KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Patrick M. Byrne - Overstock.com, USA

In late 1999, Patrick M. Byrne launched Overstock.com.  Since then it has grown into a $2 billion fixture of the ecommerce marketplace. In 2011, Ernst & Young gave Byrne its National Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 2014, Overstock.com was one of the Most Trustworthy Companies in America as named by Forbes/MSCI ESG Research. In 2010, Forbes magazine named Overstock.com the No. 9 Best Company to Work for in the Country, and Byrne the CEO with the highest employee approval rating (92%). 

A “classical liberal,” Byrne believes that our nation’s success depends on educational choice and healthy capital markets. Since Milton Friedman’s passing in 2006, Byrne has served as chairman of EdChoice (formerly the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice), an organization leading the national push for school choice.  Toward the goal of clean capital markets, in 2004 Byrne began a vigorous citizen-journalist campaign focusing on capital market mischief (settlement system failures), systemic risk, regulatory capture, and the possibility of economic warfare against the US by organized crime and foreign elements. His stance caught the attention of Wall Street analysts and reporters, becoming a point of high controversy until the crash of 2008, occasioned by many of the things of which Byrne had warned. Byrne's website DeepCapture.com subsequently received much recognition, such as Weblogs Award "Best Business Blog" (2008), Business Pundit's "Best Business Investigative Journalism" (2009), and Xmark's "Top Site on Corruption in the USA" (2010).

In 2012, Byrne’s pro-freedom political orientation led him to challenge Overstock to become the first business with more than $1 million in revenue to accept bitcoin as a payment method. Using the familiarity gained with the blockchain technology from this venture, Byrne created Medici Ventures, a subsidiary within Overstock.com devoted to advancing blockchain-based technology solutions. In 2015, Byrne used a blockchain-based trading platform built by Medici’s portfolio company, tZERO.com, to become the first person to purchase a digital bond entirely on the blockchain.  Byrne made history again in 2016, when Overstock was the first public company to offer preferred shares of a cryptosecurity on an SEC compliant and FINRA-approved alternative trading system (ATS).  Today, Overstock, accepts dozens of top cryptocurrencies as payment on its retail website, and through Medici, remains a leading force in advancing blockchain technology in an attempt to democratize capital, eliminate middlemen, and re-humanize commerce.

Byrne received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and Asian studies from Dartmouth College, a master’s in philosophy from Cambridge University as a Marshall Scholar, and a doctorate in philosophy from Stanford University. Having taught at the university level, he is a frequent guest lecturer discussing blockchain, capital markets, Wall Street practices, internet commerce, education, leadership and ethics.

ADDITIONAL SPEAKERS

Souad Adnane - Arab Center for Scientific Research & HumaneStudies, Morocco

Souad Adnane is a researcher at the Arab Center for Scientific Research & Humane Studies and a consultant at the World Bank. Her research interests include topics related to economic development, gender and social policy. She has been working for 10 years with international development organizations, focusing on women's economic participation and other development issues in the MENA region. Souad is currently pursuing her PhD at the George Washington University in the U.S.

Martin Ågerup - Center for Political Studies (CEPOS), Denmark

Martin Ågerup is president of CEPOS, a free market think tank located in Copenhagen, Denmark, which he co-founded in 2004. He has a B.Sc. in Economics and Economic History from the University of Bristol, UK, and a MA in European Economics from the University of Exeter, UK. He is a former research fellow at the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies and aids the decision-making process in both public and private organizations by creating awareness of the future and highlighting its importance to the present. Martin has also worked as a management consultant specializing in business development and strategy for government and corporate clients and ran his own small start-up management consultancy. During those years he took part in more than 100 events per year as a professional speaker. Martin is former chairman of Addition, an IT consulting business providing web solutions and a former member of the Executive Committee of the Danish European Movement. He has written four books and contributed to numerous anthologies. Martin writes a column on ethics for a Danish national paper, blogs at another and appears regularly in both print and electronic media.

Robert Alt - The Buckeye Institute, USA

Robert Alt is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Buckeye Institute and serves on the Board of Trustees. Alt’s leadership has been the catalyst for The Buckeye Institute’s exponential growth since he took the organization’s helm in 2012.  He has since founded The Buckeye Institute’s esteemed Economic Research Center and Legal Center. He is a frequent speaker at universities and law schools across the country, and has provided commentary on CNN, Fox News, PBS and numerous syndicated radio programs. Prior to heading The Buckeye Institute, Alt was a director in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies under former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III. In 2004, Alt spent five months in Iraq as a war correspondent. Alt has testified before Congress multiple times—including at the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan— and before numerous state legislatures and committees. Alt previously taught national security law, criminal law, and legislation at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, as well as constitutional law and political parties and interest groups at Ashland University. Alt earned his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was symposium editor and the winner of the Mulroy Prize for Excellence in Appellate Advocacy as well as research assistant to renowned Law Professor Richard Epstein. Following law school, he clerked for Judge Alice Batchelder on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  Alt graduated with his B.A. in political science and philosophy magna cum laude from Azusa Pacific University where he won the Outstanding Senior Award in Political Science. Alt is an accomplished mountaineer, and is currently training to ascend his third of the Seven Summits of the world (the tallest mountain on each continent).

Daniel Anthony - Atlas Network, USA

Daniel Anthony is the Vice President of Marketing & Communications & Training at Atlas Network. He joined the team in 2014. He received his MBA in International Business from The Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School and his BA in Foreign Languages from Illinois State University. Prior to joining the Atlas Network, Daniel worked with one of the U.S.’s leading state-based, free-market think tanks, the Illinois Policy Institute. During his time there he oversaw all marketing and communications, playing a key role in winning a Templeton Freedom Award and an SPNovation Award. Prior to that, he worked as manager of client strategy and brand activation for Saatchi & Saatchi S, the sustainability division of the global ideas firm Saatchi & Saatchi. While with Saatchi, he worked with Walmart, General Mills, Procter & Gamble and NBCUniversal. Daniel has appeared on various media outlets, including Univision, FOX Chicago News, NBC Chicago and WGN Radio, focusing on topics such as government transparency and marketing and communications analysis. Daniel grew up living in Mexico and Singapore. He currently resides in Washington, D.C., with his wife Denise, and they spend their free time enjoying all things film, brunch, and southern Italian cuisine.

Lawson Bader- DonorsTrust, USA

Lawson R. Bader is president and CEO of DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund, public charities protecting the intent of donors who value limited government, free enterprise, and personal responsibility. Through their donor-advised fund, DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund have granted over $1 billion to liberty-minded groups in academia, public policy, the arts, civics, medical and scientific research, 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 undergraduate and graduate degrees from Wheaton College (IL) and The Johns Hopkins University. He currently serves on the boards of the Atlas Network, State Policy Network, Oakseed Ministries International, and Solers, Inc.

Matthias Bauer is Senior Economist at ECIPE. His areas of research include international trade, the economics of digital markets and the digital economy, European Single Market integration, European fiscal affairs and capital market policy. Dr. Bauer studied business administration at the University of Hull, UK, and economics at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany. He received his Ph.D. degree after joining the Bundesbank graduate program on the ‘Foundations of Global Financial Markets and Financial Stability’. Before joining ECIPE, Dr. Bauer was the Coordinator of International Political Economy at the international cooperation division of Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Berlin. Previously, he held positions at DekaBank, UBS, Mercedes-Benz China, and worked as a start-up and business development consultant.

Jose Ignacio Beteta - Asociación de Contribuyentes del Peru, Peru

Jose has an MA in Public Administration, BA in History, two years of music studies and 13 years leading social entrepreneurships. He also has worked as an advisor at a Peruvian Regional Government, and as a Social Corporate Responsibility leader and consultant in the private sector. Nowadays he is the Chairman both to Peruvian Taxpayers Association and Integral Development Center (CENDEIT), two organizations devoted to improve people's and vulnerable communities quality life.

Marianna Brashear - Foundation for Economic Education, USA

Marianna Brashear is the Curriculum Development and Outreach Manager at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) aimed at teaching the humane value and ethical principles of free markets and entrepreneurship to FEE’s student audience. She is a Ukrainian immigrant, raised in an entrepreneurial family, and has developed a life passion of promoting the ideas and virtues of liberty, strong character, personal responsibility, and private enterprise as a foundation required for human achievement. Marianna has served as a Russian instructor for the US Air Force and is a fierce advocate and defender of homeschooling rights. For fun, Marianna is an accomplished ballroom and Latin dancer and instructor. She also enjoys international travel, studying parenting and educational psychology as well as Objectivist philosophy. Marianna holds degrees in Communications, Russian, and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Aspen University.

Petar Čekerevac - Libertarian Club - Libek, Serbia

Petar Čekerevac is the Executive Manager of the Libertarian Club - Libek. He is responsible for fundraising, international partnerships, and strategic planning of the organization. Libek promotes the values of free society, individual liberty, free markets, peace through education, public policy research, and advocacy. The organization has trained over 350 young leaders in Serbia and the Balkans, and its policy proposals and research papers have been used by top-level politicians and the mainstream media. Petar holds a BA in International Relations, and an MA in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Belgrade and has studied Scandinavian Government and Politics and International Politics at the University of Oslo, Norway. He is a graduate of the Atlas Network Leadership Academy and an Atlas Network Smith Fellowship alumnus. His main professional interests are public policy, individual rights, and conflict resolution. He often speaks on events for students, public policy stakeholders, and activists and has been a speaker on events in Serbia, Western Balkans region, Germany, France, Denmark, Greece, US, UK, Hungary, and Russia.

Alejandro Chafuen - International of Acton Institute, USA

Alejandro “Alex” Antonio Chafuen is Managing Director, International, of the Acton Institute. He is former president of the Atlas Network. A U.S. citizen, born in Argentina in 1954, and a graduate of the Argentine Catholic University and Grove City College, Chafuen received his Doctorate under Dr. Hans F. Sennholz, a disciple of Ludwig von Mises and an honorary doctorate from the Universidad Francisco Marroquín. His book Faith and Liberty has been translated into Chinese, Polish, Czech, Italian, Slovenian and Spanish. He has been a member of the Mont Pelerin Society since 1980 and immediate past President of the Philadelphia Society. In 2014, he received the Walter Judd Freedom Award from the Fund for American Studies, in 2017 the Mengzi–Marco Polo Award from ASECIC (Italy), and in 2018 the Juan de Mariana Award from the Instituto Juan de Mariana. Chafuen is trustee of Grove City College, the Fraser Institute, Fundación Internacional para La Libertad (Madrid), The Awakening Foundation, CEDICE US (Venezuela), the International Freedom Educational Foundation, and the Chase Foundation of Virginia. He is also a member of the John Templeton Foundation, the Templeton Religion Trust, and the World Charity Foundation.

Mercedes Maria Colombres -Libertad y Progreso, Argentina

Mercedes received her degree in Journalism at the Catholic University of Tucumán “Santo Tomás”, and works as a freelance journalist since 1999. In 2003 she completed a postgraduate degree in Journalism in Universidad Torcuato Di Tella. In 2004 she joined La Nacion, one of the most influential journals in Argentina, to write about agricultural and economic affairs. She received two important journalism awards during this period: The Banco Galicia Prize for Agricultural Policies Articles in 2005, and the Argentinian Association of Journals (ADEPA) Prize for Economic Policies Articles. In 2012 she left La Nación and started a career as a communication and lobby consultant for opposition party (Radicalismo) in the Parliament, where she stayed until the end of 2013. In March 2014 after ending her job in the Parliament Mercedes joined Libertad y Progreso as Head of Communication Office. Since then she has been a proud member of the team, working to change ideas in Argentina. Also she is studying Economic History and Austrian School of Económics in University of Buenos Aires, in professor Martín Krause's seminars.

Peter C. Earle - American Institute for Economic Research, USA

Peter C. Earle is a research economist with AIER. He is the founder of Intangible Economics LLC, a cryptocurrency and game/virtual economics consultancy and was formerly the Chief Economist of Humint, a cryptocurrency and token advisory firm. Prior to that, Pete spent over 20 years as a trader and analyst in global financial markets on Wall Street. His research focuses on financial markets, monetary policy, crypto/virtual/digital currencies, and economic history. He has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, NPR, and in numerous other publications. Pete holds an MA in Applied Economics from American University, an MBA in finance, and a BS in Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Robert Enlow - EdChoice, USA

Before the establishment of EdChoice in 2016, he was an integral part of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice since its founding in 1996. Robert served as fundraiser, projects coordinator, vice president and executive director prior to being named president and CEO of the Foundation in 2009.

Under his leadership, the Friedman Foundation—now EdChoice—has become one of the nation’s most respected and successful advocates for educational choice, working in dozens of states to advance its vision by disseminating research, sponsoring seminars, undertaking advertising campaigns, organizing community leaders, and more.

Robert is the co-editor of “Liberty and Learning: Milton Friedman’s Voucher Idea at Fifty,” author of “Grading Vouchers: Ranking America’s School Choice Programs,” and co-author of “School Choice: A Reform that Works” and a chapter in “An Education Agenda: Let Parents Choose Their Children’s School.” His opinions have appeared in numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Arizona Republic, National Review, and USA Today.

Robert has served as private sector chairman of the Education Task Force for the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that also recognized him as the Private Sector Member of the Year. He is also a board member of School Choice Ohio, Hoosiers for Quality Education, Carpe Diem Indiana and the Economic Club of Indiana and serves on the Indiana State Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Robert lives in Indianapolis and has two children, Jefferson and Charles.

Agustín Etchebarne - Libertad y Progreso, Argentina

Agustín Etchebarne is an economist specialized in economic development, strategic marketing and international markets. He was an economics professor at the University of Buenos Aires and ESEADE and currently teaches at the University of Belgrano. He is a member of Red Liberal de Latinoamerica (RELIAL) and the Ethics and Political Economy Institute of the Nation Academy of Political and Moral Sciences. He was a founder of Delphos Investment and C&E Consulting. Etchebarne also served as president of the Republic Investment Management, fund manager at Fondos Aleph and executive at Techint and Medsystem. He was president and founder of Ciudadanos por el Cambio, executive director of Democracia Directa and founder and director of Foro Republicano.

Mahmoud Farouk - Egyptian Center for Public Policy Studies, Egypt

Mahmoud Farouk is an Egyptian Lawyer, founder and former Executive Director of the Egyptian Center for Public Policy Studies (ECPPS) and Egyptian Union of Liberal Youth (EULY) and, ECPPS board member. Both ECPPS and EULY are based in Cairo and advocate for individual and economic freedoms reforms. Mahmoud also has a particular interest in issues of economic reform individual freedom, rule of law and counter-terrorism. He has published research papers and articles on these issues in Egyptian, regional, and DC-based think tanks and news outlets. In addition, he is a devoted human rights defender and part of the Front to Defend Egyptian Protesters network which provides legal assistance and Pro Bono services to human rights activists. Mahmoud received his master’s in Law (LL.M.) from Syracuse University College of Law and in May 2017 and his B.A. from Cairo law school. In 2009, under his team leadership at EULY, the organization won the Templeton Freedom Award for Special Achievement by Young Institutes, granted by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Mahmoud recently won one of the most prestigious awards in the field of public activism, which is Open Society Foundation’s Civil Society Leadership Award (CSLA)

Charlie Fritschner - Independent Filmmaker, USA

Charlie Fritschner is a Chicago based filmmaker and producer who works primarily in documentary, commercial and broadcast production. He is drawn to characters who live at the intersection of ingenuity and rebellion, and with his stories, he aims to provoke rather than convert. Charlie appreciates perfect pasta, fresh seafood and cheap Chardonnay. 

Randy Hicks - Georgia Center for Opportunity, USA

Randy Hicks is the president and chief executive officer of the Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO), an independent, non-partisan organization that conducts public policy research and mobilizes community resources to address the three elements of the success sequence: education, employment, and family formation. Under Hicks’ leadership, GCO has led successful statewide efforts to improve access to quality education for low-income children, promote stronger families, boost adoption safety, and increase employment opportunities for ex-offenders and the chronically underemployed. At the invitation of former Georgia Chief Justice Leah Sears, Hicks served on the Supreme Court Commission on Children, Marriage and Family Law. In 2008, GCO partnered with the Institute for American Values in creating the nation’s first study of the national taxpayer costs of divorce and unwed childbearing and worked with the White House to convene a conference focused on marriage-strengthening community initiatives. Over the past decade, Hicks and the GCO team have launched 12 community-based initiatives in Georgia that work to strengthen marriages and families at the local level. More recently, GCO has launched Breakthrough Norcross — a cross-sector demonstration project designed to increase rates of graduation, employment, and healthy family formation in the communities of Norcross and Peachtree Corners. Hicks earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in theology from Biola University in Los Angeles. He and his wife, Marilyn, reside in Suwanee, Georgia with their six children.

Ma Junjie - Unirule, China

Mr. MA Junjie is a member of Mont Pelerin Society, researcher at China’s most esteemed private think-tank and the acting Director of its International Cooperation Centre, and Associate Researcher at Centre International de Formation Européenne (CIFE). He is also an alumnus of International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) of the US Department of State, and a two-time alumnus of International Academy for Leadership (IAF) of Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF). He has been a regular speaker at Asia Liberty Forum, CIFE’s annual and special conferences, and foreign embassies in Beijing.

Mr. Junjie is also a columnist for multiple major Chinese newspapers and journals, such as China Business Journal(中国经营报), The Economic Observer(经济观察报), and Caixin Media(财新传媒), and a regular contributor to international media outlets, such as The Diplomat, Yicai Global, Foundation for Economics Education (FEE), and L’Europe en Formation. As of March 2018, Mr. MA Junjie is Founder and CEO of ENC International Advisory Group — a private business — and the Executive Director of ENC Centre for Global Affairs, a classical liberal think tank.

Click here to view Junjie's full bio. 

Barbara Kolm was appointed as Vice President of the Austrian Central Bank  in September 2018. Dr. Kolm is also the President of the Friedrich August von Hayek Institute and the Director of the Austrian Economics Center (AEC). She is the founder of the Free Market Road Show, an initiative which brings conferences in economics to dozens of cities each year. She holds several positions in the executive management of private enterprises and NGOs. Her academic activities include an associate professorship for Austrian Economics at the University of Donja Gorica in Podgorica, Montenegro. Dr. Kolm is also a member of the supervisory board of ÖBB-Holding AG, and VIG-Wiener Städtische Versicherung AG, as well as a member of the university board of WU-Vienna University of Economics and Business. In 2016, she received the Global IP Champion Award for Excellence in Advocacy by the Global Intellectual Property Center of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In 2017, Newsmax voted her into the leading position among Europeans, and she was ranked 64th among the top 100 most influential liberal thinkers globally, as one of only 15 women, for her initiatives in providing free market solutions to today’s challenges.

Peter J. Layton - BOX, USA

Peter J. Layton, in 2011, cofounded Blackthorne Capital Management (“Blackthorne”). In addition to Blackthorne, Layton serves as a partner at Efficient Capital Management, Chairman and CEO of BOX Holdings, LLC, Chairman of the BOX Options Exchange, LLC, Owner of Warhawk LLC, and CEO of the Tallgrass Group. BOX is an automated securities exchange specializing in options and digital security tokens. Warhawk is an early stage investment company in the Angel and VC space. The Tallgrass Group is the parent company of several ecological restoration companies focused on native land restoration and credit generation for stream bank and wetland restoration.

Layton started his career in electronic trading shortly after earning his Master’s Degree in Statistics and Finance from the University of Chicago. His algorithmic approach to making trading more efficient, combined with his experience in electronic trading have been a staple in his more than 30 year career. This same combination of expertise led to his success as partner of the Hull Group and at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he was responsible for global automated equity trading for both customers and proprietary initiatives.

In addition, Layton serves on several boards and committees. Currently, Mr. Layton is a Board member of Efficient Capital Management Members Advisory Committee, the College Advisory Council at the University of Chicago, a member of the Nicholas School Business Advisory Committee, and a member of Hyde Park Angels FinTech Committee. Formerly, Mr. Layton was a member of the Board of Visitors at Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment, a member of the Global Business Resource Center Advisory Board at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater, President of the Chicago Wilderness Trust, and a Board member of the World-wide Board of Enactus. Peter Layton graduated from the University of Chicago with an AB in economics and an MBA in finance.

Joe Lehman -  Mackinac Center for Public Policy, USA

Joseph G. Lehman is president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, an independent, nonprofit research and educational institute in Michigan. He first joined the Mackinac Center in 1995 before moving on to become vice president for communications at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. Lehman returned to the Mackinac Center as executive vice president and became president of the Center in 2008. He also serves as vice chair of the National Taxpayers Union.

Lehman is a leader among state-based public policy experts. In 2013 the State Policy Network recognized him with its Roe Award for leadership, innovation and accomplishments in public policy. He has trained more than 600 think tank executives from nearly every state and more than 50 countries in strategic planning, communications and fundraising. Lehman is the leading instructor on the Overton Window theory developed by late Mackinac Center vice president Joseph Overton and has trained people around the world to understand this model of policy change.

Lehman’s commentary on public policy has been carried by The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, National Public Radio, National Journal, National Review, Investor's Business Daily, Wired magazine and nearly every daily Michigan newspaper.

Dr. Roberto Salinas León - Center for Latin America, Atlas Network

Dr. Roberto Salinas León will assume the role as Director of the Center for Latin American Policy Analysis at Atlas Network in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Salinas is well-positioned to elevate the work of Atlas Network and its partners in Latin America. He is currently President of the Mexico Business Forum, as well as the President of Alamos Alliance, which was described glowingly in Forbes in 2013 as “one of Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman’s favorite retreats,” with Roberto Salinas León noted as “a major driving force of efforts for free markets.”

Roberto Salinas León holds a B.A. in Political Economy, History and Philosophy from Hillsdale College, Michigan; and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from Purdue University, Indiana.

He has been an Adjunct Professor and Visiting Professor of Political Economy at the Escuela Libre de Derecho (1989-2002), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (1989-1992) and the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, in Mexico City (since 2004). He was also a Visiting Professor of Universidad Francisco Marroquín, in Guatemala (1997).

To view his full bio click here. 

Stephanie Giovanetti Lips - DonorsTrust, USA

Stephanie Giovanetti Lips joined DonorsTrust in 2018 as a philanthropy advisor with a general focus on planned giving.  Before joining DonorsTrust, Stephanie led the events department at Atlas Network, leading its international expansion to organize annual events in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. She also took on major gift officer responsibilities and headed up its planned giving program. Stephanie has consulted on events and fundraising for organizations such as The American Spectator, the Future of Freedom Foundation, National Association of Chemical Distributors and Johnson and Johnson. Stephanie attended Marymount University and has a B.A. in English Literature. When not working for DonorsTrust or mentoring think tank leaders from within the Atlas Network or speaking on topics close to her heart, like planned giving, Stephanie loves listening to the giggles of her children and the panting of her dog, Scooby Doo.

Brad Lips - Atlas Network, USA

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. 

Peter Lipsett - DonorsTrust, USA

Peter Lipsett is Director of Growth Strategies at DonorsTrust, the community foundation for liberty. He also leads DonorsTrust’s Novus Society, a network of donors under 40 committed to growing their philanthropic know-how. He has a duel degree in political science and theater from Davidson College and finally got a practical credential with an MBA from George Mason University. He lives with his family in Springfield, Virginia and is an impassioned Atlanta Braves fan, avid podcast listener, underperforming runner, and steady reader of U.S. presidential biographies.

Zoran Löw – Lipa, Croatian Taxpayers Association

Zoran Löw has a university degree in Economics and master degree in Information Sciences. Since 1991 he has founded or co-founded three information technology companies. He specialized as a consultant in the complex business - information systems implementation. Zoran is now CEO of Dekod, a leading Croatian ticketing provider and owner of the ulaznice.hr ticketing portal. In April 2016 Löw became the executive manager of Lipa. He is a life-long classical liberal and libertarian.

Melissa Mann - Atlas Network, USA

Melissa Mann joined Atlas Network as Director of Partnerships in 2018. Prior to joining Atlas Network, Melissa spent seventeen years as Director of Development at Reason Foundation, a public policy and media organization that advances a free society by developing, applying, and promoting libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets, and the rule of law. She is a 2016 graduate of Atlas Network’s Think Tank MBA program. Melissa received a bachelor’s degree in Diplomacy and World Affairs from Occidental College in Los Angeles and did graduate work in public policy and law at the Universität des Saarlandes in Saarbrücken and Rheinische-Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, both in what was then West Germany. From her home in Los Angeles, Melissa spends her free time reading liberty-themed non-fiction; doing voiceovers for commercials, videogames, and telephone answering systems; and chasing peacocks around her backyard.

Patrick Mardini - Lebanese Institute for Market Studies, Lebanon

Dr. Patrick Mardini is the president and founder of the Lebanese Institute for Market Studies (LIMS), the first market-oriented think tank in Lebanon. LIMS works with government officials and members of Parliament on designing specific policy reforms to address current challenges facing Lebanon. Under his watch, the institute was awarded the prize of best policy paper in the MENA region at the First Arab Liberty Festival in 2014 and the best emerging think tank in the Mena region at the Arab Liberty Festival in 2015. Dr. Mardini is currently working with a team of experts on solutions to electricity outages and losses in Lebanon, water pollution, traffic, schools, etc. The challenge is to improve the service without increasing government expenditure and fiscal deficit. He is considered an expert on the limits of government intervention in a sectarian society and the importance of the free market in bringing peace. He is often interviewed on T.V., radio, and in newspapers on economic issues related to Lebanon and has been invited to lecture in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and the Middle East. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Paris Dauphine University and postdoctoral research from John Hopkins University. He has studied and written on the role of monetary policy in producing financial crises and economic recessions and explored alternative systems such as free banking and currency board. Dr. Mardini has published several papers in academic journals. His past employment includes four years at the Paris Mutual Fund Modèles & Stratégies.

Manuel Martin - Foundation for Harmony and Prosperity, USA

Manuel Martin is a full-time student at Stanislaus State, in Turlock California. He's earning his bachelor’s degree in Business Management with a concentration in marketing. He's been active in politics for about 8 years, started a local tea party, and ran for state assembly in 2014. He currently works for the Foundation for Harmony and Prosperity, has a YouTube channel called The Thing With King, does stand-up comedy, and lives in a tiny home with his wife, Natalie. This fall, he is launching a free speech social media platform called SpeakEZY.

Patrick A. McLaughlin- Mercatus Center at George Mason University, USA

Dr. Patrick A. McLaughlin is the director of the Program for Economic Research on Regulation and a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. His research focuses primarily on regulations and the regulatory process. Dr. McLaughlin created and leads the RegData and QuantGov projects, deploying machine-learning and other tools of data science to quantify governance indicators found in federal and state regulations and other policy documents. The resulting database is freely available at QuantGov.org, and has facilitated pioneering empirical research by numerous third-party users on the causes and effects of regulation. Dr. McLaughlin has authored more than a dozen peer-reviewed studies in diverse areas, including regulatory economics, administrative law, industrial organization, and international trade. He is a coauthor of The Impact of Federal Regulation on the Fifty States (with with Oliver Sherouse). Dr. McLaughlin has given expert testimonies before Congress and state legislatures on topics ranging from the economic implications of regulatory accumulation to the potential impacts of regulatory reform. His research and op-eds have been featured in a wide range of media outlets including The Economist, C-SPAN, WSJ, Politico, and The Hill. Prior to joining Mercatus, Dr. McLaughlin served as a Senior Economist at the Federal Railroad Administration in the United States Department of Transportation and as a Visiting Scholar at the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Clemson University.

Charles Mitchell - Commonwealth Foundation, USA

Charles Mitchell is president & CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. Charles became a CF investor in 2006, joined the staff as COO in 2010, and became CEO in 2016. Charles grew up in the Philadelphia area, in a family of railroaders, teachers, and small business people. He is a graduate of Pennsylvania's public schools, the Koch Associate Program, the Claremont Institute's Publius Fellowship, and Bucknell University. In addition to his CF responsibilities, he serves as an elder of his family's church, on the boards of USA250 and Americans for Fair Treatment, and as an alumni fellow of the Bucknell Project for American Leadership and Citizenship. In 2014, he received the State Policy Network's Overton Award, and in 2017, City & State PA named him one of its 40 Under 40 Rising Stars. Before joining CF, Charles served the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and interned at the Heritage Foundation. He lives in the Harrisburg area with his wife, their four daughters, and a very faithful Subaru, which carries him and CF's vision to every corner of Pennsylvania.

Deroy Murdock

Manhattan-based political commentor Deroy Murdock is a Fox News contributor and a contributing editorwith National Review Online. His weekly column, “This Opinion Just In…,” appears in the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, the New Hampshire Union Leader, and other newspapers across America. He is also a highly regarded film, theatre, and music critic.

A popular public speaker, Murdock has lectured or debated at the Cato Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Heritage Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, Harvard Medical School, and universities including Rutgers, Stanford, and Tulane.  His speaking engagements have taken him from Bogota to Buenos Aires to Budapest.

A native of Los Angeles, he holds a BA from Georgetown University and an MBA from New York University. His graduate study included a semester at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Rejoice Ngwenya - Coalition for Market and Liberal Solutions (COMALISO), Zimbabwe

Rejoice Ngwenya is Founder and  Executive Director of Coalition for Market and Liberal Solutions (COMALISO) in Zimbabwe. He is also a graduate of the Cato University and Friedrich Naumann Foundation liberal training. He is also a property rights researcher, advocate, writer and political analyst.

Temba Nolutshungu - Free Market Foundation, South Africa

Temba Nolutshungu is a director of the Free Market Foundation (FMF). He is also chairman of the Langa Heritage Foundation and trustee of the Helen Suzman Foundation, the Cape Town Carnival and is also a council member of the (SA) Institute of Race Relations. He is a past director of the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and Langeberg Holdings Ltd. Temba has recently (2017) been appointed as chairman of the Center for Development and Enterprise Great Lakes, a policy thinktank that covers Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo where the office is based.

His political background is rooted in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. In the early 1970s, he was a pioneer activist of the black consciousness movement.  is dedication to the overthrow of the apartheid system was based on the fact that it was an omnipotent and all-embracing system which sought to limit and control every facet of black people’s lives, from the cradle to the grave. He was detained twice under the Terrorism and General Law Amendment Acts and kept in solitary confinement  The influence of his personal experiences is manifested in his writings and interventions in debates on public policy and generally fires his determination to contribute to the enhancement of the individual liberties of all people. He visited America in 1995 as part of a delegation sponsored by the US – SA Leadership Exchange Programme. He went there again in 2003 as a member of the International Visitor Programme and in 2007 as a member of a panel which addressed the New York State University.

Eric O’Keefe - Citizens for Self-Governance, USA

Eric O’Keefe has been active in libertarian organizations for forty years. In 2013 prosecutors in Wisconsin conducted pre-dawn raids on family homes and slapped gag orders on O’Keefe and others. O’Keefe risked jail by defying the gag order and filing suits against prosecutors and regulators. Justice Michael Gableman of the Wisconsin Supreme Court captured the impact in a decision terminating the investigation: “It is fortunate, indeed, for every other citizen of this great State who is interested in the protection of fundamental liberties that the special prosecutor chose as his targets innocent citizens who had both the will and the means to fight the unlimited resources of an unjust prosecution.”

Gerry Ohrstrom - Ohrstrom Foundation, USA

Gerry Ohrstrom is a private investor in New York City and former chairman of the Ohrstrom Foundation, which was founded by his grandfather in 1953. In recent years, Ohrstrom has spent much of his time in the nonprofit sector. Prior to that, he worked in manufacturing, investment banking, and private equity. He is or has been a director of various corporations and nonprofit organizations, including the Reason Foundation, the Santa Fe Institute, the Property and Environment Research Center, Africa Fighting Malaria, the International Policy Network, the Gruter Institute, the Intelligence Squared debate series, the Booker T. Washington Learning Center, the Museum of the Rockies, and the Yellowstone Park Foundation. He has been co-chairman of the President’s Council at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and is a member of the New York Academy of Science.

Dr. Tom G. Palmer - Atlas Network, USA

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 TimesDie WeltCaixingAl 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.

Casey Pifer - Atlas Network, USA

Casey Pifer is the Director of Institute Relations at Atlas Network. She manages the grants and awards programs of Atlas Network, including Lights, Camera, Liberty and the Liberating Enterprise to Advance Prosperity program. Originally from West Virginia, Casey joined Atlas Network in 2014 on the events team and has since transitioned to become the institute relations associate director. She received her bachelor's degree in economics and political science from West Virginia University in 2014.

Justin Duarte Pine is Director of International Affairs at BIO. In this role he is charged with promoting the promise of biotech, fostering global collaborations and partnerships, and for developing and encouraging policies that sustain a favorable business environment globally for BIO members. Mr. Pine is a former scientist having worked on a number of biopharmaceutical development projects. Mr. Pine is also a lawyer, registered to practice in New York, before the US Patent and Trademark Office and before the Sao Paulo section of the Brazilian Bar. A US-Portuguese citizen, Mr. Pine studied Chemistry and Law at Boston College and pursued an advanced degree as a US Fulbright Scholar at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. He has worked in Washington DC, New York, Lisbon, and Sao Paulo in a number of different capacities as scientist, lawyer, and consultant.

Lisa Roberts- Atlas Network, USA

Prior to joining Atlas Network, Lisa served as Executive Director for Friends of UFM, the U.S. foundation to​ support the mission of Universidad Francisco Marroquín. She is the founder of the Montana Policy Institute and served on staff at the Buckeye Institute, the Institute for Humane Studies and Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and the Tax Foundation. Lisa holds a bachelor's degree from the University of North Florida and an Master of Business Administration degree from Jacksonville University where she received a fellowship for her service to the Northeast Florida nonprofit community. ​

Dr. Bican Şahin - Freedom Research Association, Turkey

Dr. Bican Şahin is a professor of political science at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey. He is also the president of Freedom Research Association — an ATLAS Network partner based in Ankara, Turkey. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2003. Among his research topics are classical liberal and libertarian philosophy, the relation between liberal democracy and Islam, and the relationships between state and civil society in Turkey. He was a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy, University of Wisconsin, Madison during 2017-18 academic year. He has carried out research on the relationship between liberalism and democracy. Some of his publications are Toleration: The Liberal Virtue, Two Understandings of Rule of Law: Hayek vs Schmitt in the Context of Turkey, The Condition of Social, Political and Economic Thinking in the Islamic World from a Classical Liberal Perspective (co-authored with Atila Yayla), A Liberal Approach to Islamic System of Dhimma (co-authored with N. Tok, B. Sambur, P. Mentzel), Between Enlightened Exclusion and Conscientious Inclusion: Tolerating the Muslims in Germany (co-authored with Dr. Nezahat Altuntaş), and Toleration, Political Liberalism, and Peaceful Coexistence in the Muslim World.

Joe Scarlett - The Scarlett Family Foundation, USA

Joe Scarlett spent thirty years in leadership roles with Tractor Supply Company most as President and Chairman. Today Joe is engaged in teaching and writing about leadership, working in the family foundation and striving to improve Tennessee. In 1982 Joe played a key role in the initiative to return the company to profitability through improved customer service and focused product selection as part of a classic leveraged buyout. He was instrumental in developing the company culture which today is admired and often copied.  In 1994 Joe led the successful effort to take the company public. Tractor Supply Company was honored by Forbes as one of the “Best Managed Companies in America” and Scarlett was recognized as Ernst & Young’s Southeast Entrepreneur of the Year. Joe also served twenty years on the board of the nation’s largest retail trade organization, including four as its chairman.

Today Joe is:

  • Working with daughter Tara Scarlett in The Scarlett Family Foundation seeking to support and improve education in the community. Our mission: We advocate, invest, and work to ensure that all students in Middle Tennessee have access to a high-quality education.
  • Working with his son Andrew Scarlett in his recently formed Scarlett Hotel Group now operating four hotels.
  • Serving as vice-chairman of the Beacon Center of Tennessee, a nonpartisan research organization advocating for limited government, free markets and individual liberty at the state level.
  • Coaching management and leadership skills for business and community leaders young and old.

Joe is also the very proud father of two incredible children – Tara and Andrew. He spends time with the family including the four and soon to be five fabulous grandchildren. He and his wife Dorothy are nearly inseparable after 48 wonderful years.

Žilvinas ŠILĖNAS - Lithuanian Free Market Institute, Lithuania

Zilvinas has been in the think-tank business for 10 years. His main fields of research are energy, competition and inequality. Žilvinas appears regularly major media outlets, runs a weekly radio show, and has in 2017 was named the 4th most quoted opinion leader in Lithuania. Žilvinas a co-authored of an award-winning economics textbook “Economics in 31 Hours” for upper secondary schools. He holds a Master’s degree in financial economics from the ISM University of Management and Economics, Lithuania and a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Wesleyan University, USA.

Edward Stringham - American Institute for Economic Research, USA

Edward Peter Stringham is the President of the American Institute for Economic Research,  Davis Professor of Economic Organizations and Innovation at Trinity College, and editor of the Journal of Private Enterprise. He is also the editor of two books and author of more than seventy journal articles, book chapters, and policy studies. His work has been discussed on more than 100 broadcast stations, including CBS, CNBC, CNN, Headline News, NPR, and MTV. A frequent guest on Fox News and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal. In 2016 Rise Global ranked Stringham as the 77th most influential economist. His book, Private Governance: Creating Order in Economic and Social Life, is published by Oxford University Press.

Dr. Lyall Swim - Atlas Network, USA

Dr. Lyall Swim is the director of training at Atlas Network. In his role, Lyall provides leadership for the entire suite of Atlas Network training offerings. For the past 17 years, he has engaged with more than 20,000 adult learners in dozens of organizations around the world. His focus has been to build increased leadership and operational capacity and enable organizations to successfully navigate various forms of change. He is a sought after speaker on ethics, leadership, innovation adoption, and education innovation. As the director of operations for Sutherland Institute, Lyall helped lead a redesign of the organization that enabled the Institute to better leverage the strengths of each staff member and increase the profile and influence of the Institute in Utah. Lyall holds a Doctorate of Education with an emphasis in organization leadership from Pepperdine University. He also holds a bachelor’s in communications and an M.B.A. from Brigham Young University. His research and writing on leadership, ethics, education reform, adult learning, and innovation adoption have been published in a range of peer-reviewed journals and various local and national outlets. Above all, Lyall enjoys spending quality time with his wife and three teenage children.

John Tillman - Illinois Policy Institute, USA

John Tillman is CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, John has transformed what many wrote off as a blue state into a place ripe for free-market reform. John has founded or co-founded a variety of key organizations in Illinois to create the competitive capacity needed to turn Illinois around. John founded Illinois Policy Institute, the Liberty Justice Center, a public-interest law firm, the Illinois Opportunity Project, the Illinois Liberty Political Action Committee, and more. John is the founder of Think Freely Media and the Great Communicators Tournament — two projects dedicated to helping advocates for free enterprise and liberty make the moral case in public policy debates. John also serves on the board of America’s Future Foundation. John’s success has become a model for liberty-based organizations across the country. John is frequently asked to consult with other nonprofit, free-market organizations on marketing and organizational strategy. In 2011, John won the State Policy Network’s prestigious Roe Award for his leadership, innovation and accomplishments in the world of public policy. This annual award pays tribute to those in the state public policy movement whose achievements have greatly advanced the free-market philosophy. John is regularly featured in the media, and has appeared on Fox News Channel, Fox Business, the BBC and NPR, as well as in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times and other news outlets. Before joining the world of public policy, John was (and continues to be) a businessman and entrepreneur. He resides in Chicago’s northern suburbs with his wife, Julie, and daughter, Lauren.

James Tooley - Newcastle University, England

James Tooley, PhD, is a prize-winning author, education professor and entrepreneur. He is professor of education policy at Newcastle University, with previous appointments at the Universities of Oxford and Manchester. His ground-breaking research on low-cost private education in developing countries has won numerous awards, including gold prize in the first International Finance Corporation/Financial Times Private Sector Development Competition, the Templeton Prize for Free Market Solutions to Poverty, and the National Free Enterprise Award. His book based on this research, The Beautiful Tree: A personal journey into how the world’s poorest are educating themselves", (Penguin), was a best-seller in India and won the Sir Antony Fisher Memorial Prize. Building on his research, Tooley has dedicated himself to creating models of innovation in low-cost private education, in India, Ghana, Liberia, Honduras and England.

Jeffrey A. Tucker -  American Institute for Economic Research, USA

Jeffrey A. Tucker is Editorial Director for the American Institute for Economic Research. He is also a columnist at Forbes, managing partner of Vellum Capital (passive), founder of the Atlanta Bitcoin Embassy, Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Austrian Economics Center in Vienna, Austria (honorary), Research Affiliate for the RMIT University Blockchain Innovation Hub in Melbourne, Australia, Honorary Fellow of Mises Brazil, affilate fellow of the Acton Institute and Mackinac Institute, founder and Chief Liberty Officer of Liberty.me, an adviser to blockchain application companies, past editorial director of the Foundation for Economic Education and Laissez Faire Books, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, and author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and eight books in 5 languages. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

Matt Warner - Atlas Network, USA

Matt Warner is Chief Operating Officer of Atlas Network. In this role he supports the strategic evolution of Atlas Network's Coach, Compete, Celebrate approach to strengthening a global network of research and advocacy organizations all committed to expanding economic freedom for all people. As Senior Fellow, he writes and speaks on organizational development, change leadership, economic development and nonprofit strategy, most recently as a guest on the popular EconTalk podcast with Hoover Institution's Russ Roberts. His work has been published in the Cato Journal, the Washington Times, Forbes.com, Fee.org, as well as many daily and weekly newspapers throughout the United States. He has testified before several state legislative bodies on issues related to expanding liberty for individuals, particularly in educational choice and energy policy. Matt holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida State University and a master’s degree in economics from George Mason University. He is also certified by Georgetown University in organizational consulting and change leadership.

Laura Williams - Foundation for Economic Education, USA

Dr. Laura Williams teaches communication strategy to undergraduates and provides consulting and ghostwriting services to clients. A graduate of John's Hopkins University and recipient of a PhD in Rhetoric from Georgia State University, she is a passionate advocate for individual liberties, critical thinking, and the Oxford comma. She lives in Atlanta with her partner, their two-year-old daughter, and a rescued hound called Italics.

Maryan Zablotskyy - Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation, Ukraine

Maryan Zablotskyy is an expert in macroeconomics, financial markets, and agricultural policy. He is head of the Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation (UEFF) and previously worked in both advocacy and banking. Maryan co-founded UEFF in 2015. He holds a master's degree in finance from Lviv Commercial Academy and a Ph.D. in economics from Ukrainian National Science Academy. Maryan also took business administration training in Ashridge Business School (U.K.) and econometrics training at Vienna University of Economics and Business. Zablotskyy completed the 2016 Think Tank Leadership Training in Miami. Maryan took part in the development of numerous law drafts, of which 7 were fully adopted. These laws terminated two dozen different permits and licenses, improved land rights protection and decreased corruption.

Jeff Zysik - DonorsTrust, USA

Jeff Zysik is an attorney and accountant with fifteen years of tax planning experience, focusing primarily on sophisticated estate and income tax concepts. Before joining DonorsTrust, he was managing-director and co-founder of Charitable Entity Administration, LLC (CEA). Before launching CEA, Jeff served as Director-in-Charge of strategy development at myCFO’s national tax group. He also spent five years with KPMG LLP–one year in a tax practice office, three years with the firm’s Washington National Tax Personal Financial Planning practice and a final year serving as Director-in-Charge of the firm’s South Florida Personal Financial Planning practice. Admitted to the New York State Bar, Jeff holds a Bachelor of Accountancy degree from George Washington University, a Master in Public Accounting-Tax degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and a JD degree from George Mason University.