FIRE’s Advisory Council

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Karith FosterKarith Foster

Best known for her stand up comedy, TEDx talk, and television and radio appearances, Karith Foster is a Diversity Engagement Specialist with the Foster Russell Family Foundation. “If you can laugh at it you can get through it” is both Karith’s motto and the lesson she seeks to instill in others. Her signature programs Stereotyped 101,™ You Are E.N.O.U.G.H,™ The Humor Initiative,™ and Can We Speak Freely?™ are impacting lives at academic institutions, organizations and corporations across America. Karith founded the Foster Russell Family Foundation to inspire free speech, social change and empowerment, and to make a difference through education and mentorship at a time when humor, understanding, and respect are in short supply.

Karith is an alumna of Stephens College (Missouri) and Oxford University.

Kmele FosterKmele Foster

Kmele Foster is a partner at Freethink, a digital media company focused on the people and ideas changing our world. Freethink’s original series explore the intersection of culture and revolution (Pop Revolution), fractious political debates (“Crossing the Divide”), and the innovations reshaping entire industries (“Challengers”). Kmele is a regular contributor to various national media programs and co-hosts a syndicated media commentary podcast, The Fifth Column. In addition to his work in media, Kmele has previously co-founded ventures in technology, communications, and consumer goods.


Ira GlasserIra Glasser

Mr. Glasser served as Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1978- 2001. Previously, he was Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Prior to his affiliation with the ACLU, Mr. Glasser was a mathematician and a member of the science and mathematics faculties of Queens College and Sarah Lawrence College, and was also editor of Current magazine. Mr. Glasser authored the book, Visions of Liberty: The Bill of Rights for All Americans, an insightful analysis of how our rights developed, written to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Bill of Rights. Mr. Glasser is a widely published essayist on civil liberties principles and issues. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, Harper’s, The New Republic, The Nation, and Christianity and Crisis, among other publications. He is also the co-author of Doing Good: The Limits of Benevolence.

Mr. Glasser received a B.S. degree in mathematics and graduated with honors in literature and the arts from Queens College in 1959. He has a master’s degree in mathematics from Ohio State University and also studied sociology and philosophy at the graduate level at the New School for Social Research. Born and raised in New York, Mr. Glasser is married, the father of four children, and the grandfather of ten.


Wendy KaminerWendy Kaminer

Wendy Kaminer, a lawyer and social critic, writes about law, liberty, feminism, religion, criminal justice and popular culture. A former Guggenheim fellow, Visiting Scholar and Public Policy Fellow at Radcliffe College, and recipient of the Smith College Medal, she is the author of eight books, including WORST INSTINCTS: Cowardice, Conformity and the ACLU; FREE FOR ALL: Defending Liberty in America Today; and I’M DYSFUNCTIONAL, YOU’RE DYSFUNCTIONAL: The Recovery Movement & Other Self-Help Fashions. Her articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications including, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, The American Prospect, Free Inquiry, and Her commentaries have aired on National Public Radio.

Before embarking on her writing career, Wendy briefly practiced law, for the New York Legal Aid Society and the New York City Mayor’s Office. She has served on the national board of the American Civil Liberties Union as well as the board of the Massachusetts ACLU, and is a former chair of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. She is currently a member of the Massachusetts State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and the advisory board of the Secular Coalition for America.


Peter MalkinPeter Malkin

Peter L. Malkin is Chairman Emeritus of Empire State Realty Trust. In 1958 he joined Lawrence A. Wien and together they led the ownership  and operation of properties in 6 states, including the Empire State Building and several other major office buildings in New York City. He is the founding chair of The Grand Central Partnership, the 34th Street Partnership and the Fashion Center, not-for profit Business Improvement Districts that provide supplemental services, including public safety, sanitation, and streetscape enhancements to midtown Manhattan, and founder of The Merritt Parkway Conservancy and the Urban League of Fairfield County, CT. Malkin is also Co-Chairman of the Emeritus Board of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (having been the longest serving board member of that institution), Chairman of the Dean’s Council of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Co-Chair Emeritus of the Real Estate Council of the Metropolitan Museum of New York, co-founder with Paul Newman and Co-Chair Emeritus of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, a Director Emeritus of U.S. Trust Corporation, a Trustee Emeritus of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a member of the Advisory Committee of the Greenwich Japanese School, a partner in the New York City Partnership and Chamber of Commerce and a director of the Realty Foundation of New York. Peter L. Malkin received a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Harvard College and a law degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.


Jacob MchangamaJacob Mchangama

Jacob is the director of Justitia, a Danish judicial think tank devoted to human rights, fundamental freedom rights, and the rule of law. Prior to his work at Justicia, Jacob served as the director of legal affairs at the Center for Political Studies, where he focused on advocacy and academic research in the fields of human rights with a specific focus on freedom of expression. He is also an external lecturer in international human rights law at the University of Copenhagen. He has published numerous articles in academic journals as well as in international newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal Europe, Globe and Mail, National Review, Reason, The Australian, South China Morning Post, Jerusalem Post, Hürriet Daily News, Voice of Russia, China Post, and Daily News (Egypt).  His work has been mentioned in international media including The Economist, Courrier International and He is a frequent commentator for Danish TV and radio.  In 2010 he was voted the most influential Danish public intellectual under the age of 40 by Danish newspaper Politiken.


John McWhorter John McWhorter

John McWhorter is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, teaching linguistics, Western Civilization and music history. He is a regular columnist on language matters and also race issues for Time and CNN, also writes on language for the Atlantic, and hosts the Lexicon Valley podcast at Slate. His work has also appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Chronicle of Higher Education, The American Interest, and other outlets. He was Contributing Editor at The New Republic from 2001 until 2014.

He earned his PhD in linguistics from Stanford University in 1993 and is the author of The Power of Babel, Doing Our Own Thing, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, The Language Hoax, and most recently Words on the Move and Talking Back, Talking Black. The Teaching Company has released four of his audiovisual lecture courses on linguistics. He spoke at the TED conference in 2013 and 2016.

Beyond his work in linguistics, he is the author of Losing the Race and other books on race. He has appeared regularly on Bloggingheads.TV since 2006, and produces and plays piano for a group cabaret show, New Faces, at the Cornelia Street Cafe in New York City.


Muriel MoriseyMuriel Morisey

Muriel Morisey is Associate Professor of Law, Emerita, at the Beasley School of Law at Temple University. Professor Morisey has also served as Legislative Counsel of the ACLU and at the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. While earning her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, Professor Morisey held senior staff positions with then-United States Representatives Walter Fauntroy and the late Shirley Chisholm. Professor Morisey also served on the staff of the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment investigation of President Richard Nixon. Professor Morisey has been extensively involved in the work of educational and other nonprofit organizations throughout her career. She has served on the National Board of the American Civil Liberties Union and the boards of the ACLU Philadelphia Chapter, the Pennsylvania affiliate, and the Massachusetts affiliate. Professor Morisey is also a former Trustee of Radcliffe College (her alma mater) and, prior to joining the Temple Law faculty, she was a member of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education faculty and Director of Policy Analysis in the University’s Office of Government, Community and Public Affairs.


Steven PinkerSteven Pinker

Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist and one of the world’s foremost writers on language, mind, and human nature. Currently Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, Pinker has also taught at Stanford and MIT. His research on vision, language, and social relations has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the American Psychological Association. He has also received eight honorary doctorates, several teaching awards at MIT and Harvard, and numerous prizes for his books The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, and The Better Angels of Our Nature. He is Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and often writes for The New York Times, Time, and other publications. He has been named Humanist of the Year, Prospect magazine’s “The World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals,” Foreign Policy’s “100 Global Thinkers,” and Time magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People in the World Today.”


Steven ShapiroSteven Shapiro

Steven Shapiro is currently Portfolio Manager at Intrepid Family Office LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut. He previously founded and managed a $2 Billion technology-oriented hedge fund. Prior to that he served in a variety of finance positions including Tiger Management LLC in New York City and Fidelity Investments in Boston.

He earned his MBA from the Wharton School of Business and his BA in Political Science and Economics from Oberlin College. He also served on the Board of Directors at Oberlin from 2007 to 2013.

In his free time, Steven serves on the Board and Executive Committee of the Bronx Museum of the Arts.


Nadine StrossenNadine Strossen

Nadine Strossen, John Marshall Harlan Professor of Law at New York Law School, has written, taught, and advocated extensively in the areas of constitutional law, civil liberties and international human rights, and has served on the Board and Executive Committee of Human Rights Watch. She is the immediate past President of the American Civil Liberties Union (1991-2008), and now serves on the ACLU’s National Advisory Council, as well as the National Advisory Board of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. When Strossen stepped down as ACLU President, three Supreme Court Justices (Ginsburg, Scalia, and Souter) participated in her farewell/tribute event.

The National Law Journal has named her one of America’s “100 Most Influential Lawyers,” and several other national publications have named her as one of the country’s most influential women. Strossen has made thousands of public presentations before diverse audiences, including on more than 500 campuses and in many foreign countries.  Her 1995 book, Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights (Scribner) was named a New York Times “notable book” of that year. In 2018, Oxford University Press will publish her forthcoming book, HATE: Fighting it With Free Speech, Not Censorship.


Lawrence SummersLawrence Summers

Lawrence H. Summers is the Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus of Harvard University. During the past two decades, he has served in a series of senior policy positions in Washington, D.C., including the 71st Secretary of the Treasury for President Clinton, Director of the National Economic Council for President Obama and Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist of the World Bank.

He received a bachelor of science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975 and was awarded a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1982. In 1983, he became one of the youngest individuals in recent history to be named as a tenured member of the Harvard University faculty. In 1987, Mr. Summers became the first social scientist ever to receive the annual Alan T. Waterman Award of the National Science Foundation (NSF), and in 1993 he was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, given every two years to the outstanding American economist under the age of 40.

He is currently the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University and the Weil Director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government at Harvard’s Kennedy School. He and his wife Elisa New, a professor of English at Harvard, reside in Brookline with their six children.