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FIRE is bringing together the next generation of free speech leaders

Spark your mind, ignite new possibilities at FIRE’s Free Speech Leadership Summit for high schoolers
"FIRE Free Speech Leadership Summit Launch" surrounded by speech bubbles

The state of free speech on college campuses leaves much to be desired. FIRE’s 2024 College Free Speech Rankings showed that:

  • More than half of students worry about damaging their reputation because of someone misunderstanding what they have said or done.
  • More than 40% of students said that blocking other students from attending a speech is acceptable to some degree.
  • And more than 25% of students said that using violence to stop a campus speech is acceptable to some degree.

What if we could prepare students to be steadfast defenders of free speech before they even set foot on a college campus? What if we had hundreds of college-bound students across the country ready to make real change on campus and inspire others to do the same?

FIRE’s Free Speech Leadership Summit will make this a reality.

To do this right, we’re partnering with Junior State of America, a student-led organization that prepares a diverse community of high school students to participate effectively in our democracy. JSA offers hands-on civic programs designed to activate the talents of young people, instill values of respect and understanding, and inspire them to be a new generation of American leaders.

“JSA is excited to partner with FIRE for the inaugural Free Speech Leadership Summit. It is a testament to our role in building a better, stronger, and freer democracy for all. Both JSA’s and FIRE’s commitment to teaching the foundation of a free people and a free society make this partnership a natural fit.”

– Jodi Wiseley, Chief Executive Officer, Junior State of America

Students will spend a week exploring all things free speech through captivating presentations, collaborative projects, and creative activities. FIRE’s expert staff will guide students as they learn what free speech is, why it’s important, and how it empowers all of us to solve real-world problems and achieve our full potential. Students will leave the summit ready to become leaders who advocate for free speech in their communities — and, when they arrive at college, on their campuses.

The summit will host up to 300 students at Temple University from June 23-29. Students will enjoy a fully immersive experience, staying on campus, including overnight, for the entire week. Screened and trained resident advisors will be on site at all times to supervise attendees and ensure they have a safe and positive experience.

Eligibility: The summit is open to college-bound students attending high school in the U.S. who are enrolled in 8th through 11th grade at the time they submit their application. Students must be able to attend the entirety of the program.

Cost: Registration is free! Students will be responsible for their own travel arrangements to and from Philadelphia, but transportation to and from Temple University via the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) or the 30th Street Train Station will be provided at no charge.

Scholarships: A limited number of need-based scholarships are available to help students with their travel costs to and from Philadelphia. Students will be notified about the scholarship application process after they are accepted into the program.

Applications are now open!

Email with any questions.

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