Think tank leaders gather in Budapest to push for innovation in freedom advocacy

Budapest CE Os
Michael Carnuccio, of E Foundation for Oklahoma ; John Tillman, of Illinois Policy Institute; Jon Caldera, of Independence Institute; and Robert Alt, of The Buckeye Institute stand on the symbolic bridge to democracy which represents the complicated history of Hungary's march toward freedom.

One of the improvised strongholds during Hungary's anti-Soviet revolution in October 1956 was the Corvin cinema in central Budapest. Here, ordinary citizens joined hometown soldiers in a spontaneous attempt to take back their government. More recently, the site served as a memorable stop and cause for reflection for a gathering of think tank CEOs from the United States and Europe in Atlas Network’s annual CEO Summit.

Lessons from that poignant time in history informed this year's Transatlantic CEO Summit where think tank leaders convened in Budapest prior to Europe Liberty Forum to workshop their bold new plans for increasing liberty on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean next year.

"We prioritize this event precisely because we have learned that talented think tank leaders draw so much inspiration and motivation primarily from equally talented peers," explained Brad Lips, Atlas Network's CEO, at the conclusion of the Summit. "We know that when we push each other innovation is often the result."

Think Tank CEOs visit Corvin cinema – a historic site of Hungarian resistance to the Soviet Union during the revolution of 1956 – to reflect ahead of Europe Liberty Forum.

"I am now energized and even more motivated to go back to my office to try some of the new ideas I came up with during the invaluable workshop discussions," explained Svetla Kostadinova, CEO of Institute of Market Economics in Bulgaria.

Pictured left to right: Martin Agerup, CEPOS, Denmark; Terry Kibbe, Free the People, United States; Brad Lips, Atlas Network, United States; Joe Lehman, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, United States.

"The impact of this year's Transatlantic CEO summit will pay off for years to come, both in Europe and the US,” said John Tillman, CEO of Illinois Policy Institute. “Rather than esoteric policy discussions, we dug into the nuts and bolts of leadership, management, strategy, innovation and fundraising. The Atlas Network team changed the format this year to ensure that every CEO participated by presenting, by critiquing, by creating, and by mutual mentorship. We all had the joy of seeing, right before our eyes, the growth we each had experienced over the past couple of years – growth in thinking big, growth in resources, and most importantly, growth in impact. Sacrificing a week is a real cost, but the ROI has been enormous."

Terry Kibbe, CEO of Free the People, workshops a bold, new idea with fellow CEOs.

John Tillman, CEO of Illinois Policy Institute, offers as a case study one of his think tank's recent achievements.

Mark Littlewood, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, explains his strategy for success in 2018.

"I can't thank you enough for the support you give the freedom movement, particularly to those who need to lead it. I feel sure that Sir Antony Fisher would be proud as hell. Given he's our founder too, the elegance, smartness and incisiveness of what Atlas Network does in this field just makes me want to up my game more."
—Mark Littlewood, General Director, Institute of Economic Affairs, UK

"This was splendid. I came back home with plenty new knowledge and inspiration. It is great to learn the best practices from the other CEOs and also feel that perhaps I might inspire my fellow think tankers. After this meeting I had that great feeling that this committed and compact group combining powers really represents a strong voice in making the cause for freedom more vivid."
—Richard Durana, Director, INESS, Slovakia

"Atlas Network has managed to develop this into an incredibly valuable network for me. A majority of the participants now know each other well and have built trust that makes it possible to share valuable knowledge and information. This meeting has given me several extremely valuable ideas and insights that I can use to increase the effectiveness of my think tank."
—Martin Agerup, Executive Director, CEPOS, Denmark

"Atlas Network has cracked the code, leveraging relative position to challenge passionate, entrepreneurial leaders which is leading to large scale impact in the global cause for liberty."
—Michael Carnuccio, President and CEO, E Foundation of Oklahoma, United States

"Fantastic, creative and rich experience. Looking towards working together on our improved and shared projects."
—Maryan Zablotskyy, Director, Ukrainian Economic Freedom Foundation

"CEO exchanges are very much like donor relationships. Investment of time, genuinely spent with sincere curiosity, pays off in ways you cannot always predict and almost always surprises in impact."
—John Tillman, CEO, Illinois Policy Institute, United States

"Since I got my current position as CEO I have gone through leadership programs and attended several conferences on policy development. The Atlas Network CEO of summit is the only one that combines all the features of my work in a splendidly rewarding two-day exercise. I learn more in 24 hours than I thought possible, returning home full of inspiration and new ideas."
—Karin Svanborg-Sjovall, CEO, Timbro, Sweden

"The format and fast pace of this year's summit made it the best one yet. Thank you!"
—Joe Lehman, President, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, United States