Pacific University 2018 At-Risk Speakers Series Continues on Thursday, March 15

Pacific University presents its 2018 At-Risk Speakers Series this month on the Forest Grove Campus. Students and local community members have the opportunity to hear from distinguished international scholars during the month of March.

The series is part of a global initiative, the Scholars at Risk Network, in which universities support and hear from scholars who have been displaced by war and political persecution. It is made possible through a grant from the university's Elise Elliott Undergraduate Experience Enrichment Fund.

Scholars at Risk is a network of more than 500 member institutions in 37 countries that seeks to protect scholars, students, and universities under threat, and to defend academic freedom globally. SAR was established in 1999, and is hosted at New York University.

Katharine Loevy, an associate professor of philosophy, spearheaded an effort for Pacific to become Scholars at Risk member shortly after she joined the university faculty in 2016. Pacific is Oregon's flagship member and remains the only SAR member institution in the state.

"The Pacific University SAR Speaker Series provides our students with an unprecedented opportunity to meet scholars, artists and statesmen from all over the world," she says. "Our membership in the SAR Network affirms our ongoing commitment to principles of academic freedom and to freedom of expression, and to standing in solidarity with students, scholars, and artists around the globe who are under attack for the peaceful expression of their ideas."

For more information, please contact Dr. Loevy at 503-352-2124 or


Academic Freedom in a Dangerous and Uncertain World
3 p.m. Thursday, March 15
Berglund Hall, Room 145

Baktybek “Bakyt” Beshimov served as the youngest university president in his native Kyrgyzstan and was later elected to parliament before becoming Kyrgyzstan’s ambassador to India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. 

After calling for democratic reform, Beshimov survived two assassination attempts, after which he and his wife made separate escapes through neighboring Kazakhstan to the United States. Following a subsequent coup in Kyrgyzstan, he was offered his country’s ambassadorship to Washington, D.C., which he declined, citing his refusal to participate in a corrupt government. 

Beshimov (Bakyt) is currently a visiting fellow at the Harvard University Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, and a recipient of a National Endowment for Democracy fellowship. He is the first Kyrgyzstan politician of his day to harness the power of the Internet for campaigning and continues to use the web to call for democratic reform in Central Asia.

Globalization, Pluralism and Fractured Solidarities
1 p.m. Thursday, March 22
Taylor Auditorium, Marsh 216

This speaker who served as senior advisor on civil society for the United Nations in Pakistan. He received a Top Contributors Award from the U.N. Development Program’s Global Poverty Reduction Network in 2007 and 2008. His professional and academic interests include participatory development, human rights, aid effectiveness, poverty alleviation and social accountability.


Democratic Breakdown and the Challenge of Disset in Turkey
Thursday, March 8
Taylor Auditorium, Marsh 216

Halil Ibrahim Yenigün is a visiting postdoctoral scholar at the Stanford University Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies. Formally an assistant professor at Istanbul Commerce University in Turkey, Yenigün was dismissed in February 2016 for political reasons, and is one of tens of thousands of academics, journalists, civil servants, public officials and police that have lost their jobs in that country following the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the summer of 2016. Yenigün's research focuses on contemporary Muslim political thought, Turkish Islamism, Turkish democracy, and religious social movements in Turkey and Egypt. He has been involved with several NGOs that promote human rights, social justice, and the free circulation of ideas.

Friday, March 9, 2018