We are pleased to announce that Dr Anwar Masoud and his family recently arrived at Somerville from Yemen on a joint fellowship between CARA (the Council for At-Risk Academics) and the SRF (Scholar Rescue Fund).

Dr Masoud will be joining the Department of Pharmacology as a neuroscientist within the group led by Professor Daniel C Anthony.

Dr Anwar Masoud

CARA and the SRF are unique charitable foundations established in the early twentieth century to defend the rights of academics threatened by growing extremism and uncertainty. CARA was established in 1933 by Britain’s foremost academics and scientists in response to Hitler’s decision to expel hundreds of leading scholars from German universities on racial grounds, while the SRF was founded initially to rescue scholars displaced by the Bolshevik revolution and the rise of Mulssolini’s National Fascist Party in Italy. Since then, thousands of scholars have been saved through the combined work of CARA and the SRF, and the two foundations’ close ties to the UK higher education and research community.

As one of the UK’s first ever University Colleges of Sanctuary, Somerville is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for displaced or stateless students. We feel deeply honoured to continue this work by supporting at-risk academics such as Anwar in gaining sanctuary for he and his family here in Oxford, as well as enabling Anwar to continue his important research alongside our Tutorial Fellow in Medicine, Professor Anthony.

Until recently, Dr Masoud was working as a Faculty member at Thamar University, Yemen. However, the security and living conditions in the region have deteriorated considerably, and research has become a very precarious occupation in an environment where academics are unpaid and where they have been targeted by the warring factions. Indeed, many academics have ‘disappeared’.

Anwar graduated with a PhD from Panjab University, India in 2009 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Rhode Island, USA from 2014 to 2016. Anwar will spend the coming year learning new techniques and exploring the mechanisms that underpin the death of brain cells in Alzheimer disease. Anwar has been awarded a bursary for visiting scholars by Somerville College to meet half the cost of his accommodation.

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