New Haven, Connecticut
March 26, 2015
CFF at Yale University featured four inspiring talks by human rights defenders from around the globe, followed by an interactive Q&A with the audience.
Iranian former political prisoner Marina Nemat shared her moving personal story about her journey to freedom. After being sent to jail at 16 for criticizing the brutal regime of Ayatollah Khomeini, she spent two years in the notorious Evin Prison where she was interrogated, tortured, threatened with execution, raped, and ultimately forced to marry her captor. Nemat is the author of the best selling memoirs: Prisoner of Tehran: One Woman’s Story of Survival Inside an Iranian Prison and After Tehran: A Life Reclaimed.
North Korean defector Yeonmi Park shared her story of living in one of the world’s most repressive regimes and how outside media and information is transforming life in the “Hermit Kingdom.” As a child, she lived as part of North Korea’s elite until the regime punished her father for selling items to China. Park and her family escaped North Korea in 2007.
Serbian nonviolence expert and political activist Srdja Popovic discussed the pivotal role he played in Otpor! as they peacefully toppled the dictatorship of Slobodan Milosevic. He shared stories from his years of experience working with democratic movements around the world as the founder of CANVAS and discuss his recent book Blueprint for Revolution and nonviolent strategies for driving change.
Slate politics and foreign affairs editor William Dobson analyzed the battle between modern-day authoritarian leaders and their citizen opponents. As Dobson describes in his book The Dictator’s Learning Curve , dictatorships are constantly evolving, but civil society has the ability to learn and adapt faster than its oppressors.
The event is a joint initiative in partnership with Yale ThiNK (There is Hope in North Korea).