Trustees’ Award 2021
Arif Ahmed is a free speech activist and a fellow of Gonville & Caius College at the University of Cambridge.
In March 2020, Ahmed proposed alterations to the Statement of Free Speech at Cambridge. The proposed amendments were created to make the legislation “clearer and more liberal.” He aimed to protect university campuses as places of innovation and invention. That requires protecting the right to freely and safely challenge received wisdom.
The first amendment replaces the demand for “respect” for the opinions of others with “tolerance.” The second and third amendments preserve free speech of outside speakers and events. They also contain stringent requirements to cancel events and disinvite or censor speakers.
A vote was held for the proposed amendments and they were officially passed in December 2020.
Ahmed continues to be an outspoken advocate for free speech on university campuses.