The Council of American Overseas Research Centers wishes to draw further attention of the scholarly and funding communities to the plight of Afghan scholars and their staffs who continue to be at risk during the important evacuations occurring from Afghanistan. This is a moment of great import to our communities to support refugee scholars as a moral imperative as we did after World War Two for scholars from Western Europe.
We request the scholarly community to urge the U.S. Government and private sector to take the following steps:
1) Ensure that the commercial airport at Kabul remains open for scholars and staff who wish to depart the country.
2) Maintain a robust U.S. Embassy capability to process visas, Fulbright grants, and other U.S. offered opportunities.
3) Require all U.S. Embassies outside Afghanistan to process arriving Afghan visas and asylum requests expeditiously.
4) Work with their own Universities to provide expedited admissions to their programs and to provide “safe haven” to Afghan faculty seeking teaching and research positions.
5) Ensure robust funding for Afghan faculty and students including full scholarships, full fellowships, and relocation expenses.
6) Seek the cooperation of the U.S. Government to reallocate existing unspent program funding directed for Afghanistan efforts overseas to domestic based programs for displaced scholars.
7) Call upon the private donor community to expedite grants to support Afghan scholars and their scholarship in the United States and other countries.
We stand with Afghan scholars at this moment of the “crisis of values” with the Taliban and strongly support open and free scholarship and the rights of all people in academia including educators, human rights advocates, women’s rights advocates, and others who are currently in peril in Afghanistan.