The Villa Decius Institute for Culture in cooperation with the Jagiellonian University started the implementation of the Residence Programme within the framework of the international network Scholars at Risk (SAR). At the beginning of December 2020, the Villa Decius Institute accepted the first SAR scholarship holder in Poland - Prof. Candan Badem - a distinguished Turkish historian who has suffered repressions in recent years due to a wave of layoffs at universities in Turkey.
“I am thankful to the Scholars at Risk network for its support to persecuted, displaced or otherwise repressed academics all over the world. I am very happy to be in the beautiful city of Krakow. I am planning to continue my research here and to engage in scholarly exchange with Polish scholars. If possible, I also want to do research in Polish archives. I am grateful to the Jagiellonian University and to Villa Decius Institute for Culture for this opportunity." - said prof. Badem after his arrival at the Villa Decius.
Prof. Candan Badem, unable to safely continue his work and research activities in Turkey, received assistance as part of the Scholars at Risk programme. Support and shelter for the persecuted academic were provided by the Villa Decius Institute for Culture, the city of Kraków and the Jagiellonian University in Krakow.
"Krakow is an open city, a city of freedom of speech and artistic freedom. For many years, we have also been a city of refuge for persecuted artists, and for a decade we have belonged to the prestigious ICORN network, on the Board of Directors of which our representative sits. The role of a city of refuge obliges us to create favorable conditions for freedom of speech, artistic expression and forms of expression. We implement this idea in cooperation with Krakow cultural institutions and academic centers. That is why I am glad that Villa Decius is a natural asylum for creators, writers, artists in residence, and the cooperation between the city - the Villa Decius Institute for Culture - the Jagiellonian University implements such an important idea of freedom of art and science," emphasised Jacek Majchrowski, Mayor of the City of Krakow.
The Turkish historian was welcomed into the university community by the Rector of the Jagiellonian University Prof. Jacek Popiel: "I am happy that this important project supporting researchers is implemented in practice. Let me welcome our first SAR fellow - Prof. Candan Badem, a specialist in the field of humanities - to the Jagiellonian University and wish him a fruitful stay and successful cooperation with our academic community," said the Rector.
As part of the fellowship, Prof. Badem will stay in Kraków until April 2021. During this time, prof. Badem will have the opportunity to continue his research work and establish cooperation with other scholars, not only from Kraków universities, but also from the international community. This aspect is emphasized by Prof. Beata Kowalska, JU Ombudsman for Academic Rights and Values, representative of the Jagiellonian University in SAR. "The quality of our research depends on an open, unfettered, critical academic debate, stimulated by the multitude of ideas and perspectives as well as awareness of the university's social responsibility. Authoritarian governments often strike at the autonomy of science. I am proud that the Jagiellonian University is the first university in the country to host a SAR scholarship holder", said Prof. Kowalska.
"We are happy to host the first scholarship holder of the international SAR network in Poland. Cooperation with this organization was initiated by Villa Decius in 2017, during an international conference on academic freedom. After three years, thanks to the involvement of the Jagiellonian University, the cooperation entered a new phase - we host prof. Candan Badem. This is another residency program implemented by Villa Decius. We are glad that Professor Badem is safe in Kraków and that we can support him in continuing his scientific work," said Dominika Kasprowicz, Director of the Villa Decius Institute for Culture.
Prof. Candan Badem (born 1970) obtained a master’s degree in Russian Philology and East European Studies from the University of Birmingham in Great Britain in 2001. In 2007, he earned his PhD in the history of the Ottoman wars at the Sabancı University in Istanbul. For eight years he lectured at the university, teaching Russian translation courses, cultural history, and the history of central Turkish Asia. He has participated in numerous international conferences and symposia. He is the author of a number of research articles and the editor of publications on the Ottoman Empire and the Caucasus. He conducted studies on the history of Turkey in state archives of the United Kingdom, Armenia, Georgia, and Germany. In 2009, he was the first Turkish historian to be admitted to the collection of the National Archives of Armenia in Yerevan. He is fluent in Russian and English.
In 2016, Prof. Candan Badem signed a public petition calling on the Turkish authorities to resume dialogue with factions in the south-eastern part of the country. The Turkish government accused the signatories of the petition of treason and promoting terrorism as well as insulting Turkey's good name. In August 2016, by government decree, prof. Badem was banned from all public universities and government offices. In February 2019, the scholar was found guilty and sentenced to almost two years in prison. Travel restrictions have also been imposed on him, valid until August 22, 2020.
Unable to safely pursue his work and research activities in Turkey while seeking research and teaching opportunities in a safe place, Prof. Badem received assistance within the framework of Scholars at Risk network.
Scholars at Risk is an international network of academic institutions and individuals which aims to protect oppressed members of the academic community and promote academic freedom. By organising temporary work spaces at partner higher education institutions, the network secures the safety of threatened academics, making it possible for them to continue their work until they are no longer in danger. SAR also provides counselling services for researchers and member institutions, organises campaigns for oppressed or imprisoned academics, monitors attacks on the academic community around the world and develops new tools and strategies for promoting academic freedom. Currently, the programme brings together 507 higher education institutions in 39 countries. The Jagiellonian University and the Institute of Culture Villa Decius have been the first and so far the only Polish organisations to join the network.