Statement by Marlene M. Johnson, Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators2016-07-26FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2016 – In response to the Turkish government’s decision to suspend travel of all academics and demand the resignation of university deans, Marlene M. Johnson, executive director and CEO of NAFSA issued the following statement:

“As the largest association committed to advancing international higher education, NAFSA is deeply concerned regarding recent developments in Turkey. We believe that international education advances learning and scholarship and fosters understanding and respect among people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives. We view any infringement on academic freedom to be a threat to democracy, peace and security.

“In turbulent times like these, it is vital to uphold universal human rights, such as the freedom of expression, travel and education. Although the temptation may be great to go against the values that many of us hold dear, history has proven time and again that suppression of these fundamental values reduces international security and endangers equality and rule of law.

“We echo the call of more than two dozen scholarly organizations for ‘respect for academic freedom—including freedom of expression, opinion, association and travel.’ A threat to education anywhere is a threat to democracy everywhere.”


Sample Tweet: .@MarleneAtNAFSA calls for academic freedom as Turkish govt suspends #HigherEd travel & demands resignations #Turkey

About NAFSA: With more than 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education. Relevant resources can be found at To learn more about our advocacy efforts on behalf of international education, visit and @ConnectOurWorld on Twitter.