GYA Declaration of Support for Afghan Scholars

The members and alumni of the Global Young Academy (GYA) urge governments, universities and scientific organisations to take immediate action to secure the lives and careers of Afghanistan’s scholars and students. A particular focus is necessary to protect women, children, and at-risk groups. We support and encourage action by National (Young) Academies and scientific communities around the globe to protect the scientific and educational achievements that have been realised in Afghanistan, all of which were gained with the tremendous efforts of the Afghan nation and international organisations.  

Recommended actions include: 

  • The GYA encourages (young) academies to endorse an urgent appeal by the international organisation Scholars At Risk to European governments to take action.  
  • Academies and science organisations can appeal to governments to end the forced return of scholars to Afghanistan, extend current visas and facilitate and accelerate visa processing for Afghan students and scholars, and extend current immigration status. 
  • Higher education institutions are encouraged to provide financial support to students outside Afghanistan who have no scholarship to complete their studies, and advise students and scholars on ways to continue their education in their host countries. Where possible, these institutions should support families of students and scholars to join them. 
  • Encourage the establishment of dedicated scholarship or fellowship schemes for Afghan students and young researchers, especially women and members of other at-risk groups.  
  • Advocate for the protection of – and equal access to – education and research infrastructures in Afghanistan, including schools, universities, libraries, laboratories and repositories, as well as Afghanistan’s ancient historical sites and museums.  
  • (Young) scientists can provide valuable mentoring and advice to individuals. The GYA and other National Young Academies already have in place mentoring or support programmes for early-career, at-risk and displaced scholars. We encourage all science organisations to consider even small ways to positively impact the lives and careers of scholars at risk.  

We hope these actions will help safeguard the lives of students and scholars of and in Afghanistan, who are the pillars of the Afghan scientific community, and also protect education resources in the country that will help forge a brighter future in Afghanistan. 

Read more about the GYA’s Strategic Project – At-risk Scholars Initiative.