Experts and activists from 24 different countries will assemble in Lillehammer 27-28 May to illuminate and promote freedom of speech and democracy, alongside more than a thousand young participants.

The World Expression Forum has now revealed its 2024 program with the overall theme ‘The Free Speech Recession – and How to Fight It?’. 48 speakers and profiles from 24 diverse countries will share their insights and experiences to foster global collaboration and strengthen freedom of expression and democracy for future generations. This year’s World Expression Forum will be hosted by NRK presenters Sigrid Sollund and Espen Aas.

“Freedom of expression is under threat”

Kristenn Einarsson, Managing Director of WEXFO, emphasizes the need for the conference:

“This year’s World Expression Forum is the third of its kind and will be the most significant so far. Freedom of expression is under threat from various quarters, and conflict levels are rising in many places around the world, including Europe. War, conflict, the rise of artificial intelligence, and increased polarization and disinformation contribute to a more challenging climate for debate. Access to free information and literature is restricted for many. The world is facing a crisis of trust between people, authorities, and the media. Freedom of expression is the key to regaining trust and strengthening the development of democracy.”

Vital meeting place

Einarsson looks forward to welcoming participants and the media to Lillehammer:

“We have a diverse and exciting lineup of speakers who will promote insight and discussion on the essential challenges currently facing the global community. The World Expression Forum serves as a vital meeting place for everyone working with or interested in freedom of speech. We anticipate fruitful days together in Lillehammer, which is also a natural gathering spot, given that the conference is followed by the largest literature festival in the Nordic region. Lillehammer also holds the esteemed status of being a UNESCO City of Literature and a safe haven for persecuted writers.”

Over a thousand young people

“A unique aspect of this year’s World Expression Forum is also the significant involvement of young people. Over 100 conference attendees from more than 40 countries are present as part of our youth projects to empower young voices. Additionally, hundreds of middle and high school students will participate in a youth festival on freedom of expression that runs parallel to the conference. In total, we expect between 1,000 and 1,500 young people in Lillehammer during the conference days,” says Einarsson.

Many pressing topics

The World Expression Forum spans two full days, commencing on Monday, May 27th at 09:30 and concluding on Tuesday, May 28th at 18:00. The first half of the opening day is dedicated to a selection of workshops where participants can delve into their specific areas of interest. Additionally, there will be artistic contributions, a communal dinner and an open public meeting in conjunction with the Norwegian Festival of Literature.

WEXFO 2024 will shed light on various pressing topics, including the state of global democracies, the rise of artificial intelligence, the crisis in the Middle East, literature and factual publishing, freedom of expression in the arts, access to information and the internet, cross-generational literacy skills, religious critique, trust in authorities, polarization, disinformation, and critical journalism.

Separate network conference on youth and freedom of expression

On May 29th, the day after WEXFO 2024, the WEXFO Youth Network Conference will be held for the second consecutive year. Over 150 participants will share their experiences and insights in the efforts to encourage youth participation in democracy development.

Contributors from five continents

Speakers and artists from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America will be attending the World Expression Forum in Lillehammer. The following individuals will contribute:

  • Aaiún Nin
  • Abeer Abu Ghaith
  • Adele Matheson Mestad
  • Andreas Motzfeldt Kravik
  • Anders Lindberg
  • Anine Kierulf
  • Anne Mangen
  • Arizza Nocum
  • Arvinn Gadgil
  • Åsmund Reistad
  • Christo Grozev
  • Ege Dündar
  • Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen
  • Even Alekander Hagen
  • Ezzedine Fishere
  • Felicia Anthonio
  • Gérard Biard
  • Ghawgha Taban
  • Hanna Komar
  • Hans Olav Sundfør
  • Seyran Ates
  • Irene Khan
  • Jakob Nilsen
  • Karine Pansa
  • Khaled Harara
  • Kimberly Wehle
  • Knut Nesheim
  • Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Lubna Jaffery
  • Mads Nygaard
  • Mariann Schjeide
  • Meron Mendel
  • Mihael Kovač
  • Nataliia Romanyshyn
  • Naw Betty Han
  • Noam Shuster Eliassi
  • Paulina Kieszkowska
  • Peter Schoppert
  • Peter Ter Velde
  • Porter Anderson
  • Saba-Nur Cheema
  • Sam Gregory
  • Staffan Lindberg
  • Svenja Hahn
  • Taghi Rahmani
  • Tora Åsling
  • Vladyslav Troitskyi
  • Yama Wolasmal

Full overview of speakers with photos and bios.


Kristenn Einarsson, Managing Director,

Andreas Gjone, Communications and Marketing Manager,, +47 926 27 950