Keynote speaker: Suzanne Nossel Panel
With Caroline Fourest, Philippe Lançon, and moderator Emily Hamilton
What does religious freedom mean in the public sphere? The French concept of laïcité, the result of a long historical struggle of the Republic against the power of the Church, has no equivalent in the US. Many Americans even consider it liberticidal for its apparent limitations on religious practice and observance. Are these concerns valid or a misconstruction? Is there still support for free speech when it comes to religion?
Suzanne Nossel is a human rights advocate, former government official, currently Chief Executive Officer at PEN America and author of Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All (Harper Collins, 2020)
Philippe Lançon is a writer and French journalist who writes for Libération and Charlie Hebdo. Seriously wounded in the January 2015 terrorist attack perpetrated against the publication, his memoir, Disturbance was published by Europa in 2019. He is the author of L'Élan (Gallimard 2013), Le Lambeau (Gallimard 2018, Fémina prize, translated into English Disturbance), Chroniques de l'homme d'avant (Les Échappés, 2019).
Caroline Fourest is a French filmmaker, a writer and a journalist. She has authored numerous essays and books, including Éloge du blasphème (Grasset 2015), Le Génie de la laïcité : La laïcité n'est pas un glaive mais un bouclier (Grasset 2016), and most recently Génération Offensée: De la police de la culture à la police de la pensée. She is the director of the internationally acclaimed feature length film, Soeurs d’Armes, about a group of Kurdish and Yezidi women fighters who take on ISIS. She worked at Charlie Hebdo from 2005–2009 and is currently columnist for the weekly Paris-based magazine, Marianne.
Emily Hamilton is Executive Director of Justice for Kurds, a non-profit organization which raises awareness for the Kurdish cause in the United States, in France and abroad. She is the US-based agent and producer for French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy and a contributor to La Règle du Jeu journal. Emily was previously the Director of Development and Communications at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York.