FIRE’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

Join us in New York City on Thursday, October 24, 2019 to celebrate 20 years of FIRE.

Twenty years ago, Harvey Silverglate and Alan Charles Kors opened up the doors to a small nonprofit in Philadelphia to answer calls for help from students and professors facing violations of their individual rights. Now, 20 years later, FIRE is the leading authority on campus civil liberties, having helped millions of students defend and enjoy their rights. With each day, FIRE’s voice grows and its reputation becomes stronger. This is a testament to all the people who have supported our work throughout the years. And it is those people who we want to celebrate with us in October.

Please join us on October 24, 2019 for a fun, thought-provoking, and celebratory evening with your favorite free speech friends. Don’t forget, this is not an annual event, so don’t miss out!


When: Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 6:30 pm ET
Where: Mandarin Oriental, Columbus Circle, New York City
Dress: Black Tie Optional

Sponsorships and Tickets

Learn more about all the sponsorship and ticket levels. To purchase an event sponsorship or individual tickets to attend the event, click the button below or give us a call at 215-717-3473. Please contact if you have any questions.

Speakers and Program

Salman Rushdie Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan www.beowulfsheehan.comSalman Rushdie Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan
Salman Rushdie

Sir Salman Rushdie is one of the most celebrated authors of our time—of any time. A brilliant provocateur, he’s penned a handful of classic novels, influenced a generation of writers, and received a Queen’s Knighthood for his “services to literature.” He stands as both a pop culture icon and one of the most thought-provoking proponents for free speech today.

Sir Salman Rushdie’s novels, greeted always with anticipation and acclaim, include The Satanic Verses, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet and 2008’s The Enchantress of Florence. For his masterwork of magic realism, Midnight’s Children, he won the prestigious Booker Prize, and later, the Best of the Booker. The novel has since been adapted to film by the Academy Award-nominated director, Deepa Mehta, and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. He is also the author of bestselling memoir Joseph Anton. Sir Salman Rushdie’s Luka and the Fire of Life is a children’s novel and a companion to Haroun and the Sea of Stories. His latest novels are Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, which was a New York Times besteller, and most recently The Golden House, a novel that “depicts Obama and Trump’s US” (The Guardian).

An eclectic writer and noted public intellectual, Rushdie has won many of the world’s top literary prizes, published a heralded collection of essays, Step Across the Line, written a book on The Wizard of Oz, and served for two years as president of The PEN American Center, the world’s oldest human rights organization.

Jonathan RauchJonathan Rauch
Jonathan Rauch
Introduction to Keynote

Jonathan Rauch is author and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.

Jonathan is a champion of Rushdie’s work. He has authored seven books and many articles on public policy, culture, and government. His 1993 book Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought (published by the University of Chicago Press; expanded in 2013) defends free speech and robust criticism, even when it is racist or sexist. He is a contributing editor of The Atlantic and recipient of the 2005 National Magazine Award, the magazine industry’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. His latest book is “The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50.”

Karith FosterKarith Foster
Karith 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.

Hotel Information

We have a room block available at the Empire Hotel for October 24th at a rate of $329.00+tax. This room block will close September 23rd. Book your room at the Empire Hotel.

There is also a room block available at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel for October 24th at a rate of $299+tax. This room block will close on October 3rd, 2019. Book your room at the Sheraton Here.

Empire Hotel
44 West 63rd Street
New York, NY 10023
(212) 265 7400