk and their families in Middletown!