Suzanne Nossel is a leading voice on free expression issues in the U.S. and globally. She is CEO of PEN America, the leading human rights and free expression organization, and was previously chief operating officer of Human Rights Watch and executive director of Amnesty International USA. She is a veteran of both the Obama and Clinton administrations, most recently serving as deputy assistant secretary of state for international organizations under President Obama.
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“Nossel comes to PEN with deep experience in the public and private sectors and in the human rights arena. She most recently served as the Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, where she led a strategic reorganization to strengthen Amnesty’s external human rights impact and focus on building the next generation of human rights activists.”
Suzanne Nossel discusses trigger warnings, safe spaces, and free speech on campus.
At a forum on free speech at Binghamton University, Suzanne Nossel argues, “Isn’t the point of colleges and universities to encounter all kinds of people and opinions? You’re supposed to find your values tested and to get into some of the best intellectual arguments of your life.”
Suzanne Nossel argues, “If free speech protections come to be seen as ossified and irrelevant—or even inimical—to the concerns of a rising generation, core freedoms that have been vigilantly guarded throughout American history could be in peril.”
"...the dialogues, debates, and efforts at greater inclusion on many campuses have the potential to help root out entrenched biases that have impeded the participation of members of marginalized groups. These conversations and controversies can help unleash and amplify new voices that can enrich debates on campus and in wider society, expanding free speech for everyone’s benefit."
Suzanne Nossel argues, “Without free speech, the ‘safe spaces’ students crave will soon suffocate them.”
Suzanne Nossel argues, “It's also the case that First Amendment protections and freedom of speech have been essential to every single civil rights and social justice struggle that has been waged in this country, whether it's the battle for women's rights or rights for African-Americans or immigrants' rights.”
Suzanne Nossel argues, “There is no perfect paradigm, and some speech will inevitably defy categorization. But in a shrinking world where it is ever more important both to be able to speak freely and to appreciate the subjective impact of speech on others, the concept of hate speech is too malleable to be of help.”