MESA Academic Freedom Award
Advisory Council for the Right to Education, Iran
Also known as the Council for Defending the Right to Education, ACRE has been at the forefront of the perilous struggle for academic rights in Iran. Founded in 2008 by university students who were “starred” by Iranian authorities and barred from continuing their higher education in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the organization broadly advocates the right to higher education based on qualification and the right to non-violent student activism and freedom of thought and peaceful expression on Iranian university campuses. Since the June 12, 2009, presidential election in Iran ACRE, alongside other student rights and academic and teachers’ rights organizations, such as the Office for Fostering [Student] Solidarity (daftar-e tahkim-e vahdat), has been subjected to more intensified ideologically-motivated intimidation and persecution by Iranian authorities. Currently many members of ACRE are in prison, awaiting trial and/or sentencing, or are in hiding and exile. MESA is pleased to award this year’s Academic Freedom award to ACRE in recognition of the group’s commitment to the promotion of academic rights and basic rights to freedom of thought and expression and applauds the courage and resolve of its members.