The project ‘Scholars at Risk (SAR) – University of Trento Protection Program’ started in 2019 thanks to a co-funding between the University and the Autonomous Province of Trento (PAT).
The project, coordinated by Prof. Ester Gallo (Delegate for Academic and International Solidarity) develops in coordination with the Rectorate Office of ‘Equality & Diversity’, which hosts a program of welcoming and inclusion of refugee students since 2016. The Office is coordinated by Prof. Barbara Poggio (Vice-Chancellor for ‘Equality and Diversity’ Policies).
The SAR-UniTrento Protection Program offers yearly fellowships for scholars who have asked/obtained refugee status in a EU member state and/or hold a ‘risk-statement’ issued by the International network Scholars at Risk (SAR: https://www.scholarsatrisk.org/). The fellowships are ‘Assegni di Ricerca’ lasting for 12 months and renewable for other 12 months. The University also provides scholars (and their families, where applicable) with free accommodation in university residence and the cover of health insurance. The 2019 call was for two fellowships: it was opened to all scientific disciplines and involved 13 academic structures (departments, research centers, schools). An interdepartmental committee carries the selection by taking into consideration the academic curricula, the publication records, a research project, as well as the risk faced by the scholar. In 2019 the University selected a scholar in philosophy from Cameroon and a scholar in nutritional science from Yemen. Their profile details are anonymous for security reasons. The new edition of the call will open in January-February 2021. For information please contact: [email protected]
During the fellowship, SAR scholars are expected to carry the research project they presented at the time of the selection. The university will give administrative, organizational and some financial support to this end. Scholars are also involved in the teaching programs, both as guest lectures within institutional courses as well as in seminar series related to their scientific work as well as to the topic of academic freedom. They are also involved in workshops/conferences in Trento as well as in the other universities in Italy that are members of the national network Scholars at Risk - Italy.
A system of welcoming and support involve the following offices/people:
(1) SAR university coordinator, who fosters the dialogue between the University, SAR headquarter in New York and SAR scholars, and monitors the integration of the scholar within the university and the city;
(2) SAR departmental referent who acts as academic tutor and who takes care of scholars’ integration within the receiving department. For the 2019/2020 edition the academic referent at the University of Trento is Prof. Michele Nicoletti (Department of Literature and Philosophy) and Prof. Marco Ciolli (C3A and DICAM).
(3) The Welcome Office of the University, which supports the scholar with the paper work;
(4) The ‘Office of Equality & Diversity’, which involves scholars in academic and outreaching activities related to human rights, migration and equality.
(5) SAR volunteering or internship students who support scholars with the paperwork and the settlement within the city.
Networking also aims at involving SAR scholars within the activities carried at local and national level by civil society organizations working on the defense of human rights and on international cooperation and development. Specifically, current scholars will collaborate with the Trentino Forum for Peace (http://www.forumpace.it/), the network In Difesa Di (https://www.indifesadi.org/chi-siamo/) and the Shelter Cities Program for HR Defenders (https://sheltercity.nl/en/the-city-of-trento-committed-to-the-protection-of-human-rights-defenders/).