NYU will host University of Manouba Dean Habib Kazdaghli and French Ambassador Serge Telle for “The ‘Arab Spring’: Does Academic Freedom Matter?” on Mon., Nov. 18, 6-8 p.m. at Casa Italiana.

French Ambassador Telle and Tunisian Scholar Kazdaghli on “The ‘Arab Spring’: Does Academic Freedom Matter?”—Nov. 18 at NYU

A prominent voice for university autonomy and academic freedom in Tunisia, Kazdaghli is the dean of the Faculty of Letters, Arts, and Humanities at the University of Manouba, a site of major turmoil and violence during the ongoing Tunisian transition. Kazdaghli is also a professor of contemporary history, with research interests including the contemporary history of Tunisia and the Maghreb, the history of the communist movement, and the history of minority communities in Tunisia, especially the Jewish and Greek Orthodox minorities.

French Ambassador Telle is a career diplomat and, since 2012, the head of the Interministerial Delegation for the Mediterranean. In the course of his career, Telle has dealt with various international issues pertaining to human rights, humanitarian affairs, and the Middle East and North Africa.

They will be joined by Robert Quinn, executive director of the Scholars at Risk Network. Mustapha Tlili, founder and director of the NYU Center for Dialogues, will moderate the discussion.

Anyone wishing to attend must RSVP to aubrey@centerfordialogues.org or 212.998.8693. Subways: 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R (14 Street – Union Square), F, M (14 Street), 1, 2, 3 (14th Street).

The event is co-sponsored by the NYU Center for Dialogues and the Scholar at Risk Network.

The occasion will be used to release the report on the findings and recommendations of the conference, “The University and the Nation: Safeguarding Higher Education in Tunisia and Beyond,” which took place in Tunisia in February 2013 under the auspices of the NYU Center for Dialogues and the Scholars at Risk Network.

The discussion and report will consider the link between the university and the nation in Tunisia and the “Arab Spring” countries, especially amidst the ongoing political transformation. The panel discussion will explore the importance of academic freedom in the “Arab Spring” countries in light of the conference report and as framed by the 31 experts, including administrators, deans, scholars, civil society leaders, and five presidents of Egyptian universities, who participated in the February 2013 conference.

Editor’s Note:
New York University’s Center for Dialogues: Islamic World-U.S.-The West emerged from the tragedy of September 11th, which highlighted the need for greater communication among and about the United States, Europe, and the Muslim world. The Center was founded as a forum for constructive debate among the various religious, intellectual, economic, and political sectors of American, European, and Islamic societies. It brings contentious issues between the Islamic world and the West into a more rational plane and promotes this approach to a wide audience, including important constituencies of policy and decision-makers, policy analysts, the media, and educational institutions. For more information, go to www.centerfordialogues.org.

Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of higher education institutions, associations and individuals acting together to protect threatened scholars, promote academic freedom, and defend everyone’s right to think, question and share ideas freely and safely. Scholars at Risk members save lives by providing sanctuary to professors, lecturers, researchers and other intellectuals who suffer threats in their home country. Through temporary academic positions, SAR members help scholars to escape dangerous conditions and to continue their important work. In return, scholars contribute to their host campuses through teaching, research, lectures and other activities. Many scholars return to their home countries after their visit. When safe return is not possible, SAR works with scholars to identify opportunities to continue their work abroad. The benefits are clear: scholars are free to live and work without fear. SAR members gain talented academics and inspiring, courageous educators. The world benefits from solidarity among higher education institutions, greater awareness of current threats to academic freedom, and deeper appreciation of the vital role of higher education and scholarship in free societies. Scholars at Risk also educates the public about attacks on scholars and higher education communities through the SAR website, email bulletins, publications and events. The SAR Speaker Series brings threatened scholars to member campuses to engage directly with students, faculty, alumni and the community. SAR also advocates on behalf of imprisoned scholars and undertakes research aimed at promoting understanding and respect for academic freedom and related values. For more information contact scholarsatrisk@nyu.edu or visit www.scholarsatrisk.org.

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