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President's Lecture: Free Speech and the Defense of an Open Society

Timothy Garton Ash
Thursday, February 23, 2017, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

WELCOME | Michael Ignatieff, President and Rector, CEU

SPEAKER | Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies, University of Oxford

ABSTRACT | Free speech is the lifeblood of an open society. It is vital to good government, the pursuit of knowledge, self-expression and living with diversity. The conditions for free speech have been transformed by the internet and mass migration, creating a world in which we are all becoming neighbours. Yet authoritarian regimes such as China and Russia are pushing back against free speech quite effectively and even governments which claim to be democratic are eroding it in more subtle ways. 

Drawing on his new book Free Speech: Ten Principles For a Connected World (Yale University Press) and the 13-language Oxford University website, Timothy Garton Ash will consider the challenges and opportunities for free speech in our time.

BIO | Timothy Garton Ash is Professor of European Studies in the University of Oxford, Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the author of ten books of political writing or ‘history of the present’ including The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of ’89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, & Prague, The File: A Personal History, In Europe’s Name and Facts are Subversive. He writes a column on international affairs in the Guardian, which is widely syndicated, and is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, amongst other journals. Awards he has received for his writing include the George Orwell Prize.