Human Rights Advocate Kristina Arriaga on Cuba, Religious Liberty, & Cancel Culture

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Kristina Arriaga, president of Intrinsic, a strategic communications firm, and former vice chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Kristina shares her family’s experiences fleeing Castro’s communist regime in Cuba and other hardships, and how her background has shaped her commitment to religious liberty. They discuss the current political situation in Cuba, and the lessons American citizens, teachers, and students should learn about communism’s impact on human rights. She shares her work to advance religious freedom as former executive director of The Becket Fund, where she honored courageous Cuban political prisoner Armando Valladares and so many other human rights activists, and through her service on several noted international commissions. Finally, they discuss parallels Kristina highlighted in an October 2020 USA Today op-ed, between cancel culture in America and some of the features of communist Cuba, such as speech codes, political correctness, and social shaming. They delve into why cancel culture is so dangerous to the free exchange of ideas and a healthy civic life, and how parents, teachers, and professors can combat it.

Stories of the Week: The Biden administration is extending the moratorium on federal student loan payments and interest – originally scheduled to expire next month – through early 2022. But exactly who is eligible? The New York Times reports that 340,000 of the one million children who did not report for school during the pandemic were in kindergarten, with the sharpest declines in low-income neighborhoods.

Guest:

Kristina Arriaga is a passionate communicator with a storied life — from orchestrating the rescue of a Cuban woman and her two children, for which she was featured in Vanity Fair and Reader’s Digest, to visiting American Pastor Andrew Brunson in prison in Turkey, attending his judicial hearings in Izmir, and advocating for his release both in Turkey and through the pages of The Wall Street Journal. She is particularly interested in free speech, freedom of religion or belief, and international human rights for girls and women, and has written extensively on all these issues. Her recent USA Today piece on cancel culture went viral and was then censored for sensitive content by Twitter. In 2016, the U.S. Congress appointed her to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, where she was elected Vice-Chair for two consecutive terms. During her 3-year tenure, she met with high-ranking government officials to advocate for human rights in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Nigeria, Turkey, and many other countries. Before the Commission, Arriaga was a member of the U.S. delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission and the executive director of The Becket Fund, a public interest law firm that defends free expression. During her tenure at the law firm, she oversaw several landmark cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Arriaga is the recipient of the 2017 Newseum Free Expression Award. Other recipients that year were Apple CEO Tim Cook, ABC correspondent Martha Raddatz, and civil rights champion John Lewis. Arriaga is a sought-after speaker and has appeared on BBC, MSNBC, C-Span, CNN, and NPR. Her writing includes op-eds published in USA Today and The Hill, and she has lectured at numerous academic institutions. Kristina has a master’s degree from Georgetown University and is reading for her DPhil at the Oxford Law Faculty at Oxford University.

The next episode will air on Wednesday, August 18th, 2021 at 12 pm ET with guest, Professor E.D. Hirsch, Jr., founder and chairman of the Core Knowledge Foundation, professor emeritus at the University of Virginia, and acclaimed author of the books, Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and How to Educate a Citizen: The Power of Shared Knowledge to Unify a Nation.

Tweet of the Week:

News Links:

Student Loan Payment Suspension: What the Extension Means for Borrowers

https://www.wsj.com/articles/student-loan-payment-suspension-what-the-extension-means-for-borrowers-11628594394?mod=searchresults_pos1&page=1

NYT: The Kindergarten Exodus

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/07/us/covid-kindergarten-enrollment.html?smid=tw-share

 

Get new episodes of The Learning Curve in your inbox!

Recent Episodes:

NACSA’s Dr. Karega Rausch on Charter Public School Authorizing

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Karega Rausch, President and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. Dr. Rausch shares some of his background, his interest in K-12 education reform and charter public schools, and lessons from Indiana and other states that inform his work.

Khan Academy’s Sal Khan & ASU Prep Digital’s Amy McGrath on the Khan World School @ ASU Prep

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Sal Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy, and Amy McGrath, the Chief Operating Officer of ASU Prep and Deputy Vice President of ASU Educational Outreach.

Hoover at Stanford’s Dr. Niall Ferguson on Britain, the English-Speaking World, & the Politics of Catastrophe

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Niall Ferguson, the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a senior faculty fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. He is the author of 16 books, including "Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe."

Independent Institute’s Dr. Bill Evers & Ze’ev Wurman on K-12 STEM Education & California’s Woke Math

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Bill Evers and Ze'ev Wurman, of the Independent Institute, about the challenges of ensuring all students have access to quality K-12 math and science education in California and across the U.S.

Oxford’s Prof. Timothy Garton Ash on Poland’s Solidarity, Lech Walesa, & Cold War Lessons for Ukraine

https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/chtbl.com/track/G45992/mp3.ricochet.com/2022/09/TheLearningCurve_TimothyGartonAsh.mp3

UVA’s Prof. Angel Adams Parham on Classical Education, Black Intellectuals, & Homeschooling

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Angel Adams Parham, Associate Professor of Sociology and senior fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture (IASC) at the University of Virginia, and the author of The Black Intellectual Tradition: Reading Freedom in Classical Literature. Professor Parham shares her background as an academic and former homeschooling mom, her embrace of classical education, and her philosophy about what constitutes a sound humanities curriculum.

UVA’s Two-Time Pulitzer Winner Prof. Alan Taylor on Thomas Jefferson & Education

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Alan Taylor, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor of History at the University of Virginia, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of the book, Thomas Jefferson's Education. Professor Taylor shares some highlights of Jefferson’s career, his views on the importance of primary and higher public education in serving the political aspirations of his state and region, and Jefferson's role as the architect of the University of Virginia,

Doug Lemov on Teach Like a Champion & Successful Charter Public Schools

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Charles Chieppo talk with Doug Lemov, author of the international bestseller, Teach Like a Champion. Doug describes how he became interested in charter schools, dating back to the late 1990s in Massachusetts, and how the sector developed into a nationally recognized success story.

William & Mary’s Dr. Charles Hobson on Chief Justice John Marshall, SCOTUS, & Judicial Review

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Charles Hobson, a retired resident scholar at the William & Mary Law School, 26-year editor of The Papers of John Marshall, and author of The Great Chief Justice: John Marshall and the Rule of Law. Dr. Hobson shares what students should know about the longest-serving, most important chief justice in the history of the Supreme Court, and his influence on our understanding of the U.S. Constitution.

METCO’s Milly Arbaje-Thomas & Researcher Roger Hatch on MA’s Voluntary School Desegregation Program

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Milly Arbaje-Thomas, President & CEO of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, Inc. (METCO) and Roger Hatch, co-author of Pioneer’s report, METCO Funding: Understanding Massachusetts’ Voluntary School Desegregation Program.