Fairfield University
| February 2017 | Fairfield University News Channel

Open VISIONS Forum: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, March 8

Continuing its mission of bringing timely and topical speakers to engage with global and national issues, the Quick Center for the Arts' Open VISIONS Forum (OVF) presents Ayaan Hirsi Ali on March 8, 2017 at 8 p.m.  Her talk, “Refusing to be Silenced: My Nomadic Journey from Islam to the West” traces her life experiences that led to her emergence as an internationally acclaimed human rights advocate, and advocate for free speech, feminist principles and freedom from religious imposition.

Among many accolades, Ali has been named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. She is a recipient of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for her novel Infidel; a Simone de Beauvoir Prize; has been a nominated candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize; and has been honored throughout the U.S. and Europe as a recognized human rights leader.

Hirsi Ali, who was born in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1969 and survived childhood abuse and violence including female genital mutilation, migrated from Saudi Arabia, to Ethiopia and then to Kenya. Claiming that she was escaping from an arranged marriage, she sought political asylum in the Netherlands in 1992.

Hirsi Ali quickly rose to prominence as a member of the Dutch Labor Party and People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, and was elected to the Dutch Parliament in 2003. Collaborating with film director Theo Van Gogh on the 2004 film, Submission, Ali challenged treatment of women in Islamic societies.

After Van Gogh was murdered on an Amsterdam street by a knife-wielding assassin, Ali went into hiding under the protection of the Dutch authorities until 2006. She was then invited to take refuge in the United States by the Deputy Secretary of State who stated, “we recognize that she is a very courageous and impressive woman and she is welcome in the U.S.”

For over two decades, the OVF at Fairfield University has brought to the stage global thought leaders from across the political spectrum, including dissenting voices who have been critical of aspects of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith traditions. 

Speakers have included controversial writers like Salman Rushdie, Christopher Hitchens, William F. Buckley Jr. and Fox-News hosts Bill O’Reilly, Dana Perino and Monica Crowley. Presented within the context of academic tradition of freedom of discourse, the series has engaged in civil and respectful airing of views in a free flowing, open dialogue.

Following Hirsi Ali’s talk, Peter Van Heerden, director of the Quick Center for the Arts, will moderate a Q&A session with the audience.  

Tickets are available for purchase at $35 for general entry, $27 for Quick Center members and $5 for Fairfield University students. For more information on tickets, please visit quickcenter.com or call the Box Office at 203-254-4010.

This event is sponsored by Abbey Tent and Party Rentals; Beers, Hamerman, Cohen & Burger, PC; Delamar and Spa Southport; Moffly Media and TV Eyes.


Last modified:  Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:46:00 EST


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