Join us for an evening discussion on the plight of endangered scholars around the world with a panel of scholars who have faced imprisonment, have been forced into exile from their home countries in order to escape persecution, or were denied a visa to speak in the US. We hope the event will provide a forum for these scholars to share their stories and place those stories in the broader context of global challenges to academic and intellectual freedom- The New School
Akbar Ganji is considered Iran's leading investigative journalist. He is also the author of the best-selling book Dungeon of Ghosts, a collection of Ganji's newspaper articles published in early 2000, in which he implicated the former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and other leading conservative figures in the "serial murders" of five writers and intellectuals in 1998. The book is said to have seriously damaged the reputation of Rafsanjani, and is thought to have been a major factor in the conservative defeat in the parliamentary elections of February 2000.
Donny George Youkhanna
Dr. Donny George Youkhanna's life is interwoven with some of the world's most famous antiquities and archaeological sites. A native of Al-Anbar province, Iraq, Dr. George pursued undergraduate and graduate study at the University of Baghadad along with archaeological work at such fabled sites as Babylon and Nineveh.
He served as Director General of the Iraqi Museums from 2003 to 2006 and was central to the recovery of some of humanity's most important antiquities following the looting of the Baghdad Museum. Presently he is Visiting Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Stony Brook University in New York.
Studying at a mix of South African and American Universities, Adam Habib graduated as a political scientist having received his Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Kwazulu Natal, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Witwatersrand, and his MPhil and PhD from the Graduate School of the City University of New York. He has held academic appointments over the last decade at the Universities of Durban-Westville and Kwazulu-Natal and the Human Science Reseach Council.
Prior to being appointed Executive Director of the Democracy and Governance Programme of the Human Science Research Council in 2004, he served as the founding director of the Centre for Civil Society and a research professor in the School of Development Studies at the University of Kwazulu-Natal, a position he still continues to retain in a part-time capacity.
Mehrangiz Kar is a visiting fellow at the Human Rights Program at the Harvard Law School and at the Newhouse Center for Humanities at Wellesley College. In addition, Ms. Kar is an attorney, writer and activist working toward the promotion of democracy, and the rule of law and human rights within the framework of Islamic law in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Despite her efforts being frequently impeded and curtailed by the intelligence services of the Islamic Republic, she has been an active public defender in Iran's civil and criminal courts, and has published regularly in several influential and independent Iranian journals.
Banned from making public appearances within her country, including conferences, radio and television, Ms. Kar has used international forums as a platform for voicing her opinions and advocating for the democratic, political, legal, constitutional and human rights of the Iranian people. In April of 2000, following her participation in a symposium in Berlin, she was arrested and imprisoned on charges of acting against the national security of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Three of the five charges against her are pending, for which she may again be arrested upon her return.
Berhanu Nega was nominated to be the mayor of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the Ethiopian general elections, 2005. He is a founding chairman of the Rainbow Ethiopia: Movement for Democracy and Social Justice and a Deputy Chairman of Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), for whom he served as chief election campaign strategist.
Samantha Power (born 1970) is a journalist, writer, and professor. She is currently affiliated with the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Power was raised in Ireland before emigrating to the United States in 1979. She attended Lakeside High School in Atlanta, GA. She was a member of the cross country team as well the basketball team. She is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. From 1993 to 1996, she covered the Yugoslav wars for U.S. News & World Report, The Boston Globe, The Economist, and The New Republic.
She is a scholar of foreign policy especially as it relates to human rights, genocide, and AIDS. Her book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 2003. She endorses the Genocide Intervention Network.
As of 2006, she was writing about foreign policy and Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and United Nations Special Representative in Iraq who was killed in the Canal Hotel bombing in Baghdad along with Jean-Selim Kanaan, Nadia Younes, Fiona Watson, and other members of his staff, on the afternoon of August 19, 2003. The book, Sergio Vieira de Mello: A Man For the Dark Times will be released in February 2008.
She spent 2005-06 working in the office of U.S. Senator Barack Obama as a foreign policy fellow, where she was credited with sparking off and directing Obama's interest in the Darfur conflict. She has also been involved with efforts to increase media attention about the Darfur conflict. In 2006, she contributed to Screamers, a movie telling about Darfur, Armenian and other genocides of 20-21st centuries.
In 2004, Power was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 top scientists and thinkers of that year.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research at the University of Johannesburg, Adam Habib discusses the persecution of scholars in liberalized democracies and his personal experience of being deported from the United States.