April 14, 2022
On April 8 the Institute of International Education-Scholar Rescue Fund announced the three inaugural fellows of the IIE-SRF Vartan Gregorian Research Grants, including Dr. Yasmine Ergas of Columbia University. The grants, each in the amount of $25,000, will fund original research and projects that deepen our knowledge of the threats faced by academics in diverse contexts across the globe and explore innovative ideas for supporting these scholars.

Project Description: Yasmine Ergas, "Toward an Early Warning System for Attacks on the Gender Academy"

“The rise of illiberal, autocratic governments has been associated with attacks on gender studies programs and scholars,” says Dr. Ergas. “Scholars have lost jobs and livelihoods and have at times also been subjected to physical threats and exile.” Her project seeks to develop an “early warning system” that may help anticipate, forestall, and prepare for such attacks. She explains that “the hope is to go beyond ex-post crisis management to crisis-prevention and mitigation strategies that can strengthen the resilience of the ‘gender academy.’”

Dr. Ergas is director of Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights. She is also senior lecturer at Columbia SIPA, director of SIPA’s Gender & Public Policy specialization, a faculty member and member of the executive committee of the Committee on Global Thought, and co-chair of the University Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Council. Her current research addresses the emergence of a global market in reproductive services and the rise of “illiberal democracy” and the current backlash against gender equality. Her books include Nelle maglie della politica: femminismo, istituzioni e politiche sociali nell’Italia degli anni settanta (1986) and Reassembling Motherhood: Procreation and Care in a Globalized World, co-edited with Jane Jenson and Sonya Michel (2017).

Dr. Ergas has worked with her colleagues at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights to host several IIE-SRF fellows from China and will soon host a fellow from Myanmar. Dr. Ergas has also participated in meetings and discussions with IIE-SRF regarding threatened and displaced scholars, including Iraqi academics.

The Vartan Gregorian Research Grants in the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund honor the life and legacy of former IIE trustee Dr. Vartan Gregorian. A champion for global peace and academic freedom, Dr. Gregorian worked tirelessly throughout his life to expand access to education, to promote international exchange, and to preserve the lives and work of threatened scholars.

Adapted from IIE-SRF