Instituto Acton's Poverty University shows connection between economic opportunity and human dignity

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On November 9th, Instituto Acton’s Poverty University brought scholars, think tank leaders, and other friends of liberty to a day-long forum in Tucumán, Argentina. The program, which focused on ways to alleviate poverty through free enterprise and investment, featured screenings of the PovertyCure lecture series, lectures from high-profile speakers, and discussions on international development.

The conference attracted more than 80 attendees of various political backgrounds, who heard from a variety of distinguished speakers, including Cecilia G. de Vázquez Ger, executive director of Instituto Acton, who spoke about Acton’s mission and approach to tackling poverty; Gaston Vigo Gasparotti of Akamasoa Argentina, who discussed the organization’s mission to uphold human dignity for all; and Gustavo Hasperué and Gustavo Irrazábal of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina.

Instituto Acton’s philosophy is that men were created in God’s image and they are endowed with a dignity and moral fiber that gives them the right to be in charge of their own lives. These beliefs inform PovertyCure, the organization’s development strategy. At the heart of PovertyCure is a view of people as wealth creators rather than burdensome consumers. Recipients of aid of all kinds have unique talents and aptitudes that they can put to use to create value. This initiative has garnered widespread support: over 400 organizations worldwide affirm the Statement of Principles that guides Acton’s development philosophy.

Poverty University was co-organized with local think tanks Estudiantes para la Libertad (Students for Liberty), Federalismo y Libertad, and UNSTA (Universidad del Norte Santo Tomás de Aquino). This wide array of organizing partners also helped attendees broaden their network, as they were able to connect with local think tanks and friends of liberty. This is essential to Instituto Acton, whose stated mission includes connecting people who have free market ideas with each other. Instituto Acton cooperates closely with Acton Institute, a U.S.-based think tank that promotes free-market policies in accordance with Judeo-Christian values and beliefs, although the two organizations are wholly independent.

Instituto Acton’s next conference, tackling Chile and its current crisis, is scheduled for November 22nd at Universidad Austral in Buenos Aires. Chilean political scientist Claudio Arqueros will speak.

Instituto Acton received an Atlas Network grant in support of Poverty University.