Emily Chamlee-Wright on the importance of free speech, civility and tolerance

Emily Chamlee-Wright, president and CEO of the Institute for Humane Studies
Emily Chamlee-Wright, president and CEO of the Institute for Humane Studies.
Courtesy of North Dakota State University

Emily Chamlee-Wright is the president and CEO of the Institute for Humane Studies. She was invited to speak virtually as part of the Menard Family Distinguished Speaker series at North Dakota State University.

She said students and faculty — and the public at large — need to be open to hearing challenging ideas and having honest discussions about controversial subjects.

Chamlee-Wright said higher education is a “foundational institution,” and it can help to “show what it looks like to live in a liberal democratic society.”

Students and faculty need to be honest, willing to listen, allow discovery and contribute to intellectual progress. This can only happen, she said, if students and faculty are “having engaged discussions around difficult stuff.”

Sometimes there is a “suspension of openness. People not even being willing to come to the table with curiosity and desire to learn, and they’ve made up their minds before even entering dialogue.”

The event was moderated by Scott Beaulier, dean of Business at NDSU, and hosted by the Sheila and Robert Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth at North Dakota State University.

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