Asylum and Academia

In many countries around the world, academics face persecution, war, and violations of academic freedom. Far from being the end of the story, coming to the UK to seek safety is often the beginning of a long journey to rebuild lives, identities, and an academic career. 

A refugee academic from Algeria, Latefa, will be coming to Cambridge to discuss her experiences of fleeing Algeria, of seeking asylum in the UK, and of trying to integrate into British society and UK university life. Her research interests include forced migration, mental health and female academics in the diaspora. 

Her story offers a personal insight into the UK asylum process and casts light on the many challenges faced by academics around the world, and on those who become refugees in the UK. The event aims to build awareness about issues relating to academic freedom, refugees, and equal access to the university. 

About Latefa:

In Algeria, Latefa had a successful academic career, and was a committed unionist. She helped to set up the National Committee for Women at Work, lobbying for legislation on sexual harassment. She was forced to flee due to a destructive civil war between the Algerian Government and Islamic Fundamentalist groups. Arriving in the UK, she faced further challenges and abuse. With support from the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA), Latefa completed a "a dissertation written from the heart about the impact on the mental health of women of forced migration". She has more recently undertaken a PhD at the University of Swansea about female academics in the diaspora, and their relationship to their home country. 

About STAR and CARA:

This event is also a chance to find out more about Student Action for Refugees’ campaign to promote equal access to the University for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, and about the work of CARA. CARA was founded to provide a safe-haven and support to colleagues at risk and to defend their right to explore the world of ideas, literature and science. Over the years, CARA has provided practical support to over 9,000 displaced academics and their dependents, helping to rebuild shattered lives. The University of Cambridge has been involved with CARA from its very first days. Many refugees have settled in Cambridge and their work has helped change the world around us.