We, the undersigned, academics based at universities from across the world, have been and continue to be deeply moved and encouraged by the news of the recent uprisings in Iran which began in protest against the murder of a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Jina Amini, while in custody of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s so-called “Morality Police“. Her name, as her family foresaw and wrote on her gravestone, became the symbol and “codeword” of a countrywide uprising against the theocratic dictatorship that has brutally suppressed the freedoms, democratic self-determination, and flourishing of Iranians for more than four decades.
We stand in solidarity with the brave, courageous, and creative protesters who have taken to the streets chanting “Woman, Life, Freedom”, a slogan first coined by Kurdish feminists and today embraced by millions of Iranians. The protests of which women are in the vanguard, come from a range of social classes and regions of the country, as well as a fearless new generation of university and high-school students who refuse to be cowed by decades of intimidation and repression. The demands for their basic human rights, dignity, and justice, however, have been met with a brutal crackdown by the authorities. Students’ peaceful protests and civil disobedience have been faced down with bullets, metal pellets, gruesome beatings, killings, abductions, and disappearances. University campuses, which are supposed to provide for the safety and well-being of their students and faculty, have been forcibly attacked and occupied by the regime’s security forces who have deployed shotguns, batons, tasers, and tear gas to suppress protesting students. We are deeply concerned about the news of attacks on several university campuses including that of Sharif University of Technology which have resulted in the abductions of tens of students and severe injuries for many more.
We call on students, faculty members, and academics of all disciplines around the world to join us in condemning the actions of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Moreover, we ask for your support to establish a more enduring initiative in support of the movement for “Woman, Life, Freedom”. We believe that through the creation of a grassroots network of solidarity with the people of Iran that we will prove most effective in raising awareness about the Iranian peoples’ struggles for freedom, equality, and democracy.
As academics from various countries and continents, we pledge our utmost to prevent the state institutions of the Islamic Republic and representatives thereof from having any presence in global higher education, be it physically or virtually i.e. ongoing cooperation with institutions of the state comprising its executive, legislative, and judicial branches, security, military, and intelligence apparatuses, as well as state officials who hold office in any of the aforementioned institutions. Furthermore, we shall use our academic influence and capacities to create an international network to support Iranian protesters and dissidents including students and academics who have come to harm or face intimidation and threats at the hands of the Islamic Republic. We invite you to contribute to these support and pedagogic networks as well as pools of scholarships and fellowships for precarious students and scholars at risk in Iran, and boycott events and initiatives expressly backed by the Iranian state or in which officials of the Islamic Republic play an active part.
We are planning to organise teach-in sessions in person and online to discuss and debate the revolutionary movement and uprising in Iran. This vital work aims to bring the voices and images of high school and university students and faculty members to our classrooms, campuses, and streets. We will update members of the network and the public with future and upcoming events to be held in solidarity with the uprising as it unfolds.
Please send us your name and academic credentials to join this network of solidarity and support and collaboration. You can do this either via our website or by sending us an email.
Web address: www.faculty4wlf.com
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Woman, Life, Freedom
In response to several queries and questions regarding the “boycott” aspect of the Faculty for Woman, Life, Freedom statement, the organisers have deemed it necessary to add a clarificatory note so that the scope and target of the boycott is beyond any doubt. As stipulated in the statement the boycott only relates to active and sitting officials holding office in the executive, legislative, judiciary, Office of the Supreme Leader, security, and intelligence apparatuses. The boycott applies to ongoing institutional cooperation with the aforementioned state institutions. In the event that sitting officials have been invited to speak or appear at academic functions in the form of a keynote, conference, or honorary doctorate, we will openly debate the merits of expressing explicit opposition.
Finally, and most importantly, this boycott is categorically not aimed and shall never be aimed at Iranian universities, individual scholars, or students based in Iran. We do not want to prohibit, prevent, or stigmatise knowledge and research exchange between scholars based in Iran and abroad, nor do we wish to contribute to their further isolation.
The Faculty for Woman, Life, Freedom was established first and foremost to condemn the state violence unleashed by the Islamic Republic against Iranian protestors, university students, and academics, for demanding their basic human and civil rights. The initiative’s chief and primary aim is to educate students, colleagues, and the general public about the revolutionary struggle for democracy, equality, and freedom in Iran, and to build a transnational pedagogical network of solidarity to support academics and students at the forefront of this struggle. We should not lose sight of this task and it should remain our primary focus going forward.
Organising Committee, F4WLF
This clarificatory note was added on 14/10/2022 following the statement’s initial publication.