ONLINEAuthor Talk by Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN of America

September 30, 2021 Free
Suzanne Nossel (Courtesy photo)

Suzanne Nossel, chief executive officer of PEN America, the writ­ers’ human rights orga­ni­za­tion devot­ed to defend­ing free expres­sion worldwide, will present a virtual Jewish Book Council author talk. The event, hosted by Falmouth Jewish Congregation and the Worcester JCC, will feature bestselling author and journalist Larry Tye in conversation with Nossel, author of “Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All” (HarperCollins, 2020).

In an era where one tweet can launch or end your career, where free speech is invoked with great pas­sion but lim­it­ed understand­ing, where the First Amend­ment can be mis­tak­en as a smoke­screen for hatred, learn­ing to maneu­ver the rough and tum­ble ter­rain of pub­lic dis­course has nev­er been more urgent.

In “Dare to Speak,” lead­ing free expres­sion advo­cate Suzanne Nos­sel argues that we can and must uphold the rights of indi­vid­u­als to speak their minds, while also work­ing assid­u­ous­ly to build a more equi­table, inclu­sive pub­lic cul­ture com­mit­ted to disman­tling racism and oth­er forms of big­otry. Cen­tered on 20 easy-to-grasp, prac­ti­cal prin­ci­ples, Nos­sel’s man­i­festo equips read­ers with essen­tial tools to nav­i­gate today’s diverse, dig­i­tized and deeply divid­ed soci­ety with­out curb­ing free expres­sion. Her exam­ples include inci­dents involv­ing anti­se­mit­ic and anti-Israel speech on cam­pus and her pre­sen­ta­tion address­es how Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties can rec­on­cile their com­mit­ment to com­bat hatred and defama­tion with robust pro­tec­tions for free speech, and why they should. Nos­sel advis­es read­ers how to use lan­guage con­sci­en­tious­ly, defend the right to express unpop­u­lar views and protest speech with­out silenc­ing it, pro­vid­ing con­crete guid­ance on how to rec­on­cile these some­times com­pet­ing imper­a­tives with­in uni­ver­si­ties, on social media and in dai­ly life. Replete with insight­ful argu­ments, col­or­ful exam­ples and salient advice, “Dare to Speak” brings much-need­ed clar­i­ty to the rag­ing debate over whether free speech can sur­vive intact in the 21st cen­tu­ry.

As CEO of PEN Amer­i­ca, the lead­ing human rights and free expres­sion orga­ni­za­tion, Nossel is a lead­ing voice on free expres­sion issues in the United States and glob­al­ly. Her pri­or career spanned gov­ern­ment ser­vice and lead­er­ship roles in the cor­po­rate and non­prof­it sec­tors. She has served as the chief oper­at­ing offi­cer of Human Rights Watch and as exec­u­tive direc­tor of Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al USA. Dur­ing the first term of the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion, Nos­sel served as deputy assis­tant sec­re­tary of state for inter­na­tion­al orga­ni­za­tions, where she led U.S. engage­ment in the Unit­ed Nations and mul­ti­lat­er­al insti­tu­tions, on human rights and human­i­tar­i­an issues. Nos­sel coined the term ​“Smart Pow­er,” which was the title of a 2004 arti­cle she pub­lished in For­eign Affairs Mag­a­zine and lat­er became the theme of Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Clin­ton’s tenure in office. Nos­sel is a magna cum laude grad­u­ate of both Har­vard Col­lege and Har­vard Law School.

Joining Nossel in conversation will be Larry Tye, a New York Times bestselling author of numerous books about American history and culture, including, most recently, biographies of Sen. Joe McCarthy and Robert F. Kennedy. In addition to his writing, Tye runs the Boston-based Health Coverage Fellowship, which helps the media do a better job reporting on critical issues like public health, mental health and high-tech medicine. From 1986 to 2001, Tye was an award-winning reporter at The Boston Globe, where his primary beat was medicine. He also served as the Globe’s environmental reporter, roving national writer, investigative reporter and sports writer.

The public is invited to view the live broadcast on FCTV Public Channel 13 in Falmouth. Zoom participation is available to members of Falmouth Jewish Congregation and its host partner, the Worcester JCC.

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Thursday, September 30, 2021, 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm

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