Top 10 moments from #LFFD17

LFFD17 toast

A special edition of World10, highlighting the top 10 moments from Atlas Network's 2017 Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner. Special thanks to the Smith Family Foundation, John Templeton Foundation, Templeton Religion Trust, & the rest of our generous sponsors for making Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner possible. Above: British MEP Daniel Hannan delivers the Toast to Freedom at Freedom Dinner 2017.

Chicken, global bird of freedom (dinner)

The historic Capitale was bursting at the seams with more than 650 people from 50 countries when Daniel Hannan paid homage in his Toast to Freedom to Atlas Network’s founder, Sir Antony Fisher, who once was a very successful chicken farmer. “Chickens are not exactly the eagle, the American crest, and yet under their feathers, they embody freedom,” said Hannan. He went on to describe how without free trade, a chicken sandwich would likely be out of reach for most people in the world. Thank you, Daniel, for bringing the house down at this year’s Freedom Dinner!

Three’s a charm: Anti-corruption initiative brings change to Mexico

Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad (IMCO) won this year’s prestigious $100,000 Templeton Freedom Award for its revolutionary “3de3” campaign to establish a comprehensive legal infrastructure to combat corruption in Mexico. As of July 18, 2017, it is required by law that every politician (every!) must publish his or her declarations of assets, taxes paid, and possible conflicts of interest. It is never easy to enact change at the highest level of any country, but IMCO’s citizen-led legislative initiative reminds not just Mexicans – but citizens of democratic countries everywhere – that shaping the apparatus of government is never truly out of reach.

In India they started from the bottom

The New Delhi-based Centre for Civil Society (CCS), won Atlas Network’s $50,000 Leveraging Indices for Free Enterprise Policy Reform (LIFE) Award for its roll in the improvement of India’s competitiveness and ease of doing business. CCS demonstrated that seemingly small policy wins can lift hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty. The informal sector in India accounts for a whopping “92 percent of its workforce, or a staggering 435 million people,” said Bhakti Patil, assistant manager of development and strategy with CCS. “We had to start at the bottom of the pyramid.”

Most likely to get a 3:00 a.m. phone call from a Ghanaian politician

When he was speaking about reforms with big impact — during one of the bazillion engaging breakout sessions at Liberty Forum — Franklin Cudjoe, founding president and CEO of IMANI Center for Policy and Education, nonchalantly mentioned how the Ghanaian minister of finance had contacted him the night before to ask what his ministry is doing right and what it could be doing better. Yet another reminder that it’s all about having good policy ideas ready to go for when the politicians come calling.

Roosters, radio, and rule of law

In this year's Think Tank Shark Tank competition, a French ‘Rooster’ project channeled an English chicken farmer; a Los Angeles-based former radio host pitched a bold new podcast for the ladies; and a scholar from Turkey pitched a Rule of Law Academy. The expert panel of judges ultimately chose Alexandre Pesey for his pitch to create a civic incubator (“The incubator Le Coquetier”) designed to identify, select, train, coach, and guide intellectual entrepreneurs across France. He received the $25,000 in seed funding for this project.

Three really smart dudes Talk Econ

Russ Roberts’ wildly popular EconTalk podcast came to New York City for a special live taping at Liberty Forum. The podcast featured Atlas Network COO Matt Warner and Simeon Djankov, former deputy prime minister and minister of finance of Bulgaria and creator of the World Bank's Doing Business series. They discussed Atlas Network’s recently supported research that connects ease of doing business and poverty alleviation — every 5 percent increase in a country’s score in the Doing Business scale results in a 1-percentage point reduction in poverty. Word on the street is that Russ will be publishing the podcast very soon!

The crouching sprint

Moderated by Atlas Network’s Casey Pifer, several of the Templeton Freedom Award finalists spoke on a panel about the importance of building coalitions that are not ideologically aligned to one’s broader mission. There were so many people wanting to ask questions of the panelists that the hotel A/V staffer providing the microphone crouch-sprinted through the ballroom from person to person. Are we sure we can’t give him an award too?

Liggio Lecture laugh line

“All I do is read journal articles ... and in the morning after traffic dies down, I head to work, where I read more articles. And then you hear that the world is going to hell in a hand basket, and I think, maybe if we just read more articles we can solve some of these problems,” said Peter Boettke, who delivered this year’s annual Liggio Lecture on the intellectual laziness of scholars today.

TTMBA, TTLT, GBLS … Acronym Overload Part II

As part of every Liberty Forum and Freedom Dinner, Atlas Network provides a robust suite of trainings, from the 10-day intensive Think Tank MBA facilitated by Rainer Heufers, to the three-day Think Tank Leadership Training taught by several industry thought leaders, to specialized training for board members in the Global Board Leaders Summit facilitated by Mina Merkel. A common thread throughout all of the trainings this year was the importance of improving on our industry’s messaging and storytelling, brought to life by Don Draper’s famous Kodak Carousel pitch, which was screened by Daniel Anthony, Atlas Network’s vice president of marketing and communications, in a storytelling workshop. “It’s time to move our messaging beyond the features ... and start talking about the true meaning of our work,” said Anthony.

All 10 talks, all 10 minutes, all 10/10

A first for Liberty Forum this year, 10 of our industry’s thought leaders gave 10-minute inspirational Cornerstone Talks. “If we can make our content compelling to the right audience at the right time, we win,” said John Tillman, CEO of Illinois Policy Institute, and one of the ten speakers. Other Cornerstone Talks were presented by Linda Kavuka, from Students For Liberty (Africa); Carrie Lukas, from Independent Women’s Forum (USA); and Gabriel Calzada, from Universidad Francisco Marroquín (Guatemala), among others. Thank you to all who attended this year’s big event. We hope to see you all next November in NYC for Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner 2018. And if you can’t wait that long, check out one of our Regional Liberty Forums in 2018!

Special thanks to the Smith Family Foundation, John Templeton Foundation, Templeton Religion Trust, & the rest of our generous sponsors for making Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner possible.