In Toronto Event Venue on December 14, 2023, we hosted a panel titled “Saving the World from Dictatorships: A Panel on Defending Freedom, Democracy, Human Rights, and Countering Extremism & Authoritarianism Across Borders.” The panel brought together esteemed speakers from the US, Hong Kong, North Korea, Canada, and Lebanon. Moderated by Sooma Aslami, Senior Project Manager at Journalists for Human Rights and a Fellow at our network, the discussion aimed to address global challenges and explore innovative strategies for countering extremism and authoritarianism.

The first panelist, Prof. Ken Schoolland, Associate Professor of Economics and Director of the Entrepreneurship Center at Hawaii Pacific University, and Advisory Council Member of WAEN, focused on combating violent extremism & authoritarianism through the ideas of free trade and economy. Following him, Simon Lee, Intrapreneur & Freedom Activist from Hong Kong, shared insights on resisting authoritarian influence, providing a Hongkonger’s perspective on navigating China’s impact in Hong Kong and the region.

Eunhee Park, a North Korean defector and a board member of WAEN, shared her remarkable journey from North Korea to a free world, offering personal experiences that resonated with the audience. Janet Bufton, Writer, Editor & Educational Consultant for Adam Smith Works and Advisory Council Member of WAEN from Canada, discussed the importance of resisting extremism & authoritarianism in the context of Canada’s evolving demographics.

Dr. Patrick Mardini, CEO of the Lebanese Institute for Market Studies (LIMS), concluded the panel with insights into the unseen realities in the Middle East and ongoing conflicts in the region. The event featured a lively Q&A session, with both in-person and online participants engaging with the panelists.

Notably, the panel was broadcasted by NTD TV of Canada and covered by several newspapers.

At the World Anti Extremism Network, we remain dedicated to organizing such events worldwide, aiming to develop concrete solutions for countering extremism and authoritarianism globally.

Group Photo of Panel Speakers

You can read the report from Hawaii Pacific University in here.

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