KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

KH Yahya Cholil Staquf - General Secretary of Nahdlatul Ulama Supreme Council

Yahya Cholil Staquf serves as General Secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Supreme Council. As the world’s largest Muslim organization—with over 50 million members and 14,000 madrasahs—the Nahdlatul Ulama adheres to the traditions of ahlussunnah wal jama‘ah (Sunni Islam), and teaches that the primary message of Islam is universal love and compassion. The organization was established in 1926, in direct response to the Wahhabi conquest of Mecca and Medina the previous year.

Descended from a long line of prominent Javanese ulama (religious scholars), KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf was educated from earliest childhood in the formal and esoteric (spiritual) sciences of Islam—first by his father, grandfather and uncle, of the renowned Bisri family of Rembang, Central Java, and subsequently by Kyai Haji Ali Maksum (1915 – 1989) at his madrasah in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. KH. Ali Maksum was himself a direct disciple of Shaykh Umar Hamdan al-Makki (1858 – 1948) and Shaykh Hasan Masshat al-Makki (1900 – 1979) of Mecca.

KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf was a member of Indonesia’s National Electoral Commission during that nation’s successful transition from authoritarian rule to democracy, and served as presidential spokesman to Indonesia’s first democratically-elected head of state—Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid, who himself headed the Nahdlatul Ulama for 15 years prior to his election.

View KH Yahya Cholil Staquf's full bio here. 

ADDITIONAL SPEAKERS

Basanta Adhikari - Bikalpa, an Alternative, Nepal

Basanta Adhikari is the founding chairperson of Bikalpa-an Alternative; an organization which envisions a Nepal where rule of law is supreme and all citizens can have an equal opportunity to prosper in their own country and enjoy their rights to life, liberty and property. Prior to this, he has worked with Samriddhi-the Prosperity Foundation, leading “Gari Khana Deu” (Livable Nepal) campaign to promote the fundamental principles of rule of law, right to life and property, and Freedom to Enterprise. Mr. Adhikari also served as a volunteer for three years (1999-2002) at Youth Development Program in Biratnagar and joined Youth Initiative in 2007 where he worked with different stakeholders to educate and trained young people on the issue of civic leadership. He graduated from SungKongHoe University, Seoul, South Korea on Master’s in Inter-Asia NGOs Studies (MAINS). Besides this, Basanta is alumni of US Department of State IVLP program, Accountapreneur for Accountability Lab Accountability Incubator program and an Asia 21 Young Leaders Fellow.

Lawson Bader is president and CEO of DonorsTrust, a public charity protecting the intent of donors who value limited government, free enterprise, and personal responsibility. Through its donor-advised fund, DonorsTrust has granted over $1 billion to liberty-minded groups in academia, public policy, the arts, religion, and education. In addition to his foundation work, Lawson has more than 20 years of experience leading free-market research and advocacy groups, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Prior to joining the “liberty movement” he held numerous positions at SRI International, the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, and Pierson, Semmes & Finley. He is a former weekly columnist with Human Events, and holds degrees from Wheaton College and The Johns Hopkins University. He currently serves on the governing boards of the Atlas Network, State Policy Network, Oakseed Ministries International, and Solers, Inc.

Muhamad Chatib Basri - Former Minister of Finance, Indonesia

Muhamad Chatib Basri is an Indonesian economist. He was the Minister of Finance in the Second United Indonesia Cabinet between 21 May 2013 and 20 October 2014 when the term of the administration of the Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was completed. Before his appointment as Minister of Finance he was Chair of the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (Badan Kordinasi Penanaman Modal, or BKPM).

Baishali Bomjan - Independent Consultant, India

Baishali Bomjan is an independent consultant with over 10 years of experience in organization development, strategic planning, fundraising, communications and training with think tanks globally. She is former Director of Development, Strategy and Training of Centre for Civil Society, India’s leading think tank and Founding Trustee of India Institute that promotes dignity, choice and enterprise through innovative research, evidence- based policy advocacy and litigation for free market policies. Prior to this, she was a journalist for over five years and has served as Editor, Associate and Assistant Editor for Nepal’s leading business (the boss), women’s (VOW) and lifestyle (ECS) magazines. She holds a master’s degree in Zoology from the University of North Bengal,India and a Think Tank MBA from Atlas Leadership Academy, Atlas Network, USA.

Eamonn Butler, Adam Smith Institute, Great Britain

Eamonn Butler is Director of the Adam Smith Institute, one of the world’s leading think tanks. He holds a PhD and Honorary DLitt. He is author of primers on Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, F. A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand, and primers on Magna Carta, Classical Liberalism, the Austrian and Public Choice schools of economics, as well as Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls, The Condensed Wealth of Nations and Foundations of a Free Society. He has also published popular books including The Best Book on the Market and The Economics of Success, and a series on IQ testing. He is a frequent contributor to print and broadcast media.

Aniket Doegar - Haqdarshak Empowerment Solutions Pvt Ltd, India

Aniket Doegar is the CEO and co-founder of Haqdarshak, a social enterprise that uses technology to bridge the gap between citizens and the government and private welfare schemes they are entitled for. Haqdarshak, currently present in 10 states, has reached over 50,000 citizens in a span of one year. Aniket has previously been a Teach for India fellow for two years, working extensively in marginalised communities in Maharashtra and has over 10 years of experience in the development sector. He is an alumnus of the Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC).

Amartuvshin Dorj - Mises-Mongolia NGO, Mongolia

Amartuvshin Dorj is the Co-Founder and Chairman of the Mises Mongolia NGO. Since 2008, he has been free market and individual freedom activist, and leading numerous advocacy projects that have raised public awareness and community building efforts.

He has led and co-led many projects, including translation and publications of essays and books such as Anatomy of the State by Murray Rothbard, Economic Policy by Ludwig Von Mises, and From totalitarianism to defective democracy by Michal Klima. Also he has co-organized many events and workshops such as “Freedom based Development talk” lecture series (2013-2015), The Liberty summer School (2008-2016) and Free Market Academy (2015-2017) in Mongolia. Also, in 2017 he was the main organizer of Ayan Rand Conference Mongolia, and invited distinguished guests such as Yaron Brook, Director of Ayn Rand Institute and Carl Barney, Board of Cato Institute in the Conference.

Mr. Amartuvshin is active in the media and frequently shares his expertise through speaking engagements on free market and individual rights including national TV discussions.

Neil D'Souza - Zaya Learning Labs, India

Neil D'Souza is the founder of Zaya, a disruptive educational startup that is bringing the online education revolution to low-income schools throughout the globe. As a social entrepreneur, Neil was recognized by Echoing Green in 2012 for his work empowering women to become para-teachers and run micro-schools in India. In 2012 he was selected by the San Francisco Hub of World Economic Forum as a Global Shaper and also won the NASSCOM Social Innovation Award in India.  Today Zaya reaches about 60,000 paid customers and 400 schools across India and West Africa and has plans to scale globally by 2020. Neil has an engineering background and worked in Silicon Valley at Cisco Systems where he focused on Mobile Internet and Video Technologies.  Currently, Neil is working to bring Zaya's personalized learning technology along with its latest School Operating system called O3.School to a growing number of entrepreneurs starting Affordable Micro Schools in US school districts.

Siegfried Herzog - Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, Thailand

Mr. Siegfried Herzog is the head of regional office for Southeast and East Asia at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Bangkok. An economist by training, he was previously heading the Foundation’s country office in Manila from 2006-2010, and subsequently the regional office in New Delhi as the head of regional office for South Asia.  He completed his Masters in “Economics with North American Area Studies“ at the Eberhard-Karls University Tübingen, having spent one year as an exchange student at Georgetown University, Washington D.C.. His M.A. thesis on informal credit markets in Bangladesh received an award from the Schitag-Foundation. He was one of the founders of NETZ e.V., a German NGO working on grass-roots development in Bangladesh.

An active moderator, Siegfried frequently facilitates skills and strategy workshops for partners and the Foundation’s staff members.

Rainer Heufers - Center for Indonesian Policy Studies, Indonesia

Rainer Heufers is the Co-founder and Executive Director of the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies in Jakarta, Indonesia. Being strictly non-partisan and not-for-profit, CIPS suggests policies that are based on the belief that only civil, political, and economic freedom allows Indonesia to prosper. CIPS policy proposals are being formulated to support current decision making processes in the legislative and executive branches of the Indonesian government.

Heufers is also the founder and Managing Director of Siap Solutions Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-based training and consulting firm. SIAP Solutions provides strategic counselling, public policy consulting, leadership training, organizational development and other services to international think tanks, political parties, corporations, and government agencies.

He is also a Senior Fellow of the Atlas Network. Heufers designed the first Atlas Think Tank MBA in 2008 and has since conducted these annual flagship-trainings of the Atlas Network where top think tank leaders from around the world develop individual business plans for their organizations. He lives in Indonesia.

Rohan Joshi - Independent Education and Public Policy Advisor, India

Rohan Joshi has over 10 years of diverse set of academic and operational experience in education, skill development and public policy in South Asia. More recently Rohan worked with A Delhi-based Public Policy think tank as Head of Research with research focus on education policy, regulation and role of private sector in education ecosystem. He has also designed and taught short term courses on Education Policy at prominent public policy think tanks in India including, The Takshashila Instituion. Some of Rohan’s work is covered in international conferences, publications and print and electronic media in India and abroad.

Rohan has served in advisory committees of central and state governments in India, and social ventures in the areas of education, skill development and livelihood globally. Public Policy and Governance, Individual Liberty and Role of State, Mental Health and professional impact are other areas of Rohan’s academic interest. Rohan has a Masters Degree in Education from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

Terry Kibbe - Free the People, United States

Terry Kibbe is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Free the People, which uses pop-culture and video story-telling to turn on the liberty-curious. She is also a Senior Advisor to AlternativePAC, a SuperPAC which supported Libertarian Gary Johnson’s Presidential campaign.During the 2016 GOP primary, she was a fundraiser for a SuperPAC supporting U.S. Senator Rand Paul for President. Terry was also President of Curated Innovation, a medical research foundation delivering breakthrough products that save and improve lives. From 2009 to 2014, Terry served as Chairwoman of the Advisory Board of the Rising Tide Foundation in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and as an Advisor to the Global Philanthropic Trust in the Cayman Islands. She has more years than she cares to admit of experience as a fundraiser, having raised millions in operating capital for various nonprofit and political causes, including FreedomWorks, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute. In early 2007, Terry formed Dagny, LLC, offering strategic management services to philanthropic charities and non-profit organizations. She spent the first decade of her career as an engineer working on defense technology. Terry is a graduate of Grove City College, where she received her B.S. in Industrial Engineering.

Brad Lips- Atlas Network, United States

Brad Lips has served as Atlas Network's Chief Executive Officer since 2009, after previously acting as its Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining Atlas Network in 1998, Lips conducted equity research for Smith Barney Inc. and policy research for the Progress & Freedom Foundation. He co-founded an Internet startup (subsequently sold to DoubleDutch), after spending his first years out of college at an online service provider while writing for music magazines. Lips is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society and chaired the Organizing Committee of its 2016 General Meeting in Miami. He is a member of the John Templeton Foundation, Templeton World Charity Foundation, and Templeton Religion Trust. His articles have appeared in The Daily CallerNational Review OnlineForbesFox NewsAmerican SpectatorAmerican Thinker, and RealClearPolitics. Lips speaks widely on free enterprise as a solution to poverty, and on the international freedom champions connected by Atlas Network. 

Christopher Lingle - Universidad Francisco Marroquín, Guatemala

Christopher Lingle earned a doctorate in economics from the University of Georgia in 1977 & has been employed at universities in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America & USA. He is currently Visiting Professor of Economics in the Escuela de Negocios at Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala (since 1998); Adjunct Scholar at the Centre for Independent Studies (Sydney); Research Scholar at the Centre for Civil Society (New Delhi); International Political Economic Advisor for the Asian Institute for Diplomacy & International Affairs (AIDIA – Kathmandu); Member of Academic Advisory Council of the Globalization Institute (Brussels) & Senior Fellow, Advocata (Colombo, Sri Lanka).

Dr. Lingle’s research interests are in the areas of Political Economy & International Economics, focusing on emerging market economies & public policy reform in East & Central Europe, East Asia, Latin America, & Southern Africa.  He is the author of Singapore’s Authoritarian Capitalism (1996) and The Rise & Decline of the Asian Century (1997).

Ronald Meinardus - Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, India

Before joining the Regional Office in New Delhi in 2014, Dr. Ronald Meinardus served the Foundation in that position at the Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in Cairo, Egypt for seven years. Earlier, he represented the Foundation in Greece, South Korea and the Philippines. A journalist by profession, Dr. Meinardus is also a political commentator and blogger and enjoys writing about developments in the region and beyond.

Barun Mitra - Liberty Institute, India

Barun Mitra (born in 1960) is a public policy analyst, and commentator on current affairs on a range of contemporary public policy issues. He founded the Liberty Institute, 1996, which is a non-profit, independent public policy research and advocacy organisation, based in New Delhi. He has been published across the world. Presently he is a contributor to the international portal www.GISReportsOnline.com, among others. Currently, his prime focus is on exploring ways that might make reform oriented policy proposals politically and socially viable, particularly in the context of land and property rights in developing countries.

Dr. Tom G. Palmer - Atlas Network, United States

Dr. Tom G. Palmer is the executive vice president for international programs at Atlas Network and is responsible for establishing operating programs in 14 languages and managing programs for a worldwide network of think tanks. On Nov. 10, 2016, Dr. Tom G. Palmer was named the George M. Yeager Chair for Advancing Liberty at Atlas Network. He is also a senior fellow at Cato Institute and director of Cato University. Before joining Cato, he was an H. B. Earhart Fellow at Hertford College, Oxford University, and a vice president of the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. He frequently lectures in North America, Europe, Eurasia, Africa, Latin America, India, China and throughout Asia, as well as the Middle East on political science, public choice, civil society, and the moral, legal, and historical foundations of individual rights. He has published reviews and articles on politics and morality in scholarly journals such as the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Ethics, Critical Review, and Constitutional Political Economy, as well as in publications such as Slate, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Die Welt, Caixing, Al Hayat, the Washington Post, and The Spectator of London. He is the author of Realizing Freedom: Libertarian Theory, History, and Practice (expanded edition 2014), and the editor of The Morality of Capitalism (2011), After the Welfare State (2012), Why Liberty (2013), Peace, Love & Liberty (2014), and Self-Control or State Control? You Decide (2016). Palmer received his B.A. in liberal arts from St. Johns College in Annapolis, Maryland, his M.A. in philosophy from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and his doctorate in politics from Oxford University.

Eunhee Park - Teach North Korean Refugees, South Korea

Eunhee Park fled North Korea in 2012, arriving in South Korea after escaping across China, Laos and Thailand. She is a TV personality who is a regular guest “On My Way to Meet You,” a popular TV show in South Korea featuring North Korean defectors. Eunhee is studying business at Chungang University in Seoul. Eunhee is now a Special Ambassador and member of the Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR) Leadership Council. In 2017, she enrolled in Chungang University in Seoul, South Korea, majoring in business.

Joanna Octavia - Uber, Indonesia

Joanna Octavia is a Senior Public Policy Associate at Uber in Indonesia. Prior to joining Uber, Joanna worked as a Senior Researcher at the Center for Public Policy Transformation (Transformasi) in Jakarta, where she conducted research on Indonesia's investment competitiveness, job creation in labor-intensive manufacturing industries, and financing for sustainable development. Before that she was as an Analyst at Bloomberg LP in Singapore, and a Research Intern at The Serco Institute in London. Joanna holds a Master of Science in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) where she specialized in the relationship between government and business. She also completed a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from the University of British Columbia, and an Advanced Certificate in the Chinese Language Program from Tsinghua University.

Khalid Ramizy - Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization, Afghanistan

Mohammad Khalid Ramizy is a rising young leader and Human Rights Activist. He lives in Kabul, Afghanistan. Khalid Ramizy is from an Afghan intellectual family, who devoted their entire lifetimes to promote human rights, individual freedom and other free society values in Afghanistan. He continued these invaluable activities since the collapse of Taliban regime by working with Friedrich Naumann Foundation and some other national and international organizations. He is currently working as Executive Director of Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization (Afghanistan lead libertarian think tank) a partner of Atlas Network, as well as he is the Founder of Silk Road Online Radio & TV, Afghanistan's first online scientific Radio & TV Station.

Khalid Ramizy is committed and determined to promote the ideas of liberty, free-market, human rights, rule of law and bring peace and prosperity, the culture of co-existence and tolerance in Afghanistan. He has huge network with different stratification of the Afghan society, who was involved and has worked with different youth groups for an Afghanistan, where every citizen enjoys peace, love and prosperity.

Hizkia Respatiadi - Center for Indonesian Policy Studies, Indonesia

Hizkia Respatiadi is the Head of Research at the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS). The focus area of his research is policy issues in Food Trade and Agriculture. He leads the Affordable Food for the Poor project that aims to lower basic food prices in Indonesia by reducing trade barriers between Indonesia and other countries.

Previously, Hizkia worked as a civil servant at the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His international experience includes a posting period to the Indonesian Embassy in Zimbabwe, and short-term assignments to the United Kingdom and several countries in Asia and Africa.

Saidah Sakwan - Center for Indonesian Policy Studies, Indonesia

Saidah Sakwan is chairwoman of CIPS and also a Commissioner of the Indonesian Business Competition Commission (KPPU), as well as the Director at the Institute for Research and Community Development Studies (IRCOS). She has served as a member of Indonesia’s parliament in the commissions for education as well as industry and trade from 2006 to 2009.

Saidah’s long career in public service included being the Special Staff of the Minister for Women Empowerment (2001-2003). She also consulted the central bank of Indonesia on how to communicate accountable auditing and clearing by the central bank in 2003 and 2004.

Razeen Sally - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore

Razeen Sally is Visiting Associate Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He is Chairman of the Institute of Policy Studies, the main economic-policy think tank in his native Sri Lanka, and Senior Adviser to Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Finance. He is also a member of the Legatum Institute’s Special Trade Commission, which advises the British government on Brexit trade strategy. Previously he taught at the London School of Economics, where he received his PhD. He has been Director of the European Centre for International Political Economy, a global-economy think tank in Brussels. He has held visiting research and teaching positions at Institut D’Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris, the Australian National University, the University of Hong Kong, the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, and Dartmouth College in the USA. He was also Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Competitiveness. He is an Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute, and on the advisory boards of the Institute of Economic Affairs (UK) and the Centre for Independent Studies (Australia). He is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society. Dr. Sally’s research and teaching focuses on global trade policy and Asia in the world economy. He has written on the WTO, FTAs, and on different aspects of trade policy in Asia. He has also written on the history of economic ideas, especially the theory of commercial policy. His new book on Sri Lanka will be published in 2018.

Ali Salman - Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, Malaysia

Ali Salman is Director of Research at IDEAS and CEO of Istanbul Network for Liberty. He is economist, public policy expert and a think tank professional. Before joining IDEAS Malaysia, Ali was based in Pakistan, where, in 2013, he founded Policy Research Institute of Market Economy (PRIME), an independent economic policy think tank in Pakistan, which is now run by an empowered Board of Trustees. As an independent economist, Ali authored more than thirty independent studies, reports and monographs on wide range of topics including regional trade, public finance, competition policy, innovation, and youth policy for multilateral agencies, governments, non-profits and private firms. Ali has advised Competition Commission of Pakistan as a consultant analyzing economic implications of legal decisions. He writes op-eds for Express Tribune, a partner publication of New York Times.

Manali Shah - Independent Facilitator, India

Manali Shah is an independent facilitator based in Delhi, India. She loves creating spaces for genuine connect. She facilitates a reconnect to their purpose and co-creation of strategies to live that purpose more fully. She works with Atlas Network as the lead facilitator for its regional trainings in Asia and Africa. Previously having worked with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Delhi, she now works as a moderator for their 12 day long workshops on education policies and strengthening NGOs. Her journey with the liberal movement began as a college student in 2000 when she attended a student course run by Centre for Civil Society. She joined CCS thereafter for over seven years in running programs, operations and human resources.

Sugianto Tandra - Center for Indonesian Policy Studies, Indonesia

Sugianto Tandra is an education policy researcher at the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies. His research interests include teachers and curriculum implementation, citizenship education, and low-cost private schools. Prior to joining CIPS, he worked at political think-tank Freedom Institute and for over a decade as a journalist for several media companies in Jakarta. He studied at the Institute fo Development Studies and the University of Sydney.

Nila Tanzil - Taman Bacaan Pelangi and Travel Sparks, Indonesia

Nila Tanzil is the Founder & CEO of  Taman Bacaan Pelangi and Travel Sparks.

Taman Bacaan Pelangi (Rainbow Reading Gardens) focuses on establishing child-friendly libraries in remote villages in Eastern Indonesia. Founded in 2009, to date, the NGO has established 63 libraries across 15 islands, benefitting more than 17,000 children and providing access to over 117,000 story books as well as trained 646 local teachers. 

Nila is also an author of Lembar-Lembar Pelangi. 

For her work, she received a number of recognition, including "Forbes Indonesia’s 10 Inspiring Women 2015", "Kartini Next Generation Award 2013 from the Ministry of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection and the Ministry of Communication of IT of the Republic of Indonesia" and "Nugra Jasadarma Pustaloka 2013" from the National Library of Republic of Indonesia. 

Nila holds a MA degree from Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 

Suraj Vaidya - Samriddhi Foundation, Nepal

Mr. Suraj Vaidya is an entrepreneur, business leader and a passionate advocate for economic growth and reform in Nepal. According to him, "Economy should speak louder than politics." A graduate of MBA from George Mason University, Mr. Vaidya runs industries in Nepal based on agriculture, construction, education and trading sector as the President of Vaidya’s Organization of Industries and Trading Houses (VOITH), which was established in 1967. Mr. Vaidya is the President of SAARC-Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is also the Board Member of School of Management, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, and served as the Vice Chairman of Lumbini Development Trust. In addition, he is the Honorary Consul General of Philippines. Besides being an active member of the business community and leading change by setting examples of growth, Mr. Vaidya has been a promoter of economic growth and an avid advocate for dealing with Nepal’s most critical development constraints.

Linda Whetstone - Atlas Network, United States

Linda Whetstone is chairman of the Atlas Network and Network for a Free Society and a board member of the Institute of Economic Affairs, and Istanbul Network for Liberty. She was previously on the board of the Mont Pelerin Society and co-organizer of MPS meetings in Nairobi and Istanbul.  She has written on development, trade and agricultural topics and recently co-edited Islamic Foundations of a Free Society.  She runs a small business in Sussex, UK with her husband.