WEXFO 2023


22th of May

Hosts: Yama Wolasmal and Ingeborg Volan 

09.00-10.45 Baseline: What is the Status of Freedom of Expression in the World?

Opening Ceremony
35 Years of Fighting for Rights in Iran – What did we achieve?
Shirin Ebadi, Human Rights Lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
Woman, Life, Freedom – Iran Speaks Out
Masud Gharahkhani, President of the Parlament of Norway, Fatemeh Ekhtesari, Author, Forouzan Jamshidnejad, Actor.
The Depth of Unfreedom in the Assad’s Regime
Karam Nachar, Executive Editor and Director of AlJumhuriya.
Publishing and Editing in Extreme Situations
Rasha Al-Ameer, Publisher Dar-al Jadeed, Burhan Sönmez, Author and President of PEN International, Karam Nachar, Executive Editor and Director of AlJumhuriya, Sonny Swe, CEO Frontier Myanmar.

10.50-12.15 Addressing Economic Inequality and Gender Disparities: How Can We Invest Wisely in Freedom of Expression?

Sustainable Societies Presupposes Freedom of Expression
Irene Khan, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion.
505 – The Cost of Freedom of Expression in Myanmar
Thinzar Shunley Yi, Activist and Magnitzky Human Rights Award Winner.
Money Talks!
Johan H. Andresen, Chair Council on Ethics for the Government Pension Fund Global, Irene Kahn, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion, + TBA.
Our Voices Must be Heard
Koleka Putuma, Theatre Practitioner, Writer and Poet.
Silenced and Marginalized?
Gvantsa Jobava, Vice-president International Publishers Association,+ TBA

12.15-13.15 Lunch


13.15-14.45 When Rights Clash

Where freedom of religion meets freedom of speech – can both rights co-exist?
Anine Kierulf, Lawyer and Advicer at Norwegian Institute for Human Rights.
Can religion and freedom of expression peacefully co-exist?
Imam Seyran Ates, Human Rights Activist and Founder of the Ibn Rushd - Goethe Mosque in Berlin, Mohamad Usman Rana, Head of the Norwegian Muslim Think Tank WASILA, Knut Olav Åmås, Director Fritt Ord Foundation.
The Morality Debate in USA
Caroline Janney, Professor and Director John L. Nau Center for Civil War History.
Drawing the Line
Lola Shoneyin, Author, Caroline Janney, Professor and Director John L. Nau Center for Civil War History, Leandro Demori, former Editor of The Intercept.

15.05-16.30 Youth and Freedom of Expression: Encouraged and Threatened?

Getting a Place at the Table
Technology and Freedom of Expression
Peter Stern, Meta, + TBA.
Digitizing Democracy: Social Media and Their Growing Role in Arbitrating Freedom of Expression
Peter Stern, Director, Content Policy Stakeholder Engagement Meta, Felicia Anthonio, Access Now Campaign Manager, + TBA.

23th of May

09.00-09.20 Opening Ceremony

Wexfo Youth Lillehammer

9:30-12:30 Workshops


12.30-13.15 Lunch


13.15-14.40 The High Cost in Defending the Freedom of Expression and Democracy

Mothers and Daughters
Lana Estemirova, Writer and Activist.
Standing up for Facts in an Age of Fake: Bellingcat and the OSINT Revolution
Christo Grozev, Bellingcat.
The Role of Protest in Creating Social Change
Maina Kiai, Lawyer, Human Rights Activist and Former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly and Association.
Has Russia’s aggression against Ukraine divided the world?
Pankaj Mishra, Author, Oleksandra Matviichuk, Head of the Center for Civil Liberties, Maina Kiai, Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, + TBA.
Saving Democracy by Limiting Freedom of Expression?
Jacob Mchangama, Director of Justitia, Sasha Havlicek, Founding CEO of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

15.05-16.15 Strengthening the Framwork of Freedom of Expression: Where Do We Go From Here?

How to Measure Freedom of Expression?
Arne Jensen, Special Advisor, Norwegian Editors Assosiation, + TBA.
The International System of Human Rights Protection is Broken. How can we fix it?
Oleksandra Matviichuck, Head of the Center for Civil Liberties.
How to go from Autocracy to Democracy?
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, President-elect of Belarus.
Rising to the Challenges
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, President-elect of Belarus, Joanna Krawczyk, Former Editor Gazeta Wyborcza Wyborscka and Golden Pen of Freedom Award Laureate 2022 now leading Marshall Help Initiative.
Wexfo 2023 Summarized – our takeaways