Nadine Strossen and Jacob Mchangama join FIRE as Senior Fellows

August 17, 2022

As FIRE expands its mission to include off-campus free speech advocacy, we are excited to continue elevating principled thought-leaders and advocates of free expression to reach broader audiences and foster a culture that values our First Amendment rights. To that end, we’re honored to announce a fellowship program to partner with passionate and well-respected advocates of free expression. 

FIRE is pleased to welcome our inaugural Senior Fellows, Nadine Strossen and Jacob Mchangama, both leading experts on free expression and the First Amendment. We look forward to highlighting their writing, speaking, and other public advocacy in support of FIRE’s mission to protect the individual rights of all Americans.

Meet FIRE’s inaugural Senior Fellows

New York Law School Professor Emerita Nadine Strossen, formerly the national president of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1991 to 2008, is a leading expert and frequent commentator on constitutional law and civil liberties who has testified before Congress on multiple occasions. Named by the National Law Journal as one of America’s “100 most influential lawyers,” her most recent book is “HATE: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship.” 

“I am deeply honored to serve as a FIRE Senior Fellow,” said Strossen. “Having enthusiastically supported and worked closely with FIRE in various roles ever since its founding — most recently as an active member of its Board of Advisors — I am especially excited about FIRE’s recently expanded free expression mission, beyond its always-essential work on campus.” 

Jacob Mchangama is the founder and CEO of the Copenhagen-based think tank, Justitia. Jacob has written extensively on free speech including in The Economist, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy and The Wall Street Journal as well as in peer-reviewed journals. He is the producer and narrator of the podcast “Clear and Present Danger: A History of Free Speech” and the author of the critically acclaimed book “Free Speech: A History From Socrates to Social Media” published by Basic Books in 2022.

“FIRE’s expanded mission of fostering a vibrant culture of free speech both on and off campus is a vital step in reversing the [free speech] recession and I’m thrilled and honored to be able to contribute.” said Mchangama.

Regarding the new Senior Fellows, FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff said, “I am beyond thrilled to be adding Jacob and Nadine to our senior fellow program. Nadine has been a hero of mine since before law school. Jacob is one of the most compelling free-speech advocates and thinkers alive today. I hope to continue the fellowship program for years to come, but it’s already getting off to a spectacular start.” 

Adding distinguished Senior Fellows allows FIRE to grow our roster of in-house experts on the First Amendment and free speech. Our Senior Fellows’ combined track record of conducting research, writing for the public, and leading organizations devoted to civil liberties will serve FIRE well in its mission to protect every American’s individual right to free expression. Additionally, their writing, speaking, and advocacy will serve the public by expanding its comprehension of the values undergirding free expression and by serving as exemplary models of free expression in practice.

Mchangama, who previously collaborated with FIRE on the Free Speech History podcast, is also excited to return to FIRE.

“After decades of progress a free speech recession is sweeping across the globe, and not even open democracies in Western Europe or the U.S. are immune to this development that threatens essential values such as democracy, equality and freedom,” said the Copenhagen-based author and researcher

Having served as a member of FIRE’s Board of Advisors, Strossen is intimately familiar with FIRE’s mission and the importance of our work in the face of unprecedented challenges to free speech.

“FIRE is a supremely successful advocate for the classical liberal free speech ideals that have been under siege from all across the ideological spectrum,” Strossen said. “Unlike too many who only defend free speech in a result-oriented fashion, FIRE consistently champions freedom of speech not only for me, but also for thee. This approach is the only one that is principled; it is also the only one that is effective.”

We are grateful to our Senior Fellows for the work they have already done to promote and protect individual rights and for the work that they continue to do every day to advance free expression. Their willingness to take a stand with FIRE in defense of these values and the work they will accomplish as Fellows will surely equip us — and the American public — to better understand, value, and protect free speech.