Democracies Wanted: Biden’s Chance to Counter Autocracy

Date: December 13th
 6:15 pm EST
Location: Online via Zoom
Host: John Avlon
Speakers: Senator Chris Coons, Garry Kasparov, Masih Alinejad

Global democracy is facing its greatest threats since the Cold War. Freedom House reports that for the 15th consecutive year, dictatorships are on the rise. Please join the Renew Democracy Initiative on December 13th, at 6:15 PM EST for a discussion on how democracies can unite to turn the tide of authoritarianism after President Biden’s international “Summit for Democracy”. What impact will the summit have on the fight for global freedom? How can free nations come together to fight back against encroaching authoritarianism? 

John Avlon, anchor for CNN’s morning news segment New Day, will host this conversation with U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, RDI and Human Rights Foundation chairman Garry Kasparov, and Iranian-American journalist and broadcaster Masih Alinejad.

Meet the Speakers

John Avlon is senior political analyst and commentator at CNN. Between 2013 and 2018,  he was the editor-in-chief and managing director of The Daily Beast, during which time the site’s traffic more than doubled to over one million readers a day. Avlon is the author of numerous books including Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics, Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America, and Washington’s Farewell: The Founding Father’s Warning to Future Generations as well as co-editor of the acclaimed Deadline Artists anthologies of America’s greatest newspaper columns. Avlon won the National Society of Newspaper Columnists award for best online columnist 2012.

Chris Coons is a U.S. Senator from Delaware, a position he’s held since winning election in 2010. In office, he has partnered with Republicans and Democrats alike to address key issues facing Delaware and the country. Chris serves on the Senate Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Ethics committees. He is the chair of the Ethics Committee and the senior Democrat on two subcommittees: The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and Law and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations (SFOPS).

Masih Alinejad is an Iranian American author, TV broadcaster, human rights campaigner, and journalist who was forced to flee Iran for her safety in 2009 after criticizing lawmakers and political figures, including former President Ahmadinejad. Because of her advocacy work, she became the target of a kidnapping attempt by Iranian intelligence agents while living in the U.S. in 2021. Described by The New York Times as “the woman whose hair frightens Iran,” she has been a leading voice in the campaign against compulsory hijabs in Iran. Masih is the founder of My Stealthy Freedom and is the author of the best-selling memoir The Wind in My Hair.

Garry Kasparov is a World Chess Champion, political activist, and outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He fled Russia when Putin won a third term, fearing prosecution when Putin began conducting sham investigations into political activists involved in Russia’s mass protests of 2011. Garry was a prime target as the founder of the United Civil Front, an organization devoted to preserving electoral democracy in Russia, and as a former candidate for Russia’s presidency. Garry initially rose to stardom as the youngest World Chess Champion in history at age 22. He leveraged this fame for a distinguished post-chess career promoting liberal democracy in Russia and abroad. In 2017, he founded the Renew Democracy Initiative and has been an outspoken advocate of human rights & freedom around the world.


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