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St. Edward’s joins Scholars at Risk Network, aims to start speaker series

Jacob Rogers

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Carter Auditorium was filled for the inaugural speaker in the new Scholars at Risk speaker series at St. Edward’s University.

On April 5, Radwan Ziadeh, from Syria, is part of the Scholars at Risk Network which is “rooted in the principle of academic freedom” said Lori Peterson, associate vice president for faculty development & academic programs.

The series aims to bring scholars facing severe human rights conditions in their home region to positions at universities across the world to give their story and opinion on the subject.

Ziadeh is from Syria and has been imprisoned in the past.

He has had family members killed due to the conflict, he said.

Ziadeh’s talk, ‘The Time for Justice in Syria,’ addressed the conflict in Syria and its impact on human rights and justice. It’s something St. Edward’s hopes to continue in the future.

St. Edward’s will try to find speakers related to something happening on campus or particular course being taught and professors can make recommendations, Peterson said.

“Because we are now members of the Scholar at Risk Network, then we can host presentations from scholars who are in the network,” she said. “There are scholars all over the world.”

Senior Hosea Eyob was in attendance and was inspired to hear from Ziadeh. Eyob was a refugee in Eritrea, a country just north of Ethiopia.

“I was a refugee … three times, when I was nine and 18, I was internally displaced, I was an internal refugee within my country and then in 2006, I was a refugee in Ethiopia,” he said.

Eyob said he didn’t expect Ziadeh to want to go back to Syria and try to make the country livable for people.

“You wouldn’t think he’d be willing to go back … generally if you’re not a refugee, you don’t realize how horrible life is there and the refugee desire to actually be in their own countries and not be refugees or immigrants elsewhere.”

Getting St. Edward’s in the Scholars at Risk Network and having its first speaker took a couple years, said Craig Campbell, associate professor of public safety management.

“I just thought the university should, you know, we talk about globalization all the time, do something,” Campbell said.

Campbell also said they will continue to look for more speakers and try to have one every semester if possible.

Academic Affairs, Center for Ethics and Leadership, Center for Religion and Culture, Cultural Foundations and the Kozmetzky Center all helped sponsor the event.

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St. Edward’s joins Scholars at Risk Network, aims to start speaker series