The road to authoritarianism can be unclear and dimly lit. However, seeing countless moves ahead has become something of a specialty for Garry Kasparov, one of history’s greatest chess players, a vociferous critic of authoritarianism, and a prolific human rights advocate. Living in exile in America since 2013, he has come to see warning signs in his adopted country’s democracy. In 2017, he joined with other prominent leaders ranging Pulitzer prize-winner Anne Applebaum to Senator Heidi Heitkamp and former RNC Chair, Michael Steele, in the Renew Democracy Initiative (RDI). The organization’s mission is to promote liberal democratic principles both in the US and abroad while combating the countless threats facing these principles.
Join us on Wednesday, September 29th from 8:00-9:00pm EST for an exciting conversation about authoritarian risks to our democracy and what we can do to combat them. Garry will also discuss RDI’s current project that will launch with CNN the first week of October, featuring dissidents from 25 oppressive countries talking about their experiences, their visions of America, and the importance of defending classical liberal principles from the point of view of people who risked their lives to fight for those values in their home countries. After this exciting discussion, we will open the event to questions for the remainder of the webinar.
Participants must register by NOON on September 28th to receive details on joining the discussion. The Zoom link will be sent out 24 hours before the event.
Please note that no refunds will be issued.
Russian Chess Grandmaster, Former World Chess Champion, Writer, and Political Activist
Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, in the Soviet Union in 1963, Garry Kasparov became the under-18 chess champion of the USSR at the age of 12 and the world under-20 champion at 17. He came to international fame at the age of 22 as the youngest world chess champion in history in 1985. He defended his title five times, including a legendary series of matches against arch-rival Anatoly Karpov.
Kasparov’s famous matches against the IBM super-computer Deep Blue in 1996-97 were key to bringing artificial intelligence, and chess, into the mainstream.
Kasparov was one of the first prominent Soviets to call for democratic and market reforms and was an early supporter of Boris Yeltsin’s push to break up the Soviet Union. In 1990, he and his family escaped ethnic violence in his native Baku as the USSR collapsed. In 2005, Kasparov, in his 20th year as the world’s top-rated player, retired from professional chess to join the vanguard of the Russian pro-democracy movement. In 2012, Kasparov was named chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, succeeding Václav Havel. HRF promotes individual liberty worldwide and organizes the annual Oslo Freedom Forum. Facing imminent arrest during Putin’s crackdown, Kasparov moved from Moscow to New York City in 2013.
Since 1990, Kasparov has been a regular contributor to politics to many major publications. In 2017, Kasparov founded the Renew Democracy Initiative, dedicated to promoting the principles of the free world. Bringing together prominent figures on the left and the right, the non-partisan RDI has launched programs to support civics education, integrity in public office, and the vital importance of engaged citizenry.
As a seasoned product manager, Ni Xu is passionate about advancing social impact through technology and business. His enthusiasm for civic society and government can be traced back to Harvard, where Ni worked with the former U.S. Deputy CTO, Nick Sinai, on the U.S. Treasury’s usaspending.gov API. As the co-chair of the HBS Association of Northern California Civic Engagement Series, he organizes events that focus on political reforms, technology innovation in governments, and U.S. elections. Ni also volunteers at the United States Digital Response, an NGO that connects technologists with governments responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Ni holds an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, an M.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Florida, and a B.S. in Software Engineering from Beihang University.
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