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Sunday, October 21 - Monday, October 22, 2018

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

- The First Amendment to the United States Constitution

The National Conference on the First Amendment: Bedrock of American Freedoms will shine a light on the critical importance of the First Amendment in a free and democratic society, to open a dialogue with Americans about the First Amendment and its central role in maintaining the viability of our democratic institutions and to help diverse audiences recognize that we, as Americans, still share foundational values. At a time when incivility and disregard for foundational principles have become the norm in our society, all Americans—liberals, conservatives, moderates, libertarians—can find common ground in a national celebration of the First Amendment.

This conference will devote attention to freedom of the press, free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly/association, and cutting-edge topics related to the modern age of new technology, social media and more. With the help of some of the best minds in the country, the conference will challenge us to rediscover the central role that the First Amendment plays in our American democracy.

Speakers and panelists include nationally known experts in journalism, politics, law, higher education and civic advocacy, including:

  • Dean P. Baquet, Executive Editor of The New York Times
  • Martin Baron, Executive Editor of The Washington Post
  • Nancy Gibbs, former Editor of TIME magazine
  • Noel Francisco, U.S. Solicitor General
  • Floyd Abrams, one of the nation's leading authorities on First Amendment law
  • Tom Ridge, former Governor of Pennsylvania, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, former U.S. Homeland Security Advisor to President George W. Bush
  • Gen. Michael V. Hayden, former Director of the CIA under President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama
  • Juan Williams, Fox News Contributor
  • Hugh Hewitt, radio and television commentator
  • Ari Melber, host of MSNBC's The Beat with Ari Melber
  • Richard Gingras, Vice President of Google News
  • Alan Dershowitz, renowned lawyer and scholar, Harvard University (via Skype) 
  • Video appearances by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Ohio Governor John Kasich

How to Register

The National Conference on the First Amendment is open to the public (limited seating) and free of charge.

The opening session will be held in the afternoon on Sunday, October 21, followed by a full day of inspiring speakers and panelists on Monday, October 22. Stay tuned for the full schedule of conference sessions, which will be announced when registration opens in late August.