August/September 2023 Newsletter: Standing up to cancel culture with Greg Lukianoff and inspiring the next generation

July 4 2023

Dear Friend,

A few days ago marked the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and last month marked the first anniversary of the attack on Salman Rushdie. These two anniversaries are a reminder of how vital it is that we protect Western values and ideals, especially free speech, whenever and however they come under attack. This is at the heart of AHA Foundation’s work.

One of the most concerning threats to free speech today comes from cancel culture. In the third webinar in The Ayaan Hirsi Ali Dialogues series, I’ll be speaking with my friend Greg Lukianoff, renowned free speech champion and president of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), about cancel culture and how to stand up to it, inspired by his new book (co-authored with Rikki Schlott) The Canceling of the American Mind.

I’m so excited to be tackling this issue with Greg and I hope you can come along and join in the discussion. The webinar takes place on September 18 at 11:00 am EDT and you can register for it and submit your questions here.

Even if you can’t make it, do still sign up to receive a recording of the webinar and for future updates about the series. Meanwhile, an interview with Greg is featured in this month’s blog. It makes for essential reading before the webinar. You can read it here.

Protecting free speech for future generations means that we must encourage the young to take a stand in its defense. That’s why I am proud of AHA’s campus program, the Critical Thinking Fellowship (CTF), which inspires young people across the nation to defend free speech and free inquiry against illiberal orthodoxies of all kinds.

On September 26 at 10:00 am EDT, I am going to be interviewed by Widener Norris, one of our campus fellows, who earlier this year hosted Nadine Strossen for a truly enlightening CTF event about free speech.

Widener and I will discuss human rights, liberalism, and free speech on campus, and I will take questions submitted from Widener’s fellow students. I cannot wait to meet with Widener and other young people—not only to share my thoughts with them but to learn from their insights in return. You can register for the upcoming webinar and submit your questions here and watch Widener’s interview with Nadine Strossen here.

Upholding Western freedoms and ideals is as difficult as it is vital. It cannot be done without strong and capable people and it cannot be done alone. That’s why I’m so thankful to work with so many great people, and I would like to welcome one of the newest members of the AHA team.

Susanna McIntyre joined us last month as our new Development Associate. A longtime supporter, she truly embodies AHA’s values. You can find out more about her, and read a special message from her, in our second blog interview this month. Read it here.

In other news, we have just published a new legal guide for survivors of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the state of Washington wishing to seek legal remedy. Read it here and find out more about the guides, including what guides we have available for other states, here.

As AHA moves forward in its mission, I just want to take a moment to thank you, our readers and supporters, without whom none of our work would be possible.

The road ahead will be a difficult one. There will be more dark days like the two anniversaries I mentioned above. But together, we can make sure that lightness ultimately prevails. Thank you.






Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Founder