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New Threats to Academic Freedom in Asia


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Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs 

East Asia Program presents 

New Threats to Academic Freedom in Asia 

Researchers, institutions, teachers, and students around the world are confronting new and growing threats to academic freedom. Academic freedom in and on Asian countries has faced particular assault over the last decade, with increasingly global ramifications. In this roundtable event, sponsored by the Open Society Foundations, we will explore emerging threats to academic freedom as well as their downstream political, economic and cultural impact. Participants will discuss trends in censorship and new modes of suppression in an effort to shed light on the problem and provide reference points to those working in restrictive academic environments. 



Katrin Kinzelbach
Katrin Kinzelbach is a Professor of Political Science at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, where she teaches the international politics of human rights. Before joining FAU in 2019, Kinzelbach was associate director of the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin and a visiting professor at the  Central European University in Budapest.  In 2017, working in close cooperation with the Scholars at Risk Network, she initiated a world-wide data collection effort on academic freedom, the Academic Freedom Index (AFi), which was implemented in partnership with the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg, and launched in 2020. 

Lynette H. Ong 
Lynette H. Ong is a political scientist at the University of Toronto. She specializes in the politics of China and Southeast Asia and has written widely on the Chinese Party-state power, repression, social protests, as well as the economy and financial sector. Her research addresses the intersections of authoritarian politics, contentious politics and the political economy. She has published widely in a range of academic journals in political science, including Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Politics, International Political Science Review, and in area studies, namely China Quarterly, China Journal, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Journal of East Asian Studies, etc. She is the author of Prosper and Perish: Credit and Fiscal Systems in Rural China, (Cornell University Press, 2012). She was a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University’ Weatherhead Center for International Affairs in 2020, and previously an An Wang Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. She has also held visiting fellowship at various esteemed universities in China.

Robert Quinn
Robert Quinn is the founding Executive Director of the Scholars at Risk Network, an independent not-for-profit corporation based at New York University, and host of the Free to Think podcast.
Mr. Quinn formerly served as a member of the Council of the Magna Charta Observatory, based in Bologna, Italy; Executive Director of the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund; on the Steering Committee of the Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR), based in London, UK; a member of the Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; a member of the Scientific Committee of Pax Academica, an online journal on academic freedom in Africa published by CODESRIA from Dakar, Senegal; a fellow with the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows Program in Washington, DC. He received an A.B. cum laude from Princeton in 1988, a J.D. cum laude from Fordham in 1994, and an honorary doctorate from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2010. In 2012, Mr. Quinn and Scholars at Risk received the University of Oslo’s human rights award, the Lisl and Leo Eitinger Prize, for “relentless work to protect the human rights of academics and for having inspired and engaged others to stress the importance of academic freedom.”

Dimitar D. Gueorguiev
Dimitar D. Gueorguiev is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University. He specializes in Chinese politics. His work has been published in several top scholarly and general interest outlets. He recently co-authored a Cambridge University Press book on Chinese governance institutions entitled China’s Governance Puzzle. Gueorguiev’s forthcoming book, Retrofitting Leninism, looks at non-democratic participation and information control in China. 

Co-sponsored by Open Society Foundations and Association for Asian Studies 

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For more information, please contact Havva Karakas Keles, or to request accommodation arrangements please contact Morgan Bicknell,

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We’re Turning 100!

To mark our centennial in the fall of 2024, the Maxwell School will hold special events and engagement opportunities to celebrate the many ways—across disciplines and borders—our community ever strives to, as the Oath says, “transmit this city not only not less, but greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”

Throughout the year leading up to the centennial, engagement opportunities will be held for our diverse, highly accomplished community that now boasts more than 38,500 alumni across the globe.