November 23, 2010

Highlights logo
vimeoyoutubeflickrfacebooktwitterRuth Peterstoolkit icon
Liberty Forum Energizes, Inspires

If you were at the Atlas Liberty Forum and Freedom Dinner, you could not help but feel the buzz of positive energy and ideas being exchanged among friends in the freedom movement. The two-day event held over November 9-10 in Washington D.C. brought together more than 340 individuals, representing more than 30 countries.

At the Freedom Dinner, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist George Will offered encouraging words about the prospects for returning to a path of limited government, and saluted those in the audience. Will said, "What Atlas understands is the connection between free markets, liberty, and the creation of a character that makes a free society work."

The Dinner was capped by four inspired "Toasts to Freedom" from Alvaro Vargas Llosa, Giancarlo Ibarguen, Kris Mauren and Linda Whetstone -- all of whom also used the occasion to toast Atlas President Alex Chafuen. The Atlas team and friends in the worldwide network surprised Alex with a gift in his honor, as he passed the milestone of 25 years working to advance the Atlas mission. Read "25 Years and Counting: A Tribute to Alejandro Chafuen."

The Liberty Forum itself kicked off with a fun "speed networking" session that helps attendees get to know their peers advancing the cause of liberty, and then featured 14 different sessions which covered policy topics (reigning in government spending, achieving sound money, promoting educational freedom, expanding energy options) and strategies for think tank success (communications messaging, doing more with less, effective student outreach, applying business principles to think tank work). The sessions also showcased inspiring freedom champions who have had a real impact on the climate of ideas, as well as others beginning to make progress under very difficult circumstances.

There were two exciting luncheon programs within the Liberty Forum. The first honored the winners of the 2010 Templeton Freedom Awards, and featured Gabriel Calzada of Instituto Juan de Mariana in Spain, who told the amazing story of how his small think tank in Madrid changed the debate over U.S. green energy policy. The next day, Atlas delivered a special luncheon conversation featuring luminaries of the think tank world -- Ed Crane (Cato Institute), Giancarlo Ibarguen (Universidad Francisco Marroqu�n), Kris Mauren (Acton Institute), and Chip Mellor (Institute for Justice). Atlas board member John Blundell led an insightful conversation with this distinguished panel about the ingredients that fuel successful think tanks. Between these luncheons, on the night of November 9, Atlas celebrated the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall by viewing a film, Rockin' the Wall, and listening to performances by talented musicians who also happen to run think tanks in the Atlas network.

Some of the attendees at Liberty Forum also participated in Atlas's Think Tank 101 training program, which was held in the days leading up the major event. Some stayed on to participate in additional programs separately organized afterward by the Ayn Rand Institute and the Cato Institute. The combined program provided opportunities for discovering new ideas, new strategies, and new partners for advancing the ideas of a free society.

2010 Liberty Forum and Freedom Dinner in Photos

The next Liberty Forum will take place November 8-10, 2011, with Nobel Prize-winner Mario Vargas Llosa as the keynote speaker at the Freedom Dinner. Atlas's next major networking conference will be The Atlas Experience held in Dallas on April 27-28, 2011, featuring author of In Defense of Global Capitalism and Financial Fiasco, Johan Norberg.

Read below to learn more about Atlas's Sound Money Project, India's Freedom Champion and Europe's debt crises. But first, some important deadlines for Atlas training programs and some quick headlines from your allies in the Atlas network.

Upcoming Deadlines

Deadline for the 2010 Fisher Awards, December 1st!

In 1990 Atlas established the Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Awards to commemorate Atlas's founder's ideals and achievements. The Fisher Award recognizes institutes that have published a book, magazine, report, monograph or study that, in the opinion of the judges, made the greatest contribution to public understanding of the free society in the past two years. The deadline to enter is December 1. The winning institute receives a US$10,000. The award ceremony will take place in April 2011 at The Atlas Experience in Dallas, Texas. Contact Antonie Hodge at for more information.

Think Tank MBA Deadline is December 15!

Think Tank MBA is the most comprehensive training program available for think tank leaders. Held over a two-week period in the suburbs of Washington DC, the TTMBA, as it's known, immerses participants in the task of developing and refining a strategic plan that could be used for their institute or program back home. The course involves interactive discussions, classroom exercises, a challenging day-long group project, and lectures from distinguished outside speakers. The deadline to apply is December 15! Click here to apply...
Network News from Around the World


mPedigree wins Global Security Award for start-up enterprises, the mobile technology firm that allows consumers to ensure drugs aren't counterfeit was founded by IMANI (Ghana) Director of Development, Bright Simons

"Exchange controls are an apartheid relic," Jasson Urbach of the Free Market Foundation (South Africa) argues for abolishing foreign exchange controls


"Cultivating minds with fresh ideas," an article in the Malaysian online New Straits Times on the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affiairs (Malaysia) which runs Atlas's Bahasa Indonesia-language platform,


Cuban blogger wins $50,000 freedom prize, the Danish think tank CEPOS, a recipient of Atlas's Fisher Venture Grant, awarded
Yoani S�nchez with its Freedom Award. S�nchez is author of the blog Generaci�n Y and was nominated by Human Rights Foundation President Thor Halvorssen

Small Government = Good Government, the title of a conference held in Bratislava on November 2 by the Institute for Economic and Social Studies (Slovakia) in cooperation with the Slovak Association for Knowledge Society. The event attracted over 200 attendees and featured speakers such as Slovak Finance Minister Ivan Miklos, Mercatus Center's Maurice McTigue and Jan Oravek of the Hayek Foundation

And the winners are..., the International Policy Network (UK) has awarded Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal and James Delingpole of the 2010 Bastiat Prize for Journalism

Italian debt clock, launched by Istituto Bruno Leoni (Italy), the counter will provide a minute-by-minute estimate of the public debt which as of June was €1,838,296,063,250 or €30,724 for every Italian (€80,327 for every working Italian).

Middle East

Kareem freed!,
Egyptian blogger Abdel Kareem Nabil Soliman, who spent four years in prison for insulting Islam and defaming President Mubarak, has been released

North America

Overdose: The Next Financial Crisis, the film explaining the causes of the global recession, based on the Cato-published book Financial Fiasco by Johan Norberg, is now available in full-length on YouTube. Watch it here

TSA needs a risk-based approach to airport security, says Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation (US). Attendees of the 2010 Atlas Experience in Miami heard Poole explain his free-market alternatives to conventional top-down approaches to airport security. As disgruntled passengers deal with increasingly intrusive security measures, Poole's work is increasingly relevant.

Defending free speech on campus, Chris Schafer, director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation on the Ontario-based television program The Michael Coren Show

Latin America

Celebrating 20 years of Libertad y Desarrollo, the Chilean think tank will hold its 20th anniversary event on December 18-19 in Santiago and will feature Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, former Spanish President Jos� Mar�a Aznar, former Colombian President �lvaro Uribe and current Chilean President Sebasti�n Pi�era. Also, LyD is holding a liberty workshop, Universidad de Verano El Cato-Lyd, in conjunction with the Cato Institute, in Santiago from December 14-16

Virtue and Civil Participation in Latin America, Instituto Democracia y Mercado (Chile) in collaboration with the Leadership Institute (US) will hold a program in Arlington, Virginia from November 28-December 3 on public policy, technology, leadership and public participation

Liberty and security in Peru, Instituto Pol�tico para la Libertad is holding a conference titled "Freedom: A perspective on security" in Lima on December 8

What's happening in your part of the world?
Think tank leaders, email with your news of accomplishments and upcoming projects.
Atlas Publishes A Guide to Sound Money

Discord at the G-20 Summit has pushed the topic of Sound Money onto the front pages, making the release of A Guide to Sound Money (written by Atlas fellow Judy Shelton, and co-published by Atlas and FreedomWorks) particularly timely. The Guide is available here as a PDF download on Atlas's website, and will be formally launched as part of an event on Capitol Hill on December 7. The growing interest in the topic of Sound Money was evident at the Atlas Liberty Forum, which featured a policy session which is summarized by Atlas fellow Tom Duncan in the article, "Getting On Track." Atlas is interested in learning what other organizations are doing to introduce new ideas or raise awareness of mounting problems in regard to monetary policy. Contact to update us and explore possible synergies.

Atlas's Leonard Liggio on "The Politics of the Irish Financial Crisis"

"The current economic crisis in Ireland has a political dimension ... [The country] has been able to attract foreign investment in production in Ireland with a low corporation tax. It had drawn revenue strongly from a tax on real estate transactions which now have disappeared. The EU powers want Ireland to increase its corporation tax so as not to be competitive with the continental states." Keep reading...

Freedom Champions Video Series, This Month: Gurcharan Das

The first edition of Atlas's latest video series "Freedom Champions" featured Africa's Adedayo Thomas and was spotlighted in the non-profit section of YouTube and received almost 12,000 views. See it here. This month's edition interviews Gurcharan Das, author of the best-selling India Unbound and his most recent book, The Difficulty of Being Good, is on the subtle art of "dharma," or doing what's right. Das examines the epic poem, Mahabharata, asking the question "Why be good?" He is also a historian and public intellectual that champions school choice and classical liberal reforms in India. As chairman of the Centre for Civil Society (India), Das has been a pioneer of India's school voucher program. In 2009, the Indian government adopted many of the education reforms that CSS was advocating. Watch this video in Atlas's "Freedom Champions" series on Gurcharan Das.

Think Tank 101 Trains 19 Leaders from 14 Countries

Atlas's 2010 Think Tank 101 program was held November 6-8 in Washington D.C. Nineteen participants from 14 different countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East came together to re-charge their batteries and re-visit the ideas of liberty that motivate their work. After a welcome dinner, the participants took part in an Ideas Colloquium moderated by Liberty Fund's Jennifer Thompson. Articles by F.A. Hayek and James M. Buchanan generated questions about the precise definition of intellectuals influencing the climate of opinion in today's blogosphere. Attendees participated in sessions ranging from planning, the principles of leadership, and outcomes measurement. Montreal Economic Institute president Michel Kelly-Gagnon led three critical sessions on positioning one's think tank, the key aspects of relational fundraising and working successfully with boards. Yarden Gazit of the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies said of the program, "While there are no simple or easy answers to the challenges my institute faces, the guidance provided at Think Tank 101 helped me think more clearly about the steps we must take to address them. By posing the right questions, the program may have saved us from inefficient use of our limited resources." See pictures here. Click here to read more about this year's program. To be considered for next year's Think Tank 101, email

Europe's Economic Armageddon and Frank Dik�tteron on Mao's Great Famine

Emmanuel Martin, director of Atlas's French-language platform,, was interviewed in a Christian Broadcasting Network article online about the consequences of the European welfare state and the current debt crises in the European Union. "[The big problem with the French is] they've been brainwashed by politicians that the welfare state is like Santa Claus when in fact it's not," Martin said. "Half the population in France does not pay income tax." Read the full article, "The Welfare State: Europe's Economic Armageddon" here. Also, Martin recently interviewed Professor Frank Dik�tteron, author of Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, on the consequences of collectivism. Listen in English here, or read French excerpts here.

Atlas Fellow Deroy Murdock on "Stossel" discussing Political Correctness and in NRO on China-bashing

Deroy Murdock appeared on the Fox Business Channel show "Stossel" discussing "Being Politically Correct: Have we gone too far?" on November 11th. View the segment here. Also, read Murdock's recent article in the National Review Online, "Stop Slamming China." Murdock says, "Beijing's exports should be no more surprising than a home delivery of wonton soup ordered from a local Chinese restaurant. Chinese-made goods are here because Americans demand them." Read it here...

donate button atlas logo small

Contact Information

phone: 202.449.8449
fax: 202.280.1259
address: 1201 L St. NW, Washington, DC 20005
Forward this email to a Friend