Give to support academic freedom and help Cameroonian scholars at risk!
The UCI Scholars at Risk program is launching a campaign on behalf of our campus to respond to the ongoing conditions of civil war in the Central-West African nation of Cameroon. With the generous support of donors and the campus administration, UCI Scholars at Risk has been relocating scholars facing persecution around the world – such as faculty from Afghanistan, Turkey, Syria and Ukraine – to the U.S. and UCI.
Residents of Cameroon’s English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions in particular have long been marginalized through discriminatory public policies enacted by the French-speaking central government, which led Anglophone separatists to declare independence in October 2017. Since then, media sources have reported widespread violence characterized by the indiscriminate killing of civilians by government forces and kidnapping and extortion by separatist fighters, which together have left 3,000 people dead and nearly 730,000 displaced. In response to the escalating armed conflict which has spawned a humanitarian crisis in the country, the Biden administration announced in April 2022, that it would offer temporary protected status to 40,000 Cameroon citizens.
While all citizens in Cameroon face daily violence, as public employees, university faculty in particular have been caught between the separatists, who have called for a region-wide school boycott, and the central government, which calls for university activities to continue. Separatists regularly attack university employees at gunpoint on their way to work and often abduct them, extorting ransom payments to set them freed. It is common to hear gunfire on campus; as recently as April 2022, government soldiers and separatist fighters engaged in a pitched gun battle on the campus of the University of Bamenda, endangering students and faculty alike.
Together, we’re working to help them, and so can you!
To date, the UCI campus administration has partnered with the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund https://www.scholarrescuefund.org/, an international network organized to support academic freedom, by matching a $25,000 grant awarded to a Cameroonian scholar by the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund and thus making it possible for him to come to our campus to continue his research.
Our goal is to raise $50,000 from the greater UCI community by July 1, 2022, to continue to make it possible for Cameroonian scholars and their families to find a safe haven at UCI.
If you’re inspired to help, please make a gift as soon as possible and join us in working to support this crucial initiative. Please make your gift today. Your gift will go directly to paying for transportation out of Cameroon to the U.S., visa-related costs, salary, health insurance and basic living expenses, so that our colleagues may enrich our campus community and continue their work in a safe environment. And please share this campaign on social media as widely as possible to spread awareness and raise additional support.
Thank you for your consideration and support!