The International Studies Association (ISA), the world’s largest association of scholars in the field, has been watching the developments surrounding higher education and regulations regarding research universities in Iran with increasing concern. Of particular concern are reports of scholars being detained or jailed because of the legitimate research that they are conducting in Iran. As decisions are made in the coming days and weeks regarding such scholars, we strongly encourage the Iranian government to act in accordance with the principle of academic freedom, a principle we hold sacrosanct.
ISA has many members throughout Central Asia, including from Iran, and we consider it our duty to join other concerned professional bodies in monitoring this situation. Many ISA members have long-term, fruitful collaborations and interactions with colleagues and students from Iran and we hope that they will be able to continue these. We fear, however, that recent actions could severely impede those interactions.
For further information about ISA’s deliberative processes on academic freedom concerns and the committee’s charge from the Governing Council, please see: http://www.isanet.org/ISA/Governance/Committees/Academic-Freedom.
Cameron Thies, ISA President
Mark A. Boyer, ISA Executive Director
Kristian Gleditsch, Chair, ISA Academic Freedom Committee