Bosnia brain-drain appeal

November 17, 1995

British academics are to be asked to give money to help halt Bosnia's brain-drain.

The appeal is the latest initiative of Academic Lifeline for Bosnia, set up by the World University Service, the two main lecturers' unions and individual academics. They have funds to support students but not academics and estimate that the cost of keeping a member of staff at the University of Sarajevo is around Pounds 40 per month.

Appeal coordinator Hazel Smith, a lecturer at the University of Kent's London Centre of International Relations, says: "We are appealing for academics to find Pounds 40 - or any other amount they can manage - to physically support one of their colleagues in Sarajevo."

Of the 1,400 teaching staff at the university before the war started, only 900 remained by August 1994. Dr Smith says: "The only way that the academic community will survive is if it receives outside help. While there is little that academics in Bosnia can do at the moment, the only way to ensure that they are still around to reconstruct an education system based on tolerance and nonsectarian values when that becomes possible is to help them to stay there. People want to do something to help Bosnia - asking academics to support other academics makes a lot of sense."

They will be approaching professional and subject associations to seek support. The appeal should be boosted in the second half of this month by a visit to Britain by the rector of Sarajevo University, Nedzed Mulabegovic, and the vice-rector of Tuzla, Enver Mandzic. They are expected to visit the universities of Kent, Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Southampton, Leicester, Sussex, Nottingham, Derby, Keele, Birmingham and London to talk to British academics during a 12-day visit.

Cheques to World University Service (UK) and marked on the back "Stop the Sarajevo brain-drain" should be sent to Dr Hazel Smith, London Centre for International Relations, University of Kent, St Philip's Building, Sheffield Street, London WC2 2EX.

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