October 18, 2018 Print

Atlas Network is excited to announce the finalists of this year’s Think Tank Shark Tank competition, which is sponsored by the Smith Family Foundation and will be held during Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner on Nov. 7–8 in New York City. In Atlas Network’s Think Tank Shark Tank competition, three participants of Atlas Network’s training program, Atlas Leadership Academy, compete in a showcase of the worldwide freedom movement's most exciting new projects. The winner, chosen by a panel of judges comprised of thought leaders in the industry, will receive a $25,000 prize in project seed-funding. This year’s finalists are Marianna Brashear (United States), Petar Čekerevac (Serbia), and Patrick Mardini (Lebanon).

 Dr. Patrick Mardini
 President and Founder, Lebanese Institute for Market Studies,
Project: "Advancing Liberty on Campus"

The goal of this four-step capacity-building project is to give university students the tools they need to start classical liberal groups and clubs on their campuses. The training will include a 2-day workshop, online courses, and a nationwide summit for 20 young students in Lebanon who want to start classical liberal clubs on their campus. This project will allow Students for Liberty to get involved in Lebanon as they have been trying to do for many years.  It will give students an individualistic alternative to the sectarian and communist views that are so prominent in Lebanon.

Dr. Mardini is currently working with a team of experts to find solutions to electricity outages in Lebanon. 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. Mardini appears frequently in television, radio, and newspaper interviews to discuss Lebanese economic issues; he is often invited to lecture in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.

 Petar Čekerevac
 Executive Manager, Libertarian Club Libek, Serbia
Project: Talas ("The Wave"), a new online media outlet

In 2018 Libek launched a new online media outlet called Talas ("The Wave"), in order to bring the ideas of liberty and libertarian commentary and opinion to millennial audiences in Serbia and challenge the increasingly dull, collectivist, and government-controlled media scene in the country. Over the past seven months, Talas has grown in popularity, surpassing far-left and far-right outlets. Its popular-style opinion and commentary articles on current political events that are published on Talas have engaged tens of thousands of monthly users and have been quoted in several mainstream media outlets. Libek's goal is to grow Talas to become a leading political media in the country and the most popular independent online media outlet, by reaching half a million monthly website hits by the end of 2019. Libek won the 2017 Europe Think Tank Shark Tank competition, in which it first pitched Talas.

Čekerevac is responsible for fundraising, international partnerships, and strategic planning of at Libek. He 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 has spoken at events for students, policy makers, and activists in many countries across Europe including Denmark, Greece, Hungary, and Russia.

 Marianna Brashear
 Curriculum Development & Outreach Manager, Foundation for
 Economic Education, United States
Project: “Invisible Hands!”, Teaching high school economics with
 original puppets

The message of freedom, opportunity, and flourishing through free-market economics is growing in popularity in impoverished countries which lack freedom and have nowhere to go but up. While some of these governments adopt free markets, the United States is quickly moving in the opposite direction with its progressive, anti-individual, anti-freedom government education system. The antidote is to expose students to the freedom philosophy and sound economic principles early, which means making the ideas of liberty familiar, credible, and compelling to the rising generation by getting into schools and going mainstream like never before — in a way that is relevant, fun, and easy for teachers to adopt.

FEE has produced a ground-breaking, entertaining six-part video series hosted by VSauce2 star Kevin Lieber titled “Invisible Hands.” Featuring Kevin’s conversations with two originally-created puppet characters, Invisible Hands makes for easy implementation into economics classrooms nationwide, and is accompanied by teacher-friendly guides so anyone can facilitate these engaging lessons. The first of six episodes has just been completed, although is not yet available for public release. FEE is excited to complete the full 6-part video series with some additional post-production and marketing support.

Brashear's role at FEE centers on teaching the humane values and ethical principles of free markets. She is a Ukrainian immigrant and served the U.S. Air Force as a Russian language instructor. Brashear also studies Objectivist philosophy, parenting, education psychology, and is a strong defender of homeschooling rights. She is a Ukrainian immigrant, was 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. She holds degrees in Communications, Russian, and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Aspen University.