black and white portraits of Teng Biao, Aysen Candas, and Kian Tajbakhsh

Can the U.S. Export the First Amendment?

Global Complications of Freedom of Speech
Feb 20, 4 PM
Library Lecture Room
Free and open to the public

New University in Exile Consortium scholars will address the question of whether U.S.A.-style freedom of speech is a viable model for countries such as China, Iran, and Turkey. Related topics will include the challenges posed by the rise of (electoral) authoritarianism around the world. Do Western norms of free speech and academic freedom enable or slow down the establishment of democratic regimes at a global scale? How can these norms be operationalized to promote rather than obstruct freedom as a universal value?

This event will also be livesteamed at wellesley.edu/live.

New University in Exile Consortium scholars:

Teng Biao: China's Threat to Global Freedom of Expression

Dr. Teng Biao is an academic lawyer, currently Grove Human Rights Scholar at Hunter College. He had been a lecturer at the China University of Politic and Law (Beijing), a visiting scholar at Yale, Harvard, NYU and the Institute for Advanced Study. Teng’s research focuses on criminal justice, human rights, social movements, and political transition in China. Teng defended cases involving freedom of expression, religious freedom, the death penalty, Tibetans and Uyghurs. He co-founded two human rights NGOs in Beijing – the Open Constitution Initiative, and China Against the Death Penalty, in 2003 and 2010, respectively. He is one of the earliest promoters of the Rights Defense Movement in China and the manifesto Charter 08, for which Dr. Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Teng has received various international human rights awards including the Human Rights Prize of the French Republic (2007).

Aysen CandasCivil and Political Rights Uninstalled: The Case of Turkey

Aysen Candas holds a PhD in Political Science from Columbia University. She was a full-time faculty member in Boğaziçi University’s Political Science and International Relations department, was prosecuted as a Peace Academic and resigned from her tenured position in May 2019. Also affiliated with Bogaziçi University’s European School of Politics, Social Policy Forum and various civil society organizations in Turkey, she has conducted research and published various articles on the trajectory of basic rights and democracy in Turkey, the impact of new laws and policies on equality and the liberties of various groups, shifts in the aims of social policy in Turkey, constitutional politics in Turkey, and the rights of women, and sexual, ethnic, and religious minorities of Turkey. She was a Visiting Professor at Yale University’s Department of Political Science (2017-2019) and Henry Hart Rice Fellow at the MacMillan Center of Yale University between 2017-2019. She is currently a Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Political Science at Yale University.

Kian TajbakhshAcademic Freedom under Electoral Authoritarianism: The Case of Iran

Kian Tajbakhsh is Senior Advisor to the Executive Vice President for Global Centers and Global Development at Columbia University. In this role, Dr. Tajbakhsh works on university-wide initiatives focused on global migration. He is also a Fellow with Columbia’s Committee on Global Thought where since 2016 he has taught the core course in the Global Thought MA program “Globalization and the Problems of World Order.” From 2016-2019 he was Professor of Urban Planning at Columbia. His research interests fall into two areas the comparative study of global urbanization with a focus on local democracy; he also studies international relations focusing on competing paradigms of world order. He is currently completing a book on local democracy and state building in modern Iran.

Generously supported by:

the Freedom Project and the Provost’s Office.