A Conversation Hosted by Dialogue Vanderbilt: Bret Stephens in Discussion with Samar Ali to be Oct. 16

Hosted by Vanderbilt Chancellor Daniel Diermeier, well-known journalist, editor and columnist Bret Stephens will join Samar Ali, research professor of political science and law, for a debate centered around the value of free expression, open debate and civil discourse through the lens of some of the most pressing issues we face today—such as gun control, climate change and affirmative action. There will be an audience Q&A at the end of the discussion.

The event is open to all members of the Vanderbilt community and will be Oct. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at Rothschild College in the Black Box Theater. Register now –>

The event is part of the chancellor’s Dialogue Vanderbilt initiative and Vanderbilt’s first-ever Free Speech Week, which will bring high-profile guests to campus to discuss the current state of free expression and civil discourse.

“Free speech is a bedrock Vanderbilt value. It is fundamental to our purpose of providing transformative education and pathbreaking research,” Diermeier said. “We’re proud to mark Free Speech Week by continuing our long-standing tradition of bringing people of differing viewpoints together to debate—and ultimately help solve—the societal problems that matter most.”

About Dialogue Vanderbilt 

Dialogue Vanderbilt aims to teach members of our university community how to engage in constructive conversation, even when they fiercely disagree; conduct research on polarization and how to address it; and lead a broader effort to restore civil discourse in society.

About Bret Stephens

Stephens has been an opinion columnist for The New York Times and a senior contributor to NBC News since 2017. Since 2021, he has been the inaugural editor-in-chief of SAPIR, a journal of Jewish conversations.

Stephens has also been a foreign affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor at The Wall Street Journal, overseeing the editorial pages of its European and Asian editions. At The Wall Street Journal, Stephens won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 2013.

From 2002 to 2004, he was editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post.

About Samar Ali

Ali’s research initiatives focus on positive compromise through promoting conflict resolution best practices among people, communities and nations experiencing polarization due to the connection between violence and labeling. Ali joined Vanderbilt’s political science and law faculties as a research professor, bringing 14 years of experience in international relations and legal practice.