[VIRTUAL] Free Speech Live!: A Conversation with Laurence H. Tribe for World Press Freedom Day
An online forum hosted by PEN America as part of our biweekly student-centered evening workshop series, Free Speech Live!
World Press Freedom Day was established by the United Nations in 1993 to celebrate the work of journalists and the fundamental right to information. This year, the theme of this special day is “Information as a Public Good,” centering international attention around the changing media landscape and its impact on democracy. Harvard Law Professor and constitutional scholar Laurence H. Tribe knows the nuances of these democratic challenges well, having authored 115 books and articles; assisted in writing the constitutions of South Africa, the Czech Republic, and the Marshall Islands; and argued 35 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Join PEN America and Teens for Press Freedom for this online forum featuring a brief presentation, discussion, and expert-facilitated Q&A session with Tribe to discuss the challenges and threats to international press freedom today, and what young people can do to help address them. High school and college alumni of PEN America’s youth programs, members of Teens for Press Freedom, and other students are welcome to join.
Laurence H. Tribe, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard University, has taught at Harvard Law School since 1968 and was voted the best professor by the graduating class of 2000. The title “University Professor” is Harvard’s highest academic honor, awarded to just a handful of professors at any given time and to just 68 professors in all of Harvard University’s history.
Born in China to Russian Jewish parents, Tribe entered Harvard in 1958 at 16; graduated summa cum laude in mathematics (1962) and magna cum laude in law (1966); clerked for the California and U.S. Supreme Courts (1966–68); received tenure at 30; was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences at 38 and to the American Philosophical Society in 2010; helped write the constitutions of South Africa, the Czech Republic, and the Marshall Islands; has received 11 honorary degrees, most recently a degree honoris causa from the government of Mexico in March 2011 that was never before awarded to an American and an honorary D. Litt. From Columbia University; has prevailed in three-fifths of the many appellate cases he has argued (including 35 in the U.S. Supreme Court); was appointed in 2010 by President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to serve as the first senior counselor for Access to Justice; and has written 115 books and articles, including his treatise, American Constitutional Law, cited more than any other legal text since 1950.
Former Solicitor General Erwin Griswold wrote: “[N]o book, and no lawyer not on the [Supreme] Court, has ever had a greater influence on the development of American constitutional law,” and the Northwestern University Law Review opined that no one else “in American history has. . . simultaneously achieved Tribe’s preeminence. . . as a practitioner and. . . scholar of constitutional law.”
Nicholas “Niko” Perez is the manager of free expression and education at PEN America. Perez co-directs the Free Speech Advocacy Institute and hosts Free Speech Live!, a biweekly series of youth-oriented discussions focusing on contemporary issues related to free speech, open exchange, human rights, and democracy. Perez previously worked for the Columbia University Human Rights Advocates Program and consulted for the Human Rights Education and Training section at the United Nations. He holds a master’s degree from Columbia University in human rights and humanitarian policy and a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in international politics. He also was a Global Leadership Fellow at Waseda University in Japan, a Model United Nations advisor at Mira Costa High School, and a forensics researcher for the Yahad-in Unum genocide research agency.
Charlotte Hampton is a junior at the High School of American Studies at Lehman College and a cofounder of Teens for Press Freedom. She is a dancer in the Alvin Ailey Junior Division, where she studies Limon, Horton, Ballet, and Contemporary. Hampton writes for her school newspaper, Common Sense, as editorial head and is on the Economics Team, Debate Team, and Model UN. She loves to read.
Isabel Tribe is a junior at the High School of American Studies at Lehman College and cofounder of Teens for Press Freedom. This fall, Tribe attended the Mountain School of Milton Academy, a semester school where she worked on a farm and studied environmental science. She studies law and justice at New York University’s High School Law Institute and was an intern for The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. As a member of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Youth Insights Artists program, she loves making and engaging with the arts. She runs cross country and track and field. She loves to read.
About Teens for Press Freedom
Teens for Press Freedom (TPF) is a national, youth-led organization dedicated to defending journalists and promoting factual literacy among youth. With increasing distrust in credible sources and an influx of fake news on social media, it’s crucial to educate young people on how to be smart, active consumers. TPF was founded in 2020 after cofounders Charlotte Hampton and Isabel Tribe attended the PEN America Summer Free Speech Advocacy Institute. TPF holds weekly open forum workshops to discuss press freedom issues and releases a weekly news blast to connect youth with accessible, verifiable information. TPF also advocates for the passage of legislation aimed at reviving local news and protecting the free press in America. Check out their website, subscribe to their newsletter, and follow them on Instagram at @teensforpressfreedom and on Twitter at @teensforpress.