90 years ago, 41 leading academics, scientists and public figures in the UK came together to launch what is known today as Cara – the Council for At-Risk Academics. Against the background of the Nazis’ rise to power and the dismissal of ‘non-Aryans’ from their academic posts in Germany, they defined their mission as ‘the relief of suffering and the defence of learning and science’, and underlined the urgency of raising funds ‘to prevent the waste of exceptional abilities exceptionally trained’.

90 years on, that challenge remains. Around the world, thousands of academics are still being forced to abandon their jobs and homes to seek safety elsewhere, often abroad, as a result of war, repression or prejudice. They frequently travel with close family members, but with little else – except for the knowledge and skills they have patiently acquired and are desperate to use and develop further.

Some of them already have connections and can use them, but many do not. Without support, their ‘exceptional abilities’ and the contribution that they hoped to make would be lost. We help as many as we can. But the challenge is huge. In recent years the number of those needing our support has surged as a result of crises in the Middle East, in Syria in particular, and more recently still because of the Taliban’s recapture of power in Afghanistan, Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and the conflict in Sudan.

In the face of these challenges, the response of the UK higher education and research sectors, and the individuals who work in them, has been rapid and generous.

But still more is needed. So please join the hundreds of your colleagues who already contribute regularly to support our work, and give what you can here: https://bit.ly/CaraGv.

Cara’s founding statement was launched in 1933 from the ‘Rooms of the Royal Society’, where Cara (as it is called now) had been given temporary offices. To mark the 90th anniversary, Cara and the Royal Society co-hosted a special event at the Royal Society on 11 September 2023. With an introduction and closing appeal from the RS’s Treasurer, Professor Jon Keating, a number of speakers, including the son of a Cara Fellow from the 1930s, himself now an FRS, and current Fellows from Afghanistan, Myanmar and Ukraine, spoke about ‘Cara Past, Present and Future’. Watch the full recording below:

The event was also the occasion for the launch of Cara’s latest Fellowship Programme video, featuring Cara Fellows from Afghanistan, Ukraine and Syria, and also speakers from Durham University and the University of Edinburgh, explaining why their institutions think it important to support Cara’s work. Watch the video below: