Today, we are proud to announce that FIRE has received two prestigious awards for our work defending and advancing individual rights on campus. The Washington, D.C.-based Atlas Economic Research Foundation awarded FIRE’s Campus Freedom Network a Templeton Freedom Award for Student Outreach, and Boston’s Ford Hall Forum awarded FIRE the Louis P. and Evelyn Smith First Amendment Award.
The Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University is the nation’s oldest continuously operating free public lecture series. Its mission is to foster an informed and effective citizenry and to promote freedom of speech through the public presentation of lectures, debates, and discussions. Forum events seek to address important issues facing our society by organizing lectures by knowledgeable, thought-provoking, and often controversial thinkers and leaders. These speakers appear in person, for free to the general public, and in settings that facilitate frank and open debate. The Ford Hall Forum’s Louis P. and Evelyn Smith First Amendment Award was created in 1981 by the family of Louis P. and Evelyn Smith to honor individuals and organizations that demonstrate extraordinary commitment to promoting the thoughtful exercise of the right to freedom of expression.
FIRE received this distinction for our effective work defending liberty on campus. I will attend the award ceremony on March 18, 2010, at Suffolk University along with FIRE Co-founder and Board of Directors Chairman Harvey Silverglate and Harvard professor, bestselling author, and FIRE Board of Advisors member Steven Pinker. We will also join a panel to discuss FIRE’s work and contemporary issues affecting freedom of expression on campus.
The Templeton Freedom Award for Student Outreach was established in 2003 through funding from the John Templeton Foundation, founded by the late investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton. The Atlas Economic Research Foundation bestows the $10,000 annual award on two organizations that have worked successfully to advance the cause of liberty among young minds worldwide. This year, the CFN became only the second American organization to win the award.
Atlas describes the CFN as “a grassroots effort to educate students and make them active partners in restoring liberty to campus life and to create a nationwide network of student advocates.” The CFN received this distinction for the effectiveness of the CFN’s efforts to educate students and to reform America’s college and university campuses. The CFN accomplishes this task through the annual CFN student conference, action e-mail alerts to student members that engage them in fighting threats to liberty on campus, the CFN website featuring case studies of active students, tips on writing op-eds and hosting effective free speech events, and FIRE’s speakers program.
The CFN will receive the award at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation’s 2009 Freedom Dinner & Conference at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., on November 9, 2009. I will sit on a panel to discuss “Engaging the Next Generation in the Project of Advancing Liberty,” and FIRE Co-founder Alan Charles Kors will give the keynote address.
On the week we celebrate our 10th Anniversary, we are humbled and honored to receive these prestigious awards. We are grateful to both the Ford Hall Forum and to the Atlas Economic Research Foundation for their recognition and generosity.