Carnegie Mellon University

Artists and Scholars At Risk (ASAR) Program

Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, (one of America’s most livable cities) invites scholars at risk to bring their artistic, intellectual and academic talent to Carnegie Mellon University.

CMU’s Artists and Scholars At Risk (ASAR) Program upholds university values of academic freedom and freedom of expression through our support to scholars who are under threat in their home countries or regions.

Our Program

With the generous financial support from the Provost’s Office as well as the hosting units in the College of Fine Arts and the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and our partner organizations, CMU hosts one to three scholars annually in the arts and humanities. Scholars remain at CMU for a period of up to three years.

Our History

Beginning in 2022, CMU began hosting at-risk scholars in response to global humanitarian crises, and from a sense of institutional responsibility to represent our values in action. CMU’s Artists and Scholars At Risk (ASAR) Program demonstrates values in action related to CMU’s strategic goals for global impact; we model cultural and artistic ambassadorship through this program. 

Our Association with CAS

The Center for the Arts in Society helps support the integration of artists and scholars at risk into the CMU and Pittsburgh community through event programming, such as our Afghan Dinner and a Movie series, moderated by Habib Sorosh; Syrian Dinner and a Movie series, moderated by Reem Alghazzi; and the Dinner and a Reading Event with Anouar Rahmani.

Our Leadership

A dedicated team of faculty and administrators serve on the Steering Committee to oversee the launch, direction, goals and administration of the program.

Steering Committee Members (2023-24)

  • Wendy Arons, Professor of Dramatic Literature and Director of the Center for the Arts in Society - School of Drama
  • Becky Culyba, Vice Provost for Operations and Strategic Initiatives - Provost’s Office
  • Linda Gentile, Director - Office of International Education
  • Alex Hiniker, Director of Sustainability Initiatives - Libraries
  • Lisa Krieg, Associate Vice President - Global Strategic Initiatives
  • Anne Lambright, Department Head and Paul Mellon Professor of Hispanic Studies - Languages, Cultures & Applied Linguistics
  • Andreea Ritivoi, William S. Dietrich Professor of English and Department Head - English
  • Jon Rubin, Professor of Art - School of Art
  • Roger Turner, Coordinator - Global Strategic Initiatives

Benefits and Impact

Impacts of the program accrue to the artists and scholars themselves, and across our institution, to faculty and hosting home departments, and to CMU students: 

  • Local and regional connections – This program fosters partnerships, collaborations and connections to the refugee/asylum-seeking communities in Pittsburgh and beyond.
  • Academic programs and faculty – This academic endeavor explores linkages to under-represented places and cultures. Our program connects to the CMU School of Art’s Mission: we believe that your curiosity, artistic vision, and creativity can help shape a new and better world. And, we explore exciting new areas of scholarship.   
  • Students – Our students experience CMU’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives and global mission in action – both in and out of the classroom.  
  • Scholar Impacts – Artists and scholars at risk are folded into the CMU community with a holistic approach of meaningful and scholarly engagement.
  • Welcoming threatened artists and scholars aligns with CMU’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, with a specific focus on Goals 4 (Quality Education), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 10 (Reduced Inequalities), and 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions).

CMU’s Partners

Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum

Founded in 2004, City of Asylum builds a just community by protecting and celebrating freedom of creative expression. The organization provides sanctuary to endangered writers and artists, so that they can continue to create and their voices are not silenced. City of Asylum offers a broad range of free literary, arts, and humanities programs in a community setting to build social equity through cultural exchange. ICORN (International Cities of Refuge Network) serves as a key resource for the City of Asylum. 

Scholars at Risk 

CMU is a member institution of Scholars at Risk (SAR).  SAR’s Protection Services support threatened scholars and practitioners by working with the wider SAR Network to arrange temporary research and teaching positions at higher education institutions around the world. In addition to and in tandem with academic placement assistance, SAR provides advisory and referral services to the higher education community involved in these efforts, including at-risk scholars and practitioners, SAR member institutions and affiliated partners, as well as prospective members looking to host a scholar or otherwise support a threatened colleague.

Pittsburgh Network for Threatened Scholars (PiNTS)

Administered by the University of Pittsburgh Global Studies Center (GSC) with support from the University of Pittsburgh Provost's Office, the PiNTS network convenes diverse local and national partner organizations to bring threatened scholars, artists, and practitioners to Pitt and to Pittsburgh.

Scholar Rescue Fund

The Institute of International Education (IIE), an independent not-for-profit organization, has supported opportunities for persecuted scholars since its founding in 1919. In 2002, IIE launched the Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) to formalize its commitment to protecting the lives, voices, and ideas of scholars around the globe.