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PEN America’s Free Expression Advocacy Institutes are our signature educational and training programs designed to provide students with innovative opportunities to learn about and take action on free expression issues in the United States and worldwide.

Upcoming Programs

PEN America offers online Institute programs year-round as well as in-person Institutes during the summer. For students interested in an introduction to free expression issues, our title program—PEN America’s Free Expression Advocacy Institute—covers a wide range of topics related to the First Amendment, human rights, the internet, and journalism. PEN America also offers more advanced and specialized Institutes like our Global Free Expression Advocacy and Global Press Freedom Advocacy Institutes for students to continue their skills development in particular focus areas. 

*PEN America offers financial aid and tuition waivers for any student that expresses need.

Summer 2023 Free Expression Advocacy Institute - Summer 2023 - NYC

Free Expression Advocacy Institute – Summer 2023 – New York City

PEN America’s summer 2023 Free Expression Advocacy Institute in New York City is an intensive, in-person, week-long, educational and training program where high school students can learn the theories, laws, histories, and methodologies behind free expression advocacy. Our program includes presentations led by expert legal and policy practitioners from PEN America, interactive workshops designed to teach tangible skills, and TA-facilitated discussion sessions and activities to dive deeper into the issues with their peers.

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Free Expression Advocacy Institute – Summer 2023 – Los Angeles

PEN America’s summer 2023 Free Expression Advocacy Institute in Los Angeles is an intensive, in-person, week-long, educational and training program where high school and college students can learn the theories, laws, histories, and methodologies behind free expression advocacy. Our program includes presentations led by expert legal and policy practitioners from PEN America, interactive workshops designed to teach tangible skills, and TA-facilitated discussion sessions and activities to dive deeper into the issues with their peers.

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Freedom To Read Institute Spring 2023 (450 × 350 Px)

PEN America's Spring 2023 Online Freedom to Read Advocacy Institute

PEN America and Brooklyn Public Library are teaming up to co-host the first-ever Freedom to Read Advocacy Institute for the spring 2023 semester! This online, four-week educational and training program for high school students will prepare and certify the next generation of free expression advocates to combat book banning and fight for the freedom to read in their schools, libraries, and communities across the country.

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Institute Logo - Spring 2023

PEN America's Spring 2023 Online Free Expression Advocacy Institute

PEN America’s spring 2023 Free Expression Advocacy Institute is an intensive, online, eight-week, educational and training program where high school and college students can learn the theories, laws, histories, and methodologies behind free expression advocacy. The final deadline to have your application considered is Thursday, December 15 at 11:59 p.m E.T.

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free expression advocacy institute fall 2022

PEN America’s Fall 2022 Online Free Expression Advocacy Institute

Wednesdays, September 28 – November 16, 2022
4:15 pm – 6:30pm ET

PEN America’s fall 2022 Free Expression Advocacy Institute is an intensive, online, eight-week, educational and training program where high school and college students can learn the theories, laws, histories, and methodologies behind free expression advocacy.

The application window for this program has closed.

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PEN America’s Summer 2022 Free Expression Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C.

Monday-Friday, August 1-5, 2022
9:00am–4:30pm ET

Our signature certification program for high school and college students offered in person, in a five-day, intensive program with activities and field trips. 

The application window for this program has closed.

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PEN America’s Summer 2022 Free Expression Advocacy Institute in New York City

Monday-Friday, July 11–15, 2022
9:00am–4:30pm ET

Our signature certification program for high school and college students offered in person, in a five-day, intensive program with activities and field trips.

The application window for this program has closed.

Global Press Freedom Advocacy Institute

PEN America and the Student Press Law Center's Global Press Freedom Advocacy Institute

Tuesdays, April 6–May 10, 2022
6:15pm–8:30pm ET

Our debut online program with a focus on issues related to student journalism and press freedom in the United States and around the world.

The application window for this program has closed.

Hanging Freedom To Write Signs Photo Credit Aslan Chalom

PEN America’s Spring 2022 Free Speech Advocacy Institute

Thursdays, February 3–May 12, 2022
4:15pm–6:30pm ET

Our online signature certification program for high school and college students to learn about professional free expression advocacy.

The application window for this program has closed.

Past Special Guests

Solomon Collins Nkulinga

Solomon Collins Nkulinga

Together for Inclusion Program Assistant, National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU)
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Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen

Journalist, Author, and Vice President, PEN America
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David Kaye

David Kaye

Director, International Justice Clinic, UC Irvine, and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
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Mai Khoi

Mai Khoi

Vietnamese Artist and Activist
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Greg Pardlo

Greg Pardlo

Poet, Writer, and Professor
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Gisela Perez de Acha

Gisela Perez de Acha

Investigative Reporter and Digital Security Trainer, PEN America
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Ahmed Naji

Ahmed Naji

Egyptian Novelist and Journalist
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Rikki Nathanson

Rikki Nathanson

Senior Advisor, Global Trans Program, OutRight Action International
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Opportunities for Institute Graduates

PEN America’s Institute graduates are invited to apply to our paid Free Expression Leadership Fellows Programs offered during the spring, summer, and fall semesters. These specialized mentorship programs are opportunities for college students to join cohorts of student leaders to catalyze and amplify PEN America’s work with young people.

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PEN America's National Free Expression Essay Competition

High school and college students are invited to write essays about what the right of freedom of expression means to them. The submission deadline for this competition has passed. 

MEET THE 2022 WINNERS

 

 

 

Person Using Laptop Christin Hume Unsplash

PEN America’s Summer 2022 Free Expression Leadership Fellows Program

Applications Closed

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PEN America’s Spring 2022 Free Expression Leadership Fellows Program

Applications Closed

Join Our Student Advocacy Community!

PEN America is committed to empowering a new generation of free expression advocates and building a youth advocacy network that can work together to facilitate positive change. We regularly invite students to support and engage in our national and international advocacy efforts, and actively seek ways to amplify and encourage students’ own free expression advocacy projects.

Our Sponsors

"Knight Foundation"       John Templeton Foundation logo

The Margaret and Daniel Loeb Foundation logo