2019 Think Tank Shark Tank finalists announced


Atlas Network is delighted to announce that Connor Boyack of Libertas Institute in the United States, Dhananath Fernando of Sri Lanka’s Advocata Institute, and Adriana Pineda of Venezuela’s CEDICE Futuro have been named finalists in the 2019 Think Tank Shark Tank competition. The winner, who will be chosen by a panel of judges comprised of thought leaders in the freedom movement, will receive a $25,000 prize in project seed funding. Think Tank Shark Tank is sponsored by the Smith Family Foundation and will be held during Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner on Nov. 6–7 in New York City.

2019 Finalists:

Connor Boyack

President of Libertas Institute

Project: “Free Market Rules: A Home Curriculum for Families”

Free Market Rules is a first-of-its-kind family curriculum to learn free-market economics. Building on the Tuttle Twins brand, Libertas will provide weekly lessons for children of all ages (and their parents!) to learn the ideas of a free society together, with relevant and engaging content, activities, and dinner conversation starters. A stream of curated content empowers parents to introduce time-tested ideas to their children and have meaningful conversations about ideas that matter. Over time, these children can continue learning about the ideas through the resources provided and the connections Libertas can make to help them identify other opportunities and organizations of interest as they mature and want to further engage in the fight for freedom.

Connor Boyack is president of Libertas Institute, a free-market think tank in Utah. He has spearheaded a number of successful policy reforms in education reform, civil liberties, government transparency, business deregulation, personal freedom, and more. A public speaker and author of 20 books, Connor is best known for the Tuttle Twins books, a children’s series introducing young readers to economic, political, and civic principles. Boyack lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and two homeschooled children.

Dhananath Fernando

COO of Advocata Institute

Project: “Freedom Manifesto”

Freedom Manifesto is a program designed to help political parties incorporate free-market solutions into their platforms by analyzing the needs of different segments of voters. In Sri Lanka, political manifestos guide party decision-making, but these documents are often created based on the intuition of party leadership rather than on quantifiable needs. With scientific polling and analysis of targeted voter segments, Freedom Manifesto can become an invaluable resource for political parties by providing hard data about the needs of voters.

Dhananath Fernando is the co-founder and current chief operating officer of Advocata Institute, an economic policy think tank in Sri Lanka. He received his bachelor’s degree in Bio-Sciences at the University of Colombo and is an alumnus of Atlas Network’s Think Tank MBA.

He is one of the curators of the AK Lit Fest, a trilingual Literary Festival focused on shining a light on local authors in Sri Lanka, and hosts two television shows: Public Space Sri Lanka, a one-on-one weekly TV discussion with politicians on Art TV; and Wake Up With Art, a morning news show. He was the winner of Atlas Network’s Asia Think Tank Shark Tank Competition in 2018.

Adriana Pineda

Junior Research Fellow at CEDICE Libertad and Program Coordinator of CEDICE Futuro

Project: “Hazlitt Project”

With populism and leftist parties on the rise again in Latin America, the Hazlett Project is designed to help journalists develop and promote an understanding of free-market principles. The online platform, named for economist Henry Hazlett, will present ways to deliver economic concepts in lay terms. Through video lessons and online Q&As, CEDICE hopes to reach 400 journalists and help build a more positive free-market perspectives in Venezuela’s media.

Adriana Pineda received her B.S. in International Relations, graduating with honors. She has been working for CEDICE Libertad for almost 2 years, becoming a Junior Research Fellow in June 2018 and Coordinator of the program “CEDICE Futuro” in October of the same year. She is a professor of Methodology at the Universidad Central de Venezuela in the School of International Relations. Pineda was a CATO Institute’s Bastiat Scholar and is an alumna of the CATO University College of Economics. She currently represents CEDICE Futuro in interviews, workshops and meetings, and she is on the journalism team of CEDICE’s weekly newsletter for the English-speaking community about Venezuela’s situation, “Our Voices”.