Postponement: Due to the unavailability of Mr. Stephen Bannon this event is postponed until further notice.


Welcome Message

We warmly welcome you to the Inaugural Athenian Parrhesia Free-Speech Forum. The topic will be “The Future of Populism”, and the Keynote Speaker will be Mr. Stephen Kevin Bannon. The event will be held at University of Montana, USA, December 11th, at 4:00PM and is free of charge for University of Montana faculty, students, and staff as well as residents of Montana.


Keynote Speaker: Stephen Kevin Bannon

Topic: The Future of Populism

Stephen Kevin Bannon is an American political strategist, media executive, and filmmaker  who was CEO of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor at the White House. He is the former Executive Chairman of Breitbart News. A former Goldman Sachs M&A banker, Bannon has a Master’s degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is a former Surface Warfare Officer serving aboard the USS Paul F. Foster (DD-964) in the western Pacific, Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf.

Stephen Bannon was born in Virginia and earned his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in 1976. After graduation from Virginia Tech he joined the U.S. Navy, serving on destroyers and then as a special assistant to the chief of Naval operations at the Pentagon.

Leaving the Navy, he entered Harvard Business School in 1983 and after graduation landed a job with the investment bank Goldman Sachs. He then started his own media investment firm, Bannon & Company; while there he served as a dealmaker for the sale of Castle Rock Entertainment, and in return received royalties from the TV show Seinfeld.

Bannon, went to work in Hong Kong on 2005 at a computer entertainment called Internet Gaming Entertainment.

In 2012, Bannon was named Executive Chairman of Brietbart News. In August of 2016, Bannon left his job at Breitbart when Donald Trump named him the chief executive of his presidential campaign; when Trump scored his win that November, Bannon became a key cog in the incoming administration.


Panel Speaker and Debater: Professor Michel Valentin

Michel Valentin, retired University of Montana Professor of French, works as a cultural and political analyst for EPIS (Existential Psychoanalytical Institute and Society), using the tools of contemporary criticism, and especially Lacanian psychoanalysis. He has written on topics ranging from film analysis (on Hitchcock, Welles…), Native American violence (as residue of White colonial, genocidal violence), to human sexuality, Orientalism in French Literature, Joan of Arc (as hysteric terrorist of the sublime), and many other topics. Valentin has also abundantly commented, via the print Media, on the war waged by corporate America on Liberal Arts Education in American universities, for utilitarian motives and philistine resentment. Following a first book on the phenomenon of postmodern populism (“Trumpism: A Cultural Psycho-Genesis or The Lost Souls of Mid-America and the Braggadocio of Manhattan”—EPIS Press) he is presently finishing a second book (“The Histrion of Manhattan”), as well as a book on postmodern, fundamentalist terrorism. His future project is a book on contemporary neo-positivism as the vengeful return of 19th century determinism via High-Tech capitalism. He resides in Missoula (Montana) where he spends his time hiking, traveling, reading, writing and tutoring while pondering on the destiny of our “hazardous civilization.”


Panel Speaker and Debater: Professor Shlomo Dubnov 

Shlomo Dubnov is a Professor in UCSD Computer Music and is an affiliate faculty in Computer Science and Engineering. He graduated from the Rubin Music Academy in Jerusalem in composition and holds a doctorate in computer science from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He is a graduate of the prestigious Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Talpiot program. Prior to joining UCSD, he served as a researcher at the world-renowned Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music (IRCAM), in Paris, and headed the multimedia track for the Department of Communication Systems Engineering at Ben-Gurion University, in Israel. In UCSD Dr. Dubnov conducts numerous research and creative projects on applications of Artificial Intelligence for music, entertainment and learning technologies. He is a Senior Member of IEEE and serves as a Lead Editor for ACM Computers in Entertainment. He is currently a director of the Center for Research in Entertainment and Learning at UCSD’s Qualcomm Institute and teaches in the Music and Interdisciplinary Computing in the Arts programs. He was a visiting Professor in KEIO University in Japan and University of Bordeaux, France. As a concerned academic, Dr. Dubnov has been active in free speech and anti-BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) forums, serving on board of several academic non- profit organizations working to build an international community of scholars dedicated to promoting academic integrity that hold to a standard of academic free speech, where any view that wishes to be heard must also submit to rational, empirically-grounded criticism. He has published editorials on the topic and contributed to a book on Anti- Zionism on campus published by Indiana University Press.


Panel Speaker and Debater: Jane Smith

Jane Smith was born and grew up in the Eastern Block under the Communist regime. She now lives in the USA. She holds a master’s degree in anthropology from a western University. She will be graduating from a law school this December. Her specialization is in Intellectual Property. As the Eastern European educational system was on a much higher level than in the
USA and the West, her high school diploma is an equivalent to a couple of American bachelor degrees.

Jane will bring to this conference a different perspective seldom discussed in the West – an empirical experience of living under communism/socialism and surviving marshal law and starvation rather than a theoretical discourse on political, social and economic changes that occurred in Eastern European countries. She will compare Eastern and Western strategies used to control people’s mind and free speech. She will discuss communism versus populism and the concept of freedom of speech where constraint under the old system is replaced by another form of constraint of the new system.

Her topic will be “Prohibition of all individualistic expression and the development of the totalitarian mind: Marx, Lenin and the death of democracy.”

Jane speaks English as a second language.


Organizing Chair: Professor Adrian David Cheok

Bio is at


Time and Location

University of Montana

December 11th, 2018, 4:00PM


Please register at The event is free of charge for University of Montana faculty, students, and staff, as well as residents of Montana.


 Athenian Parrhesia 

“In classical rhetoric, parrhesia is free, frank, and fearless speech. In ancient Greek thought, speaking with parrhesia meant “saying everything” or “speaking one’s mind.” “An intolerance of parrhesia,” notes S. Sara Monoson, “marked tyranny of both the Hellenic and Persian varieties in the Athenian view. . . . The coupling of freedom and parrhesia in the democratic self-image . . . functioned to assert two things: the critical attitude appropriate to a democratic citizen, and the open life promised by democracy” (Plato’s Democratic Entanglements, 2000, Richard Nordquist Professor Emeritus at Armstrong State University)

Example of parrhesia  in the the fearless speech of Malcolm X“Malcolm X is the great example of parrhesia in the black prophetic tradition. The term goes back to line 24A of Plato’s Apology, where Socrates says, the cause of my unpopularity was my parrhesia, my fearless speech, my frank speech, my plain speech, my unintimidated speech. The hip hop generation talks about ‘keeping it real.’ Malcolm was as real as it gets. James Brown talked about ‘make it funky.’ Malcolm was always. ‘Bring in the funk, bring in the truth, bring in the reality. . . . “When Malcom looked at black life in America, he saw wasted potential; he saw unrealized aims. This kind of prophetic witness can never be crushed. There was no one like him in terms of having the courage to risk life and limb to speak such painful truths about America.”
(Cornel West, “Firebrand.” Smithsonian, February 2015)