From left, IIE Chaairman Thomas S. John and his wife Ann, and IIE Trustee Denise Benmosche and her husband Robert celebrate the IIE Scholarship Rescue Fund. Photo by Lyn Hughes

On September 18th, The Institute of International Education with closely 500 business, education, and government foundations and policy leaders recognized the 10th Anniversary of the Scholar Rescue Fund intended to help hundreds of scholars escape the dangerous situations in their home countries at New York’s Cipriani Wall Street.

During the event, IIE along with special guest Senator Patrick Leahy presented SRF founders Henry Jarecki, Henry Kaufman, Thomas Russo and George Soros with the Humanitarian Award for their leadership in creating the fund.

From Left, IIE Trustee and incoming SRF chairman Mark Angelson, IIE Scholar Rescue Fund founders Henry Jarecki, Thomas Russo, George Soros and Henry Kaufman, special guest presenter Senator Patrick Leahy, and IIE President Allan Goodman. Photo by Lyn Hughes

Since 1919, IIE has assisted in the rescue of threatened scholars who were affected by specific events in their countries. Ten years ago, IIE’s SRF founders, created a plan to start a fund that is ready to respond quickly to urgent crises and assist individual scholars who have immediate need.

Since SRF has begun, it has assisted over 450 scholars from 48 countries placing them at almost 300 host partner institutions in 40 countries around the world.

One of the Funds scholars Abdul Sattar Jawad shared his experience with SRF helping him flee Iraq in 2005 after the Mahdi Army threatened his life on three different occasions. Jawad was the Dean of the College of Artsnat Mustansiriya, where he realized his career as a Western-trained journalist and editor of Baghdad’s only English-language newspaper was endangering his life and the lives of his family. SRF allowed Jawad to leave Iraq and continue his work in the United States. It also gave him the opportunity to become a professor of Middle Eastern Studiesat Duke University in North Carolina.

From left, IIE Trustee and Western Union chairman Jack M. Greenberg, his wife Donna and Hikmet Ersek, who won the Opening Minds Corporate Leadership Award. Photo by Lyn Hughes

Dr. Jawad Iraqi scholar credits SRF with saving his life, “This is a great program, not only extending a lifeboat for scholars, but also an honorable academic way of life… I would be dead if I had stayed in Iraq.”

Dr. Jawad was not the only Iraqi scholar SRF has helped. Since its opening until now, SRF has helped more than 250 Iraqi scholars.

In recent years the work of the SRF has become more important with the current threats to academic freedom and safety in Syria and Libya.

The event raised $1.2 million for the Institute of International Education and $3 million in support for the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund, which will be matched by retired SRF Chairman, Dr. Henry Jarecki.

At the event, Chairmen Dr. Jarecki announced that later this year he would become Chairman Emeritus and turn over his role as Chairman to Mark Angelson.

—Leslie Alston