Past Events

College Freedom Forum // March 11, 2014

1980039_10152073521364160_1836254804_oPark Sang Hak defected from North Korea in 1999 and is now a democracy activist. He is the chairman of Fighters for a Free North Korea, an organization that launches balloons containing human rights and pro-democracy literature into North Korea. He is also a member of the Democracy Network Against the North Korean Gulag and the Exile Committee for North Korean Democracy.

Kasha N. Jacqueline, a Ugandan lesbian and LGBTI activist, is the founder of Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG), an organization that offers refuge to the persecuted LGBTI community. Kasha describes the horrifying witch-hunt presently occurring in her country – a movement that threatens anyone labeled as a homosexual with imprisonment, exile or death.

Chen Guangcheng is a blind Chinese civil rights activist and self-taught legal worker. After bringing a lawsuit against Chinese authorities for excessive enforcement of the country’s one-child policy, Chen was sentenced to house arrest. In 2012, he escaped and fled to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. He now lives with his family in the U.S. and is a visiting scholar at the New York University School of Law.

Maryam Al-Khawaja relates the stories of the individuals who, in their desire for freedom, have been targeted by the Bahraini government as terrorists. Maryam describes the mistreatment of protestors such as her own father, Abdulhadi, who has been in detention for over a month and has suffered brutal torture. Maryam in featured in the film, We Are the Giant, which is part of the Sundance Film Festival.

Alexis Ohanian HeadshotAlexis Ohanian // February 1, 2014

Alex Ohanian currently advises and invests in over seventy tech startups. He is the cofounder of the hit social media site, Reddit, and has founded many other projects and sites since then. He has spoken at conferences such as TED and the Clinton Global Initiative and spoken to companies such as Google and Betaworks. He was named on Forbes 30 under 30 list for two years in a row, before he actually turned 30. His new book, “Without Their Permission”, shares “ideas, tips and even his own doodles about harnessing the power of the web for good” and along the way share his experiences and philosophies with young entrepreneurs.

Michio KakuMichio Kaku // October 3, 2013

Dr. Kaku is the co-founder of string field theory, a cutting-edge branch of physics, that continues Albert Einstein’s search for a “theory of everything” to derive an equation that summarizes all the physical laws of the universe. A popularizer of science, he has enjoyed a distinguished career as an author and television personality. He is the author of two New York Times best sellers, Physics of the Future (2011), which was chosen by Amazon as one of the Top 100 Books of 2011, and Physics of the Impossible (2008). He has appeared on television numerous times, with appearances on the Larry King Show, 60 Minutes, the Colbert Report, and CNN to name a few, been featured in documentaries and hosted many of his own, and runs a national weekly radio program called Science Fantastic. Furthermore, he will be prominently featured in the Science Channel’s new series ‘Futurescape”, premiering in November.


Sam Harris // March 5, 2012

Dr. Harris has enjoyed a distinguished career as an author, with his 2004 novel The End of Faith appearing on the New York Times best seller list for 33 consecutive weeks. Dr. Harris is also the founder and CEO of Project Reason, a non profit foundation aimed at the promotion of scientific knowledge and secular values within society. Dr. Harris has previously spoken at a number of prominent campuses including Oxford, Cambridge, and Harvard University, and has made numerous media appearances including The O’Reilly Factor, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and various TED conferences.

Vicente Fox // April 13, 2011

Vicente Fox served as president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006. A visionary leader with a deep understanding of the economic and social challenges facing Latin America, President Vicente Fox is one of the world’s most important voices on the contemporary geopolitical landscape and the role of business in the developing world. During his term in office he succeeded in controlling inflation and interest rates, and in achieving the lowest unemployment rate in Latin America. He studied business administration at the Universidad Iberoamericana and afterward pursued a Top Management Diploma at the Harvard Business School. Fox has four adopted children. He was born in Mexico City in 1942 and grew up on San Cristobal Ranch in the municipality of San Francisco del Rincon, in Guanajuato state.

Bill Nye // February 15, 2011

Bill Nye, known to many as “the science guy,” is an iconic American science educator, comedian, television host, and mechanical engineer. A seven-time Emmy Award winner, his television program “Bill Nye the Science Guy” managed to do the impossible by making science entertaining to children and adults alike, and is still used as an educational resource today. Nye is a graduate of Cornell University and has worked actively in the American aeronautics industry, developing technology for Boeing and the Mars Exploration Rover missions. Currently, he remains active in the science community while touring the country and the airwaves speaking on a wide range of subjects.

Queen Noor of Jordan // April 15, 2010

Queen Noor, the last wife and widow of King Hussein bin Talal, the previous king of Jordan, was born Lisa Najeeb Halaby to a prominent Arab-American family. She entered Princeton University with the first class to admit women and graduated in 1974 with a degree in architecture and urban planning. Queen Noor has worked on a variety of projects related to women’s empowerment, human rights, economic development and U.S.-Arab relations. Much of her charitable and economic development work is under the umbrella of the Noor Al Hussein Foundation. She also is a founder of Global Zero, a group that works to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Karl Rove // February 15, 2010

A longtime Republican political strategist, Rove is often credited with helping in the successful presidential campaigns of 2004 and 2008. He also is credited with helping guide former President George W. Bush to a win in the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election. Since leaving the White House in 2007, Rove has worked as a commentator and contributor for several media outlets, including Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. His book “Courage and Consequence” is scheduled for publication in March. Rove joined former DNC chair Howard Dean for a spirited debate at Macky Auditorium.

Howard Dean // February 15, 2010

Dean served as governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2003 and was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009. While chairman he created and employed the 50-state strategy with the goal of making Democrats competitive in usually conservative states. A physician with a medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dean also made an unsuccessful run for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. Dean joined longtime Republican strategist Karl Rove for a spirited debate at Macky Auditorium.

Brian Greene // April 4, 2009

Theoretical physicist and string theorist Brian Greene paid a visit to CU to discuss the inner workings of our universe as well as his book The Elegant Universe, which has also been adapted as an Emmy award winning television special through the PBS program NOVA. Greene has been a professor at Columbia University since 1996, and currently resides in New York City.



Thomas Friedman // February 16, 2009

Friedman joined The New York Times in 1981 and has served as bureau chief in Beirut and Israel, chief economic correspondent in the Washington, D.C., bureau and chief White House correspondent, before becoming the paper’s foreign affairs columnist in 1995. His work has earned him Pulitzer Prizes in 1983, 1988 and 2002.He has traveled extensively reporting on the Middle East conflict, the end of the Cold War, U.S. domestic politics and foreign policy, international economics and the worldwide impact of terrorism. He also is the author of several award-winning and best-selling books including “From Beirut to Jerusalem,” “The Lexus and the Olive Tree,” “Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11” and “The World is Flat.”

Madeleine Albright // April 16, 2008

Albright served as the 64th Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton from January 1997 to January 2001, and was the first woman to ever serve in the post and the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government at the time. Prior to her appointment as Secretary of State she served as the United States Permanent Resident to the United Nations and as a member of President Clinton’s National Security Council. Albright also has served on the board of directors of the Council of Foreign Relations, as chair of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and as president of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. She is a principal of The Albright Group LLC, a global strategy firm, and chair and principal of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm.

Ishmael Beah // February 5, 2008

Beah was born in Sierra Leone in 1980 and lived there the first 18 years of his life. At age 13, he was captured and brainwashed by the government army and absorbed as part of their military forces. After graduating from Oberlin College in 2004, he became an activist for child soldiers around the world, collaborating with UNICEF. Beah now works with organizations such as Human Rights Watch to end the use of child soldiers in armed conflict. He has delivered his message to the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations and the United Nations.

Kofi Annan // April 18, 2007

Annan, who along with the United Nations won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, served as U.N. secretary general from 1997 to 2006. He was the first black African to head the New York City-based organization, whose members include 192 nations. During his tenure, Annan made his mark as an advocate for human rights, the rule of law and the revitalization of the United Nations. He also was a key player in the fight against HIV/AIDS and global terrorist threats. As U.N. secretary general, Annan also worked to bolster the multilateral organization’s relationship with businesses and civil society groups, sponsoring an initiative to promote corporate social responsibility.

B.B. King // February 22, 2006

Blues legend B.B. King took the stage at the Coors Event Center for an evening of music and storytelling. King is considered to be one of the most influential guitarists in musical history and is a member of the rock and roll hall of fame, as well as ranked third on Rolling Stone’s list “100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time”. King continues to active tour today and has played more than 15,000 shows in his 62 year career as a musician.



Rudolph Giuliani // April 3, 2005

Giuliani was elected the 107th mayor of the City of New York and was re-elected in 1997 by a wide margin. Giuliani has been praised for leading a resurgence of the city, with dramatic reductions in crime and welfare dependency along with gains in jobs and tourism during his administration. After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Mayor Giuliani immediately began leading the recovery of the city. Giuliani was widely lauded for his steady hand during frightening times. He was named Person of the Year by Time magazine, knighted by the Queen of England and presented with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Freedom Award by former first lady Nancy Reagan.

Desmond Tutu // March 29, 2004

Tutu became an internationally known figure in the late 1970s and early 1980s while serving as general secretary of the South African Council of Churches. His work against social injustice and apartheid was recognized with a Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. Today he is archbishop emeritus of Cape Town and chancellor of the University of Western Cape. He holds honorary degrees from Harvard, Oxford, Columbia and other universities. Tutu discussed “God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Times,” the book he calls a “cumulative expression” of his life’s work.

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