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ISTR Statement on Freedom for Academic Exchange

Monday, February 13, 2017   (0 Comments)
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ISTR Statement on Freedom for Academic Exchange

Research associations, through their membership meetings, provide forums in which participants exercise their freedom of scholarly expression and debate.  The International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR), made up of over 900 members from over 74 countries around the world, regularly convenes to exchange knowledge and advance research on civil society, nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations, and philanthropy. Our expertise and insights are built upon freedom of expression, association and travel.  Our nations and communities are richer and stronger because individuals have had assured rights to travel, to meet, to speak and to publish, and to freely exchange knowledge and ideas.  The protection and exercise of these rights have been essential building blocks of healthy and democratic civil societies.

As citizens as well as scholars of many countries around the globe, we are alarmed and deeply disturbed by the Executive Order issued on January 27, 2017, entitled, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”  We respectfully call upon the administration to rescind this order.  These travel restrictions exclude global scholars from academic forums in our field and curtails our freedom of scholarly expression.  In addition, the targeted exclusion of scholars from particular countries will negatively impact and seriously hamper the advancement of knowledge and the resulting policies and practices flowing from this knowledge in these areas of study. 

As members of the board of directors of ISTR, and as scholars of civil society, we issue this statement to express our alarm and deep concern, particularly at a time when global democratic exchange is of utmost importance. Our concern is for all of our colleagues who are prevented from engaging in peaceful democratic discussion. We thus call upon our colleagues, institutions, and governments to support democratic freedoms and scholarly exchange.


Steven Rathgeb Smith, President

Ruth Phillips, President-Elect

Annette Zimmer, Past President

Margery B. Daniels, Executive Director

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International Society for Third-Sector Research
5801 Smith Avenue
McAuley Hall, Suite 245
Baltimore, MD 21209

Tel:   410-735-4221
Fax:   410-735-4201

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