The former deputy prime minister of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, is to address a one-day conference on Islam and human rights at the University of Essex.
Anwar Ibrahim just after he was released from prison
The conference was organised by the university's Malaysian Society.
Mr Ibrahim will speak on the challenges and responses of Islam to human rights questions and terrorism.
Postgraduate student, Swee Seng Yap, said: "The question of Islamic states transforming to modern democracy is an issue of great concern."
The aim of the conference is to promote a dialogue between Islam and campaigners for human rights.
Imprisoned after trials
Mr Seng Yap said: "A quarter of the world's population are Muslims and Islamic countries are not immune to human rights violations.
"We aim to provide a forum to discuss the challenges faced by Islam and human rights campaigners while discussing democratisation and terrorism."
Anwar Ibrahim was detained in 1998 on politically motivated charges of "abuse of power".
Dismissed from his government posts after policy disagreements with former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, he led a series of mass public protests calling for political reform.
After two separate trials Mr Ibrahim was imprisoned but since his release last year, he has campaigned for freedom and democratic reform in south-east Asian countries.
The conference will be held at the university on 4 May.