April 3, 2017 Print

Alex Chafuen, Atlas Network president and incoming Philadelphia Society president, with Lary Arnn, outgoing Philadelphia Society president.

On Friday, March 31, the board of the Philadelphia Society elected Atlas Network President Alex Chafuen to serve as president of the society for 2017–18. The Philadelphia Society, an Atlas Network partner based in Jerome, Mich., was founded in 1964 to sponsor the interchange of ideas in the interest of deepening the intellectual foundations of a free and ordered society.

“There has been an important overlap in the pre-history and history of Atlas and the Philadelphia Society,” explains Chafuen. “Our founder, Antony Fisher, was the first dinner speaker. At the first general meeting, in 1965, he gave a dinner talk that preceded a presentation by Milton Friedman, who served three terms as a trustee for a total of nine years. Other speakers included George Stigler, Frank Meyer, and Russell Kirk. In 1968, Fisher was the luncheon speaker at a program where during the night before F.A. Hayek delivered his lecture ‘Competition as a Discovery Procedure.’”

Other Atlas Network leaders and staff have served in important positions with the Philadelphia Society, including the late Leonard Liggio, Atlas Network’s longtime executive vice president of academics, who served as the Philadelphia Society’s president in both 1992–93 and 1994–95.

“The late Atlas VP Leonard P. Liggio, was president of the Philadelphia Society on two occasions, and senior fellow William Dennis once,” Chafuen continues. “Among senior staff John Blundell and Jo Kwong served as trustees, as well as Dan S. Peters, a former trustee and current member of our advisory board. I was invited to the society 25 years ago. It is an immense honor to have been named president in this, my silver anniversary. What happened in Philadelphia in 1776 is relevant not only for the United States but for freedom-loving people around the world.”

Since 1965, the Philadelphia Society has met semiannually to engage leading scholars and thought leaders in conversation about the prospects for liberty in light of our shared intellectual traditions and the philosophical, cultural, and policy challenges of the day. During his tenure as president of the Philadelphia Society, Chafuen will preside over two of its meetings that will explore how to give new strength to the vision of America’s Founding Fathers. The 2017 Fall Meeting, held Oct. 13–14 in Tysons Corner, Va., will explore “New Insights on the American Founding,” and the 2018 Spring Meeting will examine “Big Questions in Keeping the Republic” on April 6–8 in Philadelphia, Pa.

“I hope I can count on your help in attracting to the society the current and future Friedmans, Hayeks, Fishers, and Kirks,” Chafuen concludes. “The Philadelphia Society will remain loyal to its mission of understanding and deepening the intellectual foundations of a free and ordered society. It continues to respect different schools of thought and disciplines, and is open to academics, think tank leaders, and their allies and supporters.”

Philadelphia Society Executive Director Lenore Ealy welcomed Chafuen to his new role in the organization.

“Alex is a long-time member and ambassador of the Philadelphia Society here in the United States and through the global liberty movement,” Ealy said. “I am looking forward to working with Alex to realize his vision for developing and hosting upcoming meetings on these two important topics.”