CFF at Stanford University featured five inspiring talks by human rights defenders around the globe, followed by an interactive Q&A with the audience.
Iranian former prisoner of conscience Marina Nemat shared her moving personal story about her journey to freedom. After being
jailed at age 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. After being released from prison, Nemat moved to Canada where she
wrote her best-selling books, “Prisoner of Tehran” and “After Tehran.”
Ugandan LGBT rights activist Kasha Jacqueline discussed the state-sponsored homophobia resulting from her government’s anti-homosexuality
laws. Jacqueline is the founder and director of Freedom and Roam Uganda
(FARUG), one of the only lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersexual
organizations in a country where homosexuality is criminalized by a long-ruling
regime. In retaliation for her brave advocacy, she has been harassed, attacked,
and threatened with arrest and death.
Encryption expert and DEFCON organizer Nico Sell talked about her work championing private communications and free expression as the
CEO of the Wickr Foundation. Sell is also the CEO and co-founder of r00tz
Asylum, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching children about the values
of white-hat hacking, and the founder of Wickr, a free messaging app
enabling anyone to send self-destructing messages that are
anonymous, private, and secure.
Egyptian activist, computer engineer and entrepreneur Wael Ghonim discussed new opportunities in digital activism. He is a co-founder
of Parlio, and previously was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Google Ventures. Ghonim
spent six years at Google, during which he headed up Marketing and Product in
the MENA region and was responsible for driving the growth of Google’s products
across the region, evangelizing the use of the internet, and growing its Arabic
content. During the 2011 Egyptian revolution, he created the Facebook page “We
are all Khaled Saeed” after the death of an activist at the hands of state
security forces, which became an open forum for posting information about
Egyptian police brutality.
Chinese human rights advocate Ti-Anna Wang talked about her mission
to free her father, leading democracy activist Wang Bingzhang, who is a
political prisoner of the Chinese regime. In 2002, he was abducted in Vietnam
by Chinese government agents, convicted on charges of espionage, and sentenced
to life in prison – even though no evidence was presented against him. Since
her father’s arrest, Wang has launched an international campaign for his
release and partnered with daughters of other imprisoned activists to advocate
for democratic change in China.
The event was a joint initiative in partnership with Stanford
STAND, CS + Social Good, and the Stanford Korean Students Association.