CSU, Chico News

Famed Soviet Dissident To Speak on Campus

Date: 04-30-2009

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

Natan Sharansky, former Soviet dissident, human rights activist, Israeli politician and author, will give a talk at California State University, Chico on Monday, May 4.

The talk will be in the Performing Arts Center’s Harlen Adams Theatre at 7:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

His talk is titled, “A Dialogue About Human Rights, Freedom, Democracy, Peace and the Middle East.”

Along with Andrei Sahkarov, Sharansky was a leader and spokesperson for the human rights movement in the Soviet Union during the 1970s. In 1977, he was found guilty in the Soviet Union of collaborating with the CIA, despite denials from the U.S. Government, and was sentenced to 13 years in prison. He spent nine years in some of the worst Soviet gulags, but was released following international pressure on the Soviet government. He emigrated to Israel and led efforts to change emigration policies in the Soviet Union prior to its collapse.

Sharansky is the author of three books, “Fear No Evil,” “The Case for Democracy,” and, most recently, “Defending Identity.” He has served as a minister and deputy prime minister in four Israeli governments.

Sharansky has received a number of awards and honors, including the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award.

Sponsors for his talk include Congregation Beth Israel, CSU, Chico’s Modern Jewish and Israel Studies program and the CSU, Chico Hillel student group.