Prof. Klaus D. Beiter of the NWU Law Faculty, specialising in international human rights law, has been invited to lead a high profile panel discussion on academic freedom at the 2018 Scholars at Risk Network Global Congress, to be held from 23 to 26 April 2018 at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. The Congress is entitled "The University and the Future of Democracy" and is organised by Scholars at Risk, New York, together with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and Freie Universität Berlin.
Scholars at Risk protects scholars suffering grave threats to their lives, liberty and well-being by arranging temporary research and teaching positions at institutions in their network as well as by providing advisory and referral services. It has established several initiatives to identify, document and take action in response to attacks on scholars, students and their higher education communities. Around the world, the space for free inquiry and expression is shrinking. Scholars at Risk convenes faculty, students and higher education community members to discuss global and regional academic freedom climates and to develop solutions that strengthen the university space. The network includes more than 500 universities world-wide. See the Scholars at Risk website at
For more information on the 2018 Congress (including the conference programme), see the Congress website at:
Prof. Beiter has been doing research on the topic of freedom of science, the right to share in scientific progress, academic freedom and institutional autonomy for many years now. In a sense, the work builds on his book on "The Protection of the Right to Education by International Law." He has published articles on the subject of academic freedom in leading law journals. Amongst others, Prof. Beiter has developed an index to measure how "good" or "bad" academic freedom is protected in a country. During a research stay of two years as a Marie Curie Fellow in the U.K., he applied the measure to 28 European countries. The findings show that the strength of academic freedom protection in Europe is decreasing as a result of the commercialisation of higher education. Prof. Beiter intends applying his measure to South Africa as well, where academic freedom has been "in troubled waters" for quite some time now, too. Prof. Beiter has been doing research and advocacy work for Scholars at Risk since 2010.
At the Congress, Prof. Beiter will lead a panel including journalists, human rights attorneys, and researchers reporting on infringements of academic freedom in the U.S.A., India, Russia, and Italy. It is a pleasure for Prof. Beiter to have been invited and to proudly represent North-West University at the event.