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Help us free Niloufar Bayani

Join us in advocating for the release of Niloufar Bayani, a wrongfully imprisoned Iranian environmentalist.

Water Lilies

Niloufar means blue lotus in Persian. We will be planing blue lilies on campus in honor of her work during Advocacy Week this May.

A Rare Species

“The Asiatic Cheetah is one of the rarest mammals in the wild with the estimated number of individuals in the wild being about 200.” (Source)

Asiatic Cheetahs

“The word “cheetah” is from the Sanskrit word citrakayah (“citra” meaning displaying different spots streaks, and “kaya” meaning body).” (Source)




Who are we?

We are a group of students from Muhlenberg College working with Scholars at Risk (SAR) to raise awareness about the realities of worldwide scholars whose rights and freedoms have been compromised.

What is academic freedom?

About Bayani

Bayani is a wrongfully imprisoned conservationist in Iran. Read more about her case by clicking the link below

Advocacy Week

Advocacy Week will be held on the Muhlenberg College campus from May 3 – May 7, 2021. We will be working with students conducting advocacy campaigns for other international scholars to encourage a broader understanding and appreciation for academic freedom and to share information about our cases.

Some of the events that our group will be hosting are:

Monday 5/3 @ 3 PM

We will be handing out stuff-a-plush cheetahs and stuffing along with gift bags containing seeds, a Berg SAR sticker, and a description of who Bayani is. We hope that this will encourage a good number of Muhlenberg students to participate and learn about Bayani’s case.

This event will be held in Seegers Union.

Tuesday 5/4 @ 12:30 PM

Niloufar means water lily, so we will be planting lilies in the garden for her. We will video tape this experience and create a video to share with those who cannot be present in person.

This location is TBD.

Thursday 5/6 @ 11 AM

We will be tabling in Seegers Union and asking students to write birthday cards for Niloufar. We will be sending these cards to her family to be received on her birthday, May 9th.

This event will be held in Seeger’s Union.

Additionally, you can join us on Tuesday 5/4 from 7-9 PM (on zoom) for the Dana Senior Forum Presentations, in which we will be one of three groups presenting on international advocacy strategies and Bayani’s case. You can read about our presentation below:

Title: Overcoming Difficulties in Advocacy by Using Research to Amplify a Silenced Voice 

Abstract: Working through government channels is a common and effective strategy for international advocacy. However, this may not be viable in circumstances where foreign relations with the nation of interest are poor. Niloufar Bayani is an Iranian conservationist sentenced to 10 years in prison after the false accusation of espionage against Iran. In reality, sources believe that she was imprisoned for protesting Iranian nuclear and military weapons testing, as part of a larger movement by the government to silence Iranian environmentalists. This is a clear attack on her work as a conservationist and academic freedom at large. However, poor US-Iran relations have led her family to request that any advocacy on her behalf does not directly involve the United States government, making it difficult to pursue traditional methods to secure her release. This semester, we worked with Scholars at Risk to develop an advocacy strategy for Bayani’s case which was independent of governmental agencies. Through speaking with experienced individuals and researching advocacy strategies, we developed multiple platforms of outreach including a social media campaign and an educational website. This strategy serves not only to promote and continue Bayani’s work with the Persian Wildlife Foundation, which preceded her arrest, but to bring attention to her case while abiding by the wishes of her family and respecting the tumultuous history of US-Iran relations.

This page will be updated with a zoom link, when available.

Interested in joining us for advocacy week?

Find out how to get involved and learn more about the events we will be hosting, along with other SAR advocacy groups, and how you can get involved by clicking the button below