NEW YORK, June 8, 2010—The Institute of International Education (IIE) is pleased to honor Steven H. Schulman, Partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, with the 2010 ‘Award for Extraordinary Service’ for the generous support and counsel he has provided to IIE's Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF). Dr. Henry Jarecki, Chairman of the Scholar Rescue Fund, presented the award to Mr. Schulman during a special appreciation luncheon for friends of SRF at the Institute's headquarters.
To date, the Scholar Rescue Fund has assisted more than 350 threatened scholars from 43 countries by providing life- and career-saving grants and professional networking assistance to return scholars to safe and productive academic positions at partnering host institutions throughout the world. In most cases, scholars have escaped attempts on their lives, prolonged detention, or physical and psychological abuse. Beyond their immediate struggles, they also face the uncertainties of a new culture in their host countries and worries about their future beyond their SRF tenure.
Mr. Schulman leads Akin Gump’s Pro Bono operations worldwide, representing some of the most vulnerable communities and individuals, and extends his passion and counsel to organizations whose mission is to do the same. Over the past three years, he has advised IIE and SRF on serious programmatic issues, often late into the night, on weekends and on holidays.
With a relatively small staff and limited resources, SRF relies heavily on a community of dedicated organizations and volunteers who contribute countless hours to provide a range of support to its grant recipients. Scholars often reach their host universities having suffered traumatic experiences in their home countries. Doctors, lawyers, human rights advocates, language specialists, university students, financial advisors, and other friends of SRF have extended their professional expertise to help SRF scholars as they adjust to their new host communities and prepare for the future.
“The moment Mark Goldberg introduced me to Steve, I knew we had struck gold,” said Dr. Jarecki, who has served as SRF Chairman since 2002. “Steve began by training our staff on asylum issues and by the end of the presentation, he had offered his cell phone number so that any scholar, stuck at any border in the U.S., could call him for immediate help. Anytime. And he meant it.”
Mr. Schulman has since led a powerful team to provide legal counsel for scholars who are faced with the difficult decision to apply for asylum in the United States. Scholars from Iraq, Sri Lanka, Iran, Gaza and Ethiopia describe with deep gratitude the extensive care from Mr. Schulman and his team. While securing asylum in the US does not end their struggles, it can lift the lingering fear of what may await them and their families if they were forced home.
Accepting the award, Mr. Schulman stated, “It is a privilege to work with the Scholar Rescue Fund and the academics it helps to find safe haven in the United States and around the world. SRF stands for core democratic principles: freedom of expression, security and respect for human rights.”
Mr. Schulman’s commitment to these principles makes the work of the SRF possible. And it brings hope for a brighter, safer future to so many who have endured the harrowing consequences of a violent, repressive past.
About the Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF)
The Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF) provides fellowships for established scholars whose lives and work are threatened in their home countries. The fellowships permit professors, researchers and other senior academics to find temporary refuge at universities and colleges anywhere in the world, enabling them to pursue their academic work to continue to share their knowledge with students, colleagues and the community at large.
About the Institute of International Education (IIE)
An independent not-for-profit founded in 1919, IIE is among the world's largest and most experienced international education and training organizations. We are committed to delivering program excellence to a diverse range of participants, sponsors, and donors.
About Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a leading international law firm, numbers more than 800 lawyers in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Photo caption: The Institute of International Education (IIE) presented Steven H. Schulman, Partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, with the 2010 ‘Award for Extraordinary Service’ for the generous support and counsel he has provided to the Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF). Dr. Henry Jarecki, Chairman of IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF), presented the award to Mr. Schulman during an appreciation luncheon for friends of SRF at the Institute's New York headquarters. Pictured (left to right) are: Henry G. Jarecki, Steven H. Schulman, IIE Chairman Thomas S. Johnson, and IIE President and CEO Allan E. Goodman.