Academic Freedom

Academic Freedom Terms of Reference:

The EISA is a leading academic organisation for the study of International Relations and Global Politics.  We are committed to protecting the academic freedom of our members and constituencies in order to foster an ethical space for research and teaching and to stand in solidarity with members of our community who are targeted or made vulnerable in their work.   


Academic research often challenges prevailing or orthodox views and may come into conflict with authority figures and institutions, as such it is pertinent to protect Academic Freedom.  Academic Freedom is to undertake research, teaching and scholarly activities without the interference from political or ecclesiastical authorities, or from the administrative officials of the institution.  Academic freedom is the ability to express opinion about the institution or system in which an academic works, and freedom from institutional censorship and freedom to participate in professional or representative academic bodies.  Academic Freedom includes the capacity to engage in scholarly activities free from discrimination within the university or scholarly community and freedom from outside pressures, political and economic, in the development of teaching curricula and research design.


To respond to violations of academic freedom in research, research dissemination, teaching and academic practices in Europe and at academic institutions and affiliates anywhere in the world.

The EISA will do so by:

  1. Keeping informed of pressures, threats and violations on academic freedom within Europe and worldwide.

  1. Defending academic freedom through communications, such as public statements, declarations and letters.

  1. Networking with other academic associations in response to violations of academic freedom.


In pursuing these objectives the actions taken shall bear in mind the Association’s Constitution and bylaws.  The response to violations of academic freedom shall also have in mind that EISA should represent the concerns not only of its own members but also those of all academics and students involved in the study of Global Politics, International Relations and related disciplines.

Board members have different political opinions and leanings, but are fully committed to the EISA's mission. Thus, the Board only issues statements that strictly align with EISA's mandate. It cannot be held responsible for political readings, uses or misuses of its statements.

Mode of Operation:  

The EISA’s governing board consists of 12 members, 3 members are part of the Executive Committee and 9 members as part of the Council.

The Governing Board meets three times a year where questions of academic freedom and changes in the external conditions of the discipline are discussed.

Violations of academic freedom can be raised at the Governing Board meeting and at any time in between.

One member of the Governing Board holds the portfolio to address questions of academic freedom.  This board member is elected by the Association members and sits on the board for three years, the same as all Board Council members.

All board members can raise concerns on infringements of academic freedom and institutional discrimination.

Operation Guidelines: 

  1. The Governing Board works collectively to draft all communications on violations of academic freedom using available evidence.

  1. The Member of the Board raising an issue of violation of academic freedom will provide a rationale and provide evidence on the case.

  1. All issues relating to questions of academic freedom are discussed openly, and all Association communications on questions of academic freedom are put to the board, in person or via e-mail for review. Each member of the Governing Board has the same rights in voicing their opinion.

  1. No statement or document shall be released by the EISA Governing Board on Academic Freedom unless it has been openly discussed amongst the board, and board members have had the opportunity to respond.

  1. Members of the Governing Board shall declare any conflict of interest relevant to the discussion of particular cases.

  1. All motions of Academic Freedom presented to the board must pass with a 2/3 majority, including the President.

  1. The Governing Board will collectively redraft the communication until a Final Statement, letter or other action is agreed upon.

  1. All EISA communications will be copied to the Administrator who will be responsible for arranging the delivery of the communication by email or other appropriate means.

Read more:

EISA statement on academic freedom and Palestine

As an academic association representing scholars of international relations the EISA wishes to express its growing concern with the repeated and flagrant attacks on the academic freedom of scholars working on issues related to Palestine-Israel, the ongoing violence across Palestine, and questions of genocide. These are all issues of scholarly concern to many of our […]

EISA Governing Board Statement on attacks on higher education and academic freedom in Palestine

The European International Studies Association is committed to upholding academic freedom including the ability of academics to work and students to learn in safety. The EISA therefore condemns in the strongest possible terms the destruction of the Islamic University of Gaza and Al-Azhar University in Gaza. The total destruction of both universities means the elimination […]

EISA Governing Board Statement on the cancellation of Dr Walaa Alqaisiya’s talk at the Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies, Vienna

The European International Studies Association (EISA) expresses urgent concern for another egregious violation of Academic Freedom against a Palestinian academic in Europe.  Dr Walaa Alqaisiya was scheduled to speak at the Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies on 30 May as part of its Spring Curatorial Program 2022, Art Geographies. This event is jointly […]

EISA Governing Board Statement on the Invasion of Ukraine

As a professional association representing International Relations communities across the world, we are deeply concerned about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. We regard and condemn the Russian Government’s action as an act of aggression and extend our solidarity to all those who are affected by the violence.   In addition to the unacceptable human cost of […]

The investigation of Shahd Abusalama and cancellation of the class she was scheduled to teach

Dear Professor Sir Chris Husbands,We write on behalf of the board of the European International Studies Association(EISA) to express our concern about the suspension of Shahd Abusalama from herteaching post at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU). Her suspension followed aracialised smear campaign, including defamatory accusations of antisemitism and theuse of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism […]

EISA Governing Board Statement on Academic Freedom Concerns at University of Glasgow

The European International Studies Association (EISA) is concerned about the violations of Academic Freedom at the University of Glasgow against Dr Somdeep Sen, Associate Professor of International Development Studies at Roskilde University. We stand in solidarity with the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) who have written to the University of Glasgow about this case. The […]

Statement on adopting the IHRA definition at UK Universities and worldwide

The European International Studies Association (EISA) is a leading academic organisation for the study of International Relations and Global Politics. The EISA is deeply concerned with the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism at universities worldwide and the current external pressure for the acceptance of the definition at UK […]

Statement by the EISA board on threats to academic freedom in India and Kashmir

The European International Studies Association (EISA) condemns the recent incidents of violence targeted at students and faculty in Indian Universities, including Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. We are grievously concerned about the physical safety of students and members of the academic community, and call upon the relevant authorities to uphold and […]