Scholar Rescue Fund receives anonymous donation in honor of Beau Biden
An anonymous $1 million gift in honor of Beau Biden will allow for one endangered international scholar to be rescued each year in perpetuity.
Rescuing of the scholars – often distinguished scientists and other thought leaders targeted most recently by international terrorist groups such as ISIS – is the work of the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund.
Former Delaware Senator Ted Kaufman, also an IIE board member, says Beau Biden was always dedicated to foreign policy issues and would be very pleased with the dedication.
“What really drove him was the idea of – how outraged he was – when people who were powerless were being overcome by those who were powerful: the abuse of power,” Kaufman said.
Biden served as a rule-of-law advisor in postwar Kosovo, and served a tour of duty in Iraq with the National Guard. The former Delaware Attorney General died last May of brain cancer at age 46.
Hallie Biden, Beau’s widow, was presented with a special chair for the occasion.
IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund is the only global institution where professors in danger worldwide can appeal for help. The gift will allow the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund to aid one international scholar in danger each year, providing them a safe haven at a host institution abroad.
IIE’s CEO Allan Goodman says the definition of what rescue means keeps changing. In recent years, it has involved helping more and more scientists and medical professors targeted by international terrorist groups.
“You wouldn’t believe it but after almost 100 years we’re still learning what rescue means. Rescuing people from Syria is different from rescuing people from the Nazis or the Soviets. But it first involves figuring out where they could go," Goodman said.
Goodman adds it costs an average of $40,000 per year to sponsor a scholar, with host institutions often matching that amount, or providing an in-kind stipend or meal voucher. The aim is for scholars – once in a safe space – to continue their work and research. 30-35 percent of them are able to return to their home country within a 5-year period.
Goodman estimates IIE has helped over 20,000 scholars since 1920. A permanent Scholar Rescue Fund was established in 2002. IIE was founded in 1919, and rescued its first scholar in 1920.