Lale Gül was studying Dutch at the VU when she debuted at age twenty-three with the bestseller ‘Ik ga leven’ (I am going to live). Until she was seventeen, she attended a Reformed Lyceum during the week, and a Koranic school run by Stichting Milli Görüs on weekends. In her autobiographical debut novel ‘Ik ga leven’ she disputes everything she learned and breaks with her strict religious upbringing. In May 2024, Lale published her second novel ‘Ik ben vrij’ (I am free), in which she reflects on the years following the break with her religion and family.

In her keynote, Lale will reflect on the power of individual freedom, the price of authenticity and the courage to swim against the current. Her new life as an apostate brought her success, awards, support, friendships and, above all, freedom. At the same time, she receives threats and is scolded by her family, friends from before, the Muslim community and even her sister. What does it take to be truly free, and in the end, is it worth the price she paid?

During the summit, students have the opportunity to engage in small groups directly with experts and activists, gaining practical insights into how they can create change in their immediate surroundings. Because small actions lead to big changes, and every voice matters in the fight for freedom. Speakers during the day are:

Anne Roosevelt (via video)
Drawing upon the timeless ideals of compassion, resilience, and social responsibility embodied by her grandparents, Anne empowers audiences to embrace their capacity to make meaningful contributions. She  reminds us all that even the smallest acts of kindness and advocacy can catalyze profound transformation.

Dr. Walter Earl Fluker
At the Freedom Summit, he will delve into the profound connection between Freedom of Religion and the ongoing struggles for social justice and human rights.

Tracie D. Hall
At the Freedom Summit, she will address the critical topic of Freedom of Speech in the public domain, shedding light on the pervasive issue of censorship and its impact on this fundamental freedom.

Brian Jones
Jones will explore the intersection of Freedom of Expression and Education at the Freedom Summit. He will offer his insights into the role of educational institutions and campuses as catalysts for social justice movements, highlighting their potential to effect substantial change. However, he will also address the complexities of contemporary discourse, including the emergence of cancel culture and its implications.

Derk Sauer
His insights will delve into the realms of journalism, freedom of information, and political rhetoric, shedding light on the challenges and opportunities faced in safeguarding these fundamental values.

This event is open to all students from universities and universities of applied sciences in Europe. Places are limited, and on a first come, first serve basis. To register, please follow this link.

Photo credit: Annaleen Louwens.