Atlas Network's 2023 Templeton Freedom Award Finalists

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Atlas Network | In collaboration with our global partners

Awarded annually since 2004, Atlas Network’s Templeton Freedom Award is named for the late investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton. This prestigious award honors Sir John’s legacy by recognizing Atlas Network’s partner organizations for exceptional and innovative contributions to the understanding of free enterprise and the advancement of public policies that encourage prosperity, innovation, and human fulfillment. The award is generously supported by Templeton Religion Trust, and is presented live during Atlas Network’s 2023 Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner in New York City. The winning organization receives a US$100,000 grand prize and the runners-up each receive US$20,000.

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African Students for Liberty (Africa)

The freedom movement is growing in Africa like never before, and African Students For Liberty deserves much of the credit. Alumni of their educational and professional development programs have established more than twenty think tanks across the continent. Today, most free market organizations in Africa were founded or are led by former Students For Liberty leaders. Their fast-growing alumni program collaborates with nearly five hundred active SFL alumni throughout the region, and their extremely competitive African Liberty fellowship program has produced numerous writers and pro-liberty policy analysts who have taken up key positions in government. African Students For Liberty’s work has equipped what Ghanaian economist Dr. George Ayittey called Africa’s “cheetah generation” to shape a future where all Africans can enjoy the benefits of freedom and prosperity.

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Bikalpa—An Alternative (Nepal)

Motorbikes are an essential form of transportation in Nepal, but inadequate, and often corrupt, administration of motorbike licensing leaves many drivers waiting years to legally operate a vehicle. To maintain their livelihood, Nepalis are often forced to drive without a license, risking high fines, demands for bribes from officials, and even prison. Working from their homebase in Nepal’s Koshi Province, Bikalpa—An Alternative brought widespread attention to this injustice, spurring popular protests and gaining the attention of millions online. In response, the provincial government expanded the number of offices issuing motorbike licenses, slashing wait times from years to two weeks. By forcing the provincial government to rethink its approach to motorbike licensing, Bikalpa secured the provision of this critical necessity for four and a half million potential riders.

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Foundation for Economic Freedom (The Philippines)

For nearly a century, restrictive laws in the Philippines paved the way for monopolies and stifled foreign investment in telecommunications, transportation, and renewable energy—making these crucial public services less accessible. Thanks to the Foundation for Economic Freedom’s seven-year effort, the Philippine government amended the country's Public Service Act and the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Renewable Energy Act, opening the door to foreign investment and competition in these key industries.

These changes give ordinary Filipinos more affordable and reliable access to wireless broadband internet, mass transportation options, and more. And now, renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and tidal energy can help provide electrification in even the most remote areas. In what was previously the world’s third most restrictive country for foreign investment, market competition is already bringing better services and energy access at lower costs for over one hundred million Filipinos.

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FIRE (United States)

As others have shied away from principled defense of free speech, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression has stepped up, championing First Amendment rights for all Americans. Their Expanded Litigation Program joins with allies across the political spectrum to bring and support legal cases centered on free speech and open expression, with the aim of shaping a robust First Amendment jurisprudence—and FIRE is winning. Since the nonpartisan organization began litigating in 2014, they’ve won twenty-three court cases, struck down thirty-eight overly restrictive campus speech policies, and won nearly three million dollars in damages for victims of censorship. As illiberal institutions and government clamp down on Americans’ right to free expression, FIRE is ensuring that freedom has a voice.

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Instituto Liberal de São Paulo (Brazil)

In a country where millions of people have long faced senseless legal roadblocks to start a small business and make a living, Instituto Liberal de São Paulo's groundbreaking Freedom to Work initiative identifies the Brazilian states and municipalities that failed to implement or need to improve the country's Economic Freedom Law—and then works with policymakers in those jurisdictions to advance the law's implementation or enhance current laws to unleash the potential of Brazil's small and medium enterprises. With much more planned, the project and its partners have already benefited over fourteen million Brazilians with a business environment without burdensome permitting or business licensing requirements, providing everyday people the right to earn a living with their chosen business — or finally receive legal status for a company they've spent years building.

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Lithuanian Free Market Institute (Lithuania)

In Lithuania, overbearing regulations blocked non-EU migrant workers from obtaining legal work permits that could solve the country’s growing labor shortage. Lithuanian Free Market Institute provided a multidisciplinary framework for reducing labor migration rules and helped to change the climate of opinion on demographic and labor market solutions. Regulations and wait times for migrant workers were slashed, providing a boost to Lithuania’s economy and more job opportunities for Lithuanians and migrant workers alike. This shift in public policy and mindset now paves the way for further regulatory easing in labor migration and provides a blueprint for deregulation in other areas of public administration.

“This year’s crop of Templeton Freedom Award finalists represents the best of the best within the global freedom movement,” said Brad Lips, CEO of Atlas Network. “From the United States to Asia, Europe, and Latin America, these six organizations have made a tangible difference for millions of people in their respective countries, reaffirming individual liberty in local communities that desperately need it. Atlas Network looks forward to honoring all six finalists at our upcoming Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner, and supporting those who follow in their footsteps next year and beyond.”