Chris Finan

Executive Director

Christopher Finan is NCAC’s executive director. He previously served as president of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFE), the bookseller’s voice in the fight against censorship. He has been an advocate for free expression since 1982. Prior to joining ABFE, he was executive director of Media Coalition, a trade association that defends the First Amendment rights of producers and distributors of media. He is a former chair of NCAC and Media Coalition. He was a trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation and received its Roll of Honor Award in 2011.

A native of Cleveland, Chris is a graduate of Antioch College. After working as a newspaper reporter, he studied American history at Columbia University where he received his PhD.

He is the author of From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act: A History of the Fight for Free Speech in America (Beacon Press), which won the 2008 Eli Oboler Award of the American Library Association. He also wrote Alfred E. Smith: The Happy Warrior (Hill and Wang) and edited National Security and Free Speech: The Debate Since 9/11 (IDEBATE Press), a reader for high school students. The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation honored the latter with its First Amendment Award. His latest book is Drunks: The Story of Alcoholism and the Birth of Recovery (Beacon Press).

Chris is married to Pat Willard, author of several food histories, including America Eats! On the Road with the W.P.A.–The First Fries, Box Supper Socials, and Chitlin’ Feasts that Define Real American Food (Bloomsbury).  They have two sons and live in Brooklyn.

chris@ncac.org

Svetlana Mintcheva

Director of Programs

Svetlana Mintcheva joined NCAC after years of academic teaching and research on post World War II art and literature. Having spent a large part of her academic career analyzing provocative art and its socio-political contexts, she is happy to be on the front lines protecting the coexistence of a diversity of voices in the cultural sphere. Svetlana has published and presented multiple papers on contemporary art and writing — most recently, she co-edited Censoring Culture: Contemporary Threats to Free Expression (2006, The New Press). She curated the 2007 exhibition “Filth, Treason, Blasphemy?: Museums and Censorship,” at the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum in Chicago, IL and conceived “Exposing the Censor Within,” a traveling interactive public art installation, which opened in California in March of 2007. 

An academic and an activist, Mintcheva has taught literature and critical theory at the University of Sofia, Bulgaria and at Duke University, from which she received her Ph.D. in critical theory in 1999. She currently teaches part-time at New York University. Her academic research and writing focus on postmodern literature and aesthetic provocations as well as issues in censorship and ethics.

svetlana@ncac.org

Josh Corday

Director of Development

josh@ncac.org

Nora Pelizzari

Director of Communications

Nora Pelizzari is a storyteller with over a decade of communications, editing and marketing experience. She has created and edited children’s and young adult books, working on numerous NYTimes bestsellers, at both HarperCollins Children’s Books and Alloy Entertainment. After moving to Ireland for graduate school, she joined Trinity College Dublin’s Global Relations Office as the university’s International Marketing Officer. Most recently, she managed marketing, communications and business development at a major international law firm. Nora holds a BS in English and marketing from Boston College and an MPhil in popular literature from Trinity College Dublin. Her academic interests focus on the intersection of culture, media and social change, particularly the changing place of adolescence and adolescents in popular culture.

nora@ncac.org

Gordon Danning

Program Associate, Youth Free Expression Program

Gordon Danning has a background in both law and K-12 education.  He obtained a JD from the University of California, Berkeley but decided not to practice law and instead taught Social Studies for many years at a public high school in Oakland, California.  He has also worked for more than 25 years on an occasional basis doing research and writing for criminal defense attorneys who represent indigent defendants in Los Angeles County.

He relocated to New York in 2012 to pursue doctoral work in Political Science, and immediately before coming to NCAC he served as the History Research Fellow at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, where he was tasked with researching the connection, if any, between “hate speech” and political violence.  He has published several academic and law review articles on issues relating to free speech, including Did Radio RTLM Really Contribute Meaningfully to the Rwandan Genocide? Using Qualitative Information to Improve Causal Inference From Measures of Media Availability; “It Ain’t So Much the Things We Don’t Know That Get Us in Trouble. It’s the Things We Know that Ain’t So”: The Dubious Intellectual Foundations of the Claim that “Hate Speech” Causes Political Violence; Is the Cure Worse Than the Disease? Censorship of Hate Speech May Well Increase Violence; and Freedom of Speech in Public Schools: Using Communications Analysis To Eliminate The Role of Educational Ideology.

gordon@ncac.org

Lauren Truong

Development & Communications Coordinator

Lauren Truong currently works as the Development & Communications Coordinator at NCAC and is interested in the intersection of free speech, technology, and global human rights. Prior to joining NCAC, she served in the Peace Corps in Armenia, where she taught English to rural Armenian youth and facilitated sessions on gender equality, climate change, and leadership development.

lauren@ncac.org

Barbara Pyles

Business Manager

barbara@ncac.org