September 29, 2010

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A Personal Conversation with Margaret Thatcher at the European Resource Bank

The 7th Annual European Resource Bank was hosted earlier this month by the TaxPayers' Alliance in London. Atlas's Fernando Men�ndez reports on a very special encounter he had at the Gala Dinner...

From September 7th-10th I attended the European Resource Bank as the new Atlas Vice President for Institute Relations. Events such as these tend to bring together the most active and most promising promoters of classical liberal ideas and the free market. This event was no exception. Just by looking at the attendance list, many prominent defenders of freedom were present: Dr. Arthur Laffer, Daniel Hannan MEP, Fred Smith of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and my own colleague Dr. Tom Palmer among others.

There were also rumors that we would have a special guest at the Gala Dinner and Reception held at London's historic Guildhall. This, as it turned out, was an understatement.

Shortly after the reception started, there was some motion in a small chamber outside the main hall and as I turned to see what the commotion was about I caught a glimpse of our special guest: The Right Honorable, Baroness Margaret Thatcher.

I was standing near the door when the 85-year old former Prime Minister Lady Thatcher was escorted into the main hall. At that point, standing very close, I asked her if she would like help sitting down. She looked up at me, placing her hand in mine, and said, "Oh yes, please."

A moment later, I still had her hand and I got the words out. "Ma'am," I said, "I was born in Cuba and wanted you to know that the Cuban people love you, admire you and respect the work you've done to make the world free." She thanked me, and then looking straight into my eyes she said, "the Cuban people shall also be free." We said a few more pleasantries, but her message overwhelmed me.

For over fifty years the Cuban people have not been free. In fact, the tyranny under which they live has, at times, ground them underfoot and forced many to flee their homeland in search of dignity and liberty. In that time, while the dungeons filled up, many in the West have sung the praises of this corrupt regime. Most of the world has looked the other way, like someone who reacts to an abusive neighbor by closing the windows to keep out the cries for help. It was the same for the people of central and eastern Europe. Thankfully, there were exceptions. Notably, there was Margaret Thatcher, along with Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II, who courageously stood their ground and reminded the oppressed, "you are not forgotten, you are not alone."

As a Cuban who loves liberty and his native land, the presence of the Iron Lady, who is today frail but sharp as a tack, reminded me that her work is not finished. Moreover, our work is not finished and "the Cuban people shall also be free."

Inspired by this story? Read below to learn about the exciting updates in the battle of ideas as we share some quick headlines from your allies in the Atlas network. But first, let us share some details about the fantastic experience that awaits at the 2010 Atlas Liberty Forum and Freedom Dinner in Washington DC (November 9-10)

Upcoming Events

2010 Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner

Join hundreds of freedom's allies at the largest gathering of free market champions from the United States and around the globe.

Atlas's annual Liberty Forum has become a "must-attend" event for members of the worldwide think tank community. Now in its 10th year and moved to November to complement the annual Freedom Dinner, the Liberty Forum is a tremendous opportunity for expanding your networks, learning new ideas and strategies, and getting inspired to work even harder for the cause of liberty.

The Freedom Dinner celebrates the fall of the Berlin Wall and honors the courageous individuals who stood for liberty in the face of communism. The 2010 Liberty Forum will take place at the historic Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington DC on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 9 and 10.

This year's Liberty Forum features...

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist George Will ... education specialists James Tooley of the E.G. West Centre in the United Kingdom and Lisa Keegan of Education Breakthrough Network ... economist Gabriel Calzada of Instituto Juan de Mariana in Spain ... fundraising guru Ann Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald Associates ... public relations sage Rick Berman of Berman and Company ... economist Judy Shelton of Atlas's Sound Money Project ... biochemist and author Terence Kealey of the University of Buckingham ... and Toasts to Freedom from Atlas' think tank partners from around the world.

Register Now!
Network News from Around the World


Say no to protectionism, IMANI (Ghana) director, Franklin Cudjoe, pleads with Ghana's shadow finance minister to resist the temptations of economic nationalism

"Nigeria's population - the ultimate resource, not an economic burden," an article by Thompson Ayodele and Olusegun Sotola of Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (Nigeria)


The Difficulty of Being Good, a new book by Indian public intellectual and historian Gurcharan Das on the subtle art of "dharma," or doing what's right. Das examines the epic poem, Mahabharata, asking the question "Why be good?" Financial Times book review and Das's blog

The Bukit Tunku Society,
a monthly meeting in Kuala Lumpur hosted by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Malaysia) to facilitate the exchange of ideas on how to strengthen the principles and practice of the free society. September's meeting focused on F.A. Hayek's writings and October's meeting will address Islam and liberty


Tea Party movement in the United Kingdom? Matthew Elliott of the TaxPayers' Alliance (UK) in the Daily Telegraph on the prospects of mass demonstrations in Great Britain against the growth of the state

A more liberal Turkey, the 3H Movement (Turkey) will launch its traveling seminar "Freedom on the Road" in October to advocate for less bureaucracy, stronger civil liberties and a smaller government. Turkish citizens voted to reform the constitution in September, empowering Prime Minister Erdogan and placing a check on the power of the military

Unlocking the Small and Medium-size Enterprise (SME) sector in Moldova, the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (Moldova) on streamlining legislation to improve the business environment

"BP: The Epilogue," an article by Carlo Stagnaro of Istituto Bruno Leoni (Italy) on how privatizing mineral resources could minimize future incidents like the BP oil spill

North America

Creating Your Path to a Policy Career, a free guide published by the Institute for Humane Studies with essays by think tank leaders on career advice

Colorado's "Right to Health Care Choice" ballot initiative, a measure introduced by the Independence Institute (Colorado) to change the state's Constitution to protect citizens from being forced to purchase public or private health care insurance

Overturning EPA's Global Warming Rules, an article by Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute on the "motion to stay" filed in the D.C. Court of Appeals

"Arizona Can Rein in Federal Government," the Goldwater Institute (Arizona) on how states can amend the U.S. Constitution to limit government

Latin America
The works of Milton Friedman for Spanish-speakers, has made available an impressive online catalog of the Nobel laureate economist's extensive work

The philosophy of Karl Popper, an interview with Federico Fern�ndez of Fundacion Bases (Argentina) on the late Austrian thinker

Venezuala's opposition claims majority, Mar�a Corina Machado, director of Sumate and Hugo Ch�vez's main opposition won more votes than any candidate in Venezuela's legislative elections this week

What's happening in your part of the world?
Think tank leaders, email with your news of accomplishments and upcoming projects.
Have you attended an Atlas Liberty Caf� (formerly International Thursday)?

If so, please fill out this short survey and tell us how you liked it and where we can improve.

Major Efforts to Advance Liberty in Asia Convene in Jakarta

As part of a week-long series of events to promote liberty in Asia, free market organizations from East and West will convene in Jakarta, Indonesia the first week of October. The week will kick off with the 'Freedom Academy' (October 1-3) hosted by, Atlas's Bahasa Indonesian-language program, in cooperation with the Freedom Institute (Indonesia). Participants in the Academy will be immersed in the ideas of the classical liberal school of thought. Speakers include Atlas's Tom Palmer, Parth Shah of the Centre for Civil Society (India) and several Indonesian experts.

From October 4-6, Atlas is hosting the Asia Youth Enterprise Forum which brings together 35 recent graduates, current students and young professionals who have been selected by Atlas, with the help of its Asian partners. Each participant had to write an essay in order to enter the selection process. 14 Asian countries will be represented. Speakers at the Forum include: Tom Palmer, Parth Shah, Yavnika Khanna of India's Liberal Youth Forum, Guo Yushan of China's Transition Institute, Robin Sitoula from Nepal's Samriddhi: the Property Foundation, and Mirsulzhan Namazaliev and Seyitbek Usmanov from the Central Asia Free Market Institute. Each speaker will give practical how-to/best-practice advice on spreading liberty in their respective countries.

The week will close with the annual Economic Freedom Network Asia Conference, a major networking event held by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Indonesian Institute, and the Freedom Institute (Indonesia), which will take place from October 6-8. The conference will feature discussions on economic growth in Indonesia, India and China, as well as the issue of migration and poverty alleviation in Asian countries.

In addition to these events, several influential books have been translated into Bahasa Indonesian and will be launched throughout the week. Atlas has worked with to translate Fr�d�ric Bastiat's The Law, and will hold a book launch. Ken Schooland, president of the International Society for Individual Liberty, will launch the Indonesian version of his book The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey. Finally, an Indonesian version of the Economic Freedom of the World Report published by the Fraser Institute (Canada) will be launched.

Classical Liberalism, Poverty and Morality

Hot off the Cambridge University Presses is a new book titled Poverty and Morality: Religious and Secular Perspectives, edited by William A. Galston and Peter H. Hoffenberg (Cambridge, 2010), which includes Atlas Vice President for International Programs Tom Palmer's chapter on "Classical Liberalism, Poverty, and Morality."

Description from "This multi-authored book explores how many influential ethical traditions - secular and religious, Western and non-Western - wrestle with the moral dimensions of poverty and the needs of the poor. These traditions include Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, among the religious perspectives; classical liberalism, feminism, liberal-egalitarianism, and Marxism, among the secular; and natural law, which might be claimed by both."
Check it out here...

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