Panel discussion to focus on intellectual repression

Three scholars from Iran and Belarus will talk about their struggles for freedom of speech during a panel discussion slated for noon, Wednesday, April 28.

Robert Quinn, founding executive director of Scholars at Risk, will moderate the discussion. Scholars at Risk links human rights with higher education by helping threatened intellectuals and fighting intellectual repression. 

Speakers will include: 


  • Mohsen Sazegara, a founding member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and a visiting fellow at the George W. Bush Institute at Southern Methodist University 
  • Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, a former member of Iranian Parliament and a visiting scholar at the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts, Boston
  •  Natalia Koulinka, a journalist and founder of Women’s Newspaper, the only independent women’s paper in Belarus. Koulinka, a 2009 Knight journalism fellow at Stanford currently is a visiting scholar at Stanford's Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies


Larry Diamond, director of Stanford's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, also will join the discussion. 

Organizers are hoping to increase awareness and interest in institutionalizing a Scholars at Risk program at Stanford and to encourage faculty and administration to begin thinking about hosting at-risk scholars.  The program would bring academics who are in danger because of their words, their ideas, and their role as change agents to Stanford where they can work free from threats to their physical, emotional, and professional safety.  

Once established, this program would provide funds to support one or more scholars each year. 

The event will be held in the Philippines Conference Room at Encina Hall from noon to 1:30 April 28. It is being co-sponsored by the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law; the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies; and The Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies

To RSVP, visit