What is (almost) done happening…
Cycling for Scholars at Risk
June 06th, 2022
I’m Luca, a Ph.D. student at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. I’ll be at ISPP 2022, the annual conference of the International Society of Political Psychology.
Conferences are one of the perks of an academic career: They allow us to connect, exchange research ideas, learn, and inspire. As a privileged European citizen, I was raised knowing that I could go everywhere, meet everyone, and see everything. To me, Europe means freedom, diversity, and safety. However, this Europe has come under threat, not least since Russia invaded Ukraine. While some (European) researchers already have adapted to conducting their work in consolidating European autocracies, the Russian war puts Ukrainian scholars under immediate threat.
What does that mean for conferences? This year’s ISPP conference is in Athens, the cradle of global democracy and a true European capital. Unfortunately, while I have the privilege to attend this conference as my Western European socialization made me used to, many other scholars don’t. Therefore, I decided to use my vacation for cycling to ISPP 2022 to make myself and my colleagues aware of our privileges of conferences in a free world and the simultaneous threat to academic freedom (of knowledge and movement). Together with my partner, I’ll cycle from Budapest in Hungary (which just reelected its autocratic government) through Serbia (which just reelected its nationalist leader) to Athens (again, the cradle of democracy).
With this initiative, we hope to raise awareness of the perks of academia and the threats that political developments pose to our colleagues’ work. We collect donations and forward them to Scholars at Risk, a network that aims at “protect[ing] scholars at risk and promote academic freedom.” Donations will be collected through the fundraising website gofundme.com. Please note that gofundme.com deduces 2.9% + $0.30 from each donation, which covers service costs and ensures safety (see information here).
We’ll start cycling on June 25th and hope to collect at least €1500.00, which is 1€ per kilometer (yes, it’s a 1500 km cycling distance from Budapest to Athens!). We would appreciate your (financial) support, no matter how small. Moreover, we hope to see you at ISPP, another conference, or elsewhere in a free, democratic, and peaceful Europe.
Update June 29th: We already made the €1500.00 goal! Thanks everyone for all your support, sharing and, of course, your donations! As SAR projects need much more money than that, let’s see if we can get more. Please spread the word and share and donate as much as you can!
Updates on the tour are given on Twitter (@VersteegenLuca) and on this website.
Thank you very much!
Krissi & Luca