Universities across the nation say President Donald Trump's
For years, schools in the U.S. have worked to widen exchanges with scholars in the Middle East and especially Iran, known for its strength in math and science. But many academics worry those bridges are now in jeopardy because of the ban against Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen. Some fear the U.S. will lose its standing as the world leader in research and innovation.
"It's terrifying," said Sarah Knuckey, director of the Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School. "We're damaging international research, including on issues like health and medicine."
Students in Knuckey's clinic have been working with a think tank in Yemen to explore the health consequences of the country's civil war, inviting scholars to lecture and planning a conference in New York this year. Because of the travel ban, they are trying to move the event to Canada.
Research between the U.S. and the seven countries covers a wide range of fields. According to the National Institutes of Health, U.S. and Iranian researchers have teamed up to study cancer, heart disease, hepatitis and opiate addiction.
Navid Madani, an HIV researcher at Harvard Medical School, said collaboration with scientists in Iran has been crucial to her work. Much of that cooperation is now in question. One of her counterparts in Iran was scheduled to teach at Harvard this year but may be prevented from entering the country.
"I've tried to balance my anger and despair with resolve," said Madani, who was born in Iran and is now a naturalized U.S. citizen. "This is something that really has to be reversed."