Western International

Scholars at Risk

Scholars at Risk is an international network of institutions and individuals working to promote academic freedom and to defend the human rights of scholars worldwide.
As a member of the Canadian section of Scholars at Risk, Western opens the door to scholars facing severe human rights abuses in their home country so that they may continue their work in a safe environment.

How does the Program Work?

Professors, lecturers, researchers and other intellectuals may apply for a temporary academic position at Western through the Scholars at Risk network.
In return, Western students benefit from inspiring scholars who teach, lecture and participate in other academic activities.
Many scholars return to their home countries after their visits. When safe return is not possible, the network will work with scholars to identify opportunities to continue their work abroad.

Taking a global look at academic freedom

Western is currently hosting Nael Yasri at the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, and Hanadi Ibrahim at the Department of Chemistry.

Nael Yasri

Prior to joining Western's Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Nael served as Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Aleppo University, Syria. In 2013, Nael was forced to abandon his home in Aleppo, along with his work and research in order to escape the war in Syria. With support provided by the Scholar Rescue Fund - Institute of International Education (SRF-IIE), Nael joined the Biological Systems Engineering group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for one year. More recently, he joined the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at Western through the Scholars At Risk network. 

In 2001, Nael became a faculty member at the University of aleppo after having received his Ph.D in chemistry from Brunel University (London, U.K.). Throughout his academic career, he has taught and lectured in electrochemistry, environmental chemistry, and kinetic chemistry. Along with other researchers working on environmental technology, Nael created a research group working on effluent control, treatment, separation and energy recovery. His research interests span several areas, all of them focused on green technology.

Hanadi Ibrahim

Hanadi recently joined Western's Department of Chemistry through the Scholars At Risk Network. After obtaining a Ph.D in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Paris-Sud, she returned to Syria in February 2011, and held the position of Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Damascus University. However, having witnessed the cruelty and oppression imposed by the Syrian authorities during the events unfolding in 2011, she took an uncompromising position calling for respect of human rights and the rule of law. 

Hanadi joined the Pacific Syrian Movement, a non-violent organization working to organize a general strike. She released a video calling on other faculty and staff to join the strike and participate in acts of civil disobedience. Following the release of the video, Hanadi was accused of treason and was forced to flee Syria, arriving first in France and later in Canada.

More information:

For more information about Scholars at Risk at Western contact:

Julie McMullin

Vice-Provost (International)