By ABBY BIESMAN
News & Features Editor
The Foreign Affairs Symposium (FAS) announced Wednesday that its headline event will be “A Live Virtual Discussion with Edward Snowden.”
He will speak Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016 in Shriver Hall.
FAS cannot disclose how they got in contact with Snowden.
In 2013, Snowden leaked secret documents from the NSA about American surveillance and intelligence programs, most notably P.R.I.S.M., to the media. Snowden left the United States to avoid being arrested for treason and sought asylum in Russia where he currently resides.
FAS Executive Directors and juniors Mona Jia, Jack Laylin and Alex Sadler released a group statement commenting on reception of the announcement.
“I think the student reaction is a highly positive one,” they wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “I think we, as the Hopkins community, are excited and proud to be hosting such a powerful voice in today’s political environment.”
They also commented on the potential for backlash that FAS could receive by hosting Snowden.
“While there is definitely a chance for there to be protests surrounding this event, I think it’s an assumed risk for any speaker coming to campus. For us, this is an opportunity for Hopkins students to listen to the source of the NSA leak scandal. Agree or disagree, Snowden has been the center of attention for over two years now. We don’t mind protests or backlash,” they wrote. “To those who don’t agree with Mr. Snowden, we encourage you to come to his event on February 17th and ask the hard hitting questions. Right now we’re very excited to be generating political discourse on the Hopkins campus by bringing such an influential guest speaker.”
FAS expects to announce the rest of the lineup at the beginning of the spring semester.