The 2024 Russell Kirk Lecture featuring Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Event Global Politics
Event Global Politics

March 12, 2024 The 2024 Russell Kirk Lecture featuring Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Co-Hosted by Alliance Defending Freedom

In her lecture titled “Defining Civilization Down,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali will discuss the current conflict in the Middle East, the West’s problematic response to that conflict, and how that response dramatizes an ongoing regression within Western politics and culture.

Tuesday, Mar 12, 2024

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

The Heritage Foundation

208 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, DC


The Heritage Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom are honored to announce that the renowned author and social activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali will deliver the 2024 Russell Kirk Lecture. Hirsi Ali has received innumerable awards and honors for her courageous opposition to political Islamism and vigorous advocacy of the besieged Western traditions of freedom of religion, inquiry, and speech. Her Russell Kirk Lecture will be an important extension of her thinking to the current upheavals in the Middle East and in Western culture and politics.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia in 1969 and was raised there, in Saudi Arabia, and in Kenya. In 1992, en route to an arranged marriage to a distant cousin, Hirsi Ali escaped to the Netherlands, where she eventually became a leading member of the Dutch Parliament. She came to the United States in 2006, accepting a fellowship at the American Enterprise Institute, and became an American citizen in 2013. Her dramatic life story and the evolution of her political thinking are related in her best-selling books Infidel (2006), Nomad (2010), Heretic (2015), and Prey (2021). She is a prolific essayist, and her recent “Why I Am Now a Christian” (UnHerd, Nov. 11, 2023) has attracted worldwide attention. Presently, Hirsi Ali is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and founder of the AHA Foundation.

The namesake of the lecture, famed scholar Russell Kirk (1918–1994), established the philosophical foundations of the modern conservative movement with his landmark books The Conservative Mind (1953) and The Roots of American Order (1974). He was instrumental in the founding of National Review and Modern Age and was for many years a distinguished fellow of The Heritage Foundation.

Kirk’s political philosophy, summarized in his “six cannons of conservatism,” emphasized tradition and convention, transcendence and piety, political prudence, and ordered liberty. His application of those canons to contemporary issues, in a steady stream of essays, lectures, and newspaper columns, was always noteworthy and often provocative and controversial. Today, his works and legacy are being preserved and advanced by The Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal.

The Russell Kirk Lecture Series recognizes eminent thinkers in the tradition of “the father of American conservatism.” Previous lecturers are Bishop Robert Barron, Robert George, Roger Scruton, Shelby Steele, George Nash, Robert Reilly, David Goldman, Roger Kimball, and Gary Saul Morson.

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