MESA Academic Freedom Award
The MESA Academic Freedom Award was established in 2001. It is presented on appropriate occasions in recognition of sustained contributions in support of academic freedom in the Middle East and North Africa, and/or in North America. The award is made by nomination from MESA’s Committee on Academic Freedom to MESA’s Board of Directors. Questions about the award and the nomination procedures may be directed to Sara Palmer at 520-333-2577 ext. 103 or [email protected]
The recipients appear below.
The 2022 MESA Academic Freedom Award has been given to 6 Palestinian NGOs — Addameer, Al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International - Palestine, Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees — for their decades-long pursuit of academic freedom, courageous resilience, and contributions to the field of Middle East Studies.
The 2021 MESA Academic Freedom Award has been given to the student and faculty protest movement at Boğaziçi University
MESA awarded the over 2,000 signatories of the Academics for Peace petition in Turkey its 2016 Academic Freedom Award on November 18, 2016.
MESA awarded its 2014 Academic Freedom Award to the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE). The Cairo-based organization works to defend the rights of members of the academic community in Egypt.
MESA awarded its 2013 Academic Freedom Award to two organizations--the Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF) and the Scholars at Risk (SAR) program--for their efforts in support of Syrian higher education institutions and faculty.
Tutuklu Öğrencilerle Dayanışma İnisiyatifi (TÖDİ) (The Initiative for Solidarity with Detained Students)
MESA awarded its 2012 Academic Freedom Award to TÖDİ. TÖDİ was created for the purpose of offering support on behalf of the hundreds of students who have been arrested by the Turkish government on the basis of their academic research or exercise of their rights of free speech and association.
MESA Awarded its 2011 Academic Freedom Award “To all faculty, students and staff of Bahraini institutions of higher education who, by speaking out, documenting abuses, and engaging in myriad other forms of resistance have struggled against a range of brutal assaults by the Bahraini government upon academic freedom and upon the autonomy and integrity of the country's educational institutions.”
MESA awarded its 2010 Academic Freedom Award to the Iranian organization, Advocacy Council for the Right to Education (ACRE), also known as the Council for Defending the Right to Education, 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.
MESA awarded its 2006 Academic Freedom Award to Joan Wallach Scott and Akbar Mohammadi and Manuchehr Mohammadi. Scott received the award for her indispensable efforts as chair of the academic freedom committee of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). Akbar Mohammadi and Manuchehr Mohammadi received the award for their leadership roles in the struggle of Iranian university students to achieve and uphold academic and intellectual freedom in Iran.
MESA awarded the 2005 Academic Freedom Award to Iranian writer Akbar Ganji, a major figure in promoting intellectual and political debate in the Islamic Republic over much of the past ten years and a man who has paid an enormous price for his efforts by spending the last five of those years in some of the country’s most notorious prisons and cell blocks.
Fatma Muge Gocek, Ron Suny and all the scholars associated with the Workshop for Armenian-Turkish Scholarship
MESA Awarded its 2005 Academic Freedom Award to Fatma Muge Gocek of the University of Michigan and Ron Suny of the University of Chicago, and all the scholars associated with the Workshop for Armenian-Turkish Scholarship.
MESA awarded its first Academic Freedom Award in 2001 to Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim in recognition of his dedication to the promotion of democratic rights and civil liberties through his teaching and scholarship, and his commitment as a public intellectual to the principles of free expression and free exchange of information and ideas.