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Global Freedom of Expression

Cornell University is engaged in a yearlong exploration of freedom of expression. The Indispensable Condition: Freedom of Expression at Cornell theme has particular significance for international research and teaching and for members of Cornell’s international community.

This year, Global Cornell will host events and discussions dedicated to exploring critical issues related to free expression, academic freedom, scholarship, and global collaboration. We hope you will join us for these important conversations.

Important Conversations


Ethical International Engagement: The Role of the University

In October, Allan Goodman, CEO of the Institute of International Education, joined Vice Provost Wendy Wolford and an expert panel to discuss how universities can provide safe haven for displaced scholars and act to promote scholarship, free expression, and global collaboration.

During his visit, Goodman presented IIE's Centennial Medal to Cornell for its work supporting international scholars. Read about the award.

Global Freedom of Expression in the News

A panel of speaker sit at a liong table on a raised stage in front of an audience.

Law Immigration Panel Asks, Who Has the Right to Free Speech?

The ACLU's Cecillia Wang was part of a panel discussion on free speech within the context of immigration, emphasizing fair application of First Amendment rights.

Panel sitting in front of audience.

For Threatened Artists, Free Expression is Political and Personal

Artists from Nicaragua and Afghanistan kicked off Global Cornell’s contribution to this year’s campuswide freedom of expression theme. Watch the event video.

Defying the Odds

To mark the freedom of expression theme year, Global Cornell presents a three-part series profiling the challenges and successes of Cornell’s scholars under threat alumni, written by Afghan journalist Fatima Faizi.

Painting of a woman wearing a hijab with bright eyes.

Elja Sharifi’s Voice for the Powerless

Afghan visual artist and scholar Sharifa “Elja” Sharifi fled Afghanistan in September 2021, a month after the Taliban seized control. She found a new beginning at Cornell's Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, where she has been able to continue her work over the past two years.

Molina drawing Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.

Pedro X. Molina’s Delicate Achievement

Cartoonist Pedro X. Molina, currently a visiting critic in the Einaudi Center, challenges Nicaragua’s dictatorship with a daily cartoon. In 2023, he was honored with the Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent.

Azat Gündoğan speaks with an audience member after the panel session.

Azat Gündoğan’s Journey to FSU

After his family was forced to flee a government crackdown in Turkey, Florida State University sociologist Azat Gündoğan found a "lifeline" at Cornell as an IIE-SRC fellow.

Student Voices

Alisa Orlova headshot

Freedom of expression is being yourself, your vision, or your choice. It means giving a chance to create and shape the reality as you want it, as you feel it. It makes humans different yet unites [us] all together.

— Alisa Orlova
Nolan School of Hospitality Administration
Erianti Rusydina Edward

[Freedom of Expression] means we can speak our minds freely. Everyone can have an equal chance to speak out without being afraid of suppression, threat, or sanction.

— Erianti Rusydina Edward
MBA, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
Sascha Palmer

As someone with a background different from the average American, [freedom of expression] allows me to articulate alternative viewpoints, and I'm grateful for the open-mindedness of the Cornell community.

— Sascha Palmer
University of Sydney
Gustav Nielsen headshot

To me, freedom of expression is the universal right to express one's opinions and thoughts while respecting others. This means that I can say and think whatever I want without having to worry about punishment. However, with the power of free speech comes great responsibility. We should therefore be aware of what we say and how it might affect both ourselves and others.

— Gustav Nielsen
Operations Research and Information Engineering

Recent Events

Full listing

5:30 pm, Mann Library, 102
Join the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies's Global Public Voices fellows for a roundtable discussion exploring global free speech as part of Cornell's freedom of expression theme year.
5:00 pm, Physical Sciences Building, 120
Institute for European Studies Luigi Einaudi Distinguished Lecture
4:00 pm, Mann Library, 112, CALS Zone
Join the inaugural cohort of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies's undergraduate global scholars for a showcase of their capstone presentations exploring global free speech as part of Cornell's freedom of expression theme…
4:30 pm, Biotechnology Building, G10
Governments engage in transnational repression when they reach across borders to silence dissidents living abroad.
7:00 pm, Willard Straight Theatre
"In September 2018, Dr. Gulshan Abbas, sister of Rushan Abbas, was abducted by Chinese authorities shortly after Rushan's speech condemning the Uyghur genocide.

Student Diana Ayubi sits with her internship mentor reviewing documents.

Scholars Under Threat 

Discover how Global Cornell supports international scholars, students, critics, artists, and journalists whose work puts them at risk in their home countries. We offer refuge and resources by creating space for free expression and scholarship. Learn more about Supporting Scholars Under Threat.