June 7, 2017 Print

Álvaro Iriarte speaks at Liberty Forum 2016

Fighting the bias against justice and freedom

One of the major challenges in Chile today is that there seems to be almost a permanent bias against the ideas of justice and freedom. We take this challenge   seriously, and that’s why we strive to be the rational, emotionally relevant voice for these ideas within the public arena  — and,  in  particular, with  students.  Younger generations are the living proof of  the  progress achieved  by  the  ideas of  freedom  and  justice  implemented in Chile. Ironically, though, it is usually the younger generations that have such a negative  view  of them.  Because of this, we  decided  to  partner educational institutions with students from low-income families. We go into the educational  institution  and  lead discussions  on  the  topics  of  poverty, education, progress, and civil society, and we have accompanying activities designed  to  develop  skills  in  oration and public speaking. This project was designed to challenge the  dominant position  of socialist  ideas  inside  the campuses.  At  the  beginning,  we  only went  to campuses  in  Santiago,  our country’s   largest   city   and   capital. There  is  a  widespread  lack of  effort to  spread  our  ideas  outside  of  Santiago,  though,  so  we  have  expanded our  outreach  and  we  are  currently visiting   campuses   in   several   cities throughout Chile. In this line of action, we opened our first regional offices in Concepción on Chile’s central coast in March 2016.

Santiago de Chile downtown, Chile

Countering the love for big government and state-run solutions

We always remember, as a team, that freedom  and  progress  are  not  free, and  that  we  have  to  defend  them  on a daily basis. This is our big challenge in Chile, because so many young people  are  enamored  with  socialist  and statist ideas. We are constantly countering  this  ideology  of  servitude  with our  activities  and  outreach  efforts. One of  the  ways  we  do  this,  among others,  is  through  our  book  publications  project. This  year  we  published a  book  on  the  importance  of  education  choice  and  on subsidiarity  and its  relation  with  freedom  and  justice. We  are  also  currently  planning  the publication  of  books  about  figures throughout history who are relevant in  promoting  the  ideas  of  freedom. One  of  our  first  texts  will  discuss freedom  of conscience  by  studying the 15th and 16th century social philosopher Sir Thomas More.

Instituto Res Publica team at Chile Siempre Annual Dinner (2016)

Always looking for new ways to connect

IRP has been around since 2011, so we’re still relatively new. We are constantly looking for ways to increase our interconnectedness with others in the freedom movement. Thanks to Atlas Network, we have been able meet people in other countries who are working on similar issues, and we’ve learned from their experiences about how can we implement new ideas or programs back here in Chile. For example, we are now in conversations with the Foundation for Economic Education to translate some of their material for the Chilean public. We’ve been able to build collaborative relationships with friends from around Latin America, especially in Argentina and Uruguay. In October, we published an op-ed together with Uruguay-based Centro de Estudios para el Desarollo regarding the new trade agreement between Chile and Uruguay. We’re also seeking ways to further collaborate and strengthen relations with the other Chilean think tanks. We did not previously have a formal system in place to gauge our outreach effectiveness, but thanks to the networking and training opportunities provided by Atlas Network’s Think Tank Leadership Training and Think Tank MBA, we introduced a rigorous system to measure the effects and impact of our outreach programs.

Álvaro Iriarte is director of training at Instituto Res Publica, based in Santiago, Chile. Iriarte attended Atlas Leadership Academy’s Think Tank MBA in 2016. Iriarte earned his law degree from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He joined Instituto Res Publica in 2010. Prior to that, he worked as a lawyer in the natural resources and energy department of the law firm Claro y Cia. He teaches legal history at the Universidad Autónoma de Chile, writes about property rights and economic freedom, and focuses on political thought and the history of ideas. Iriarte is a columnist at the Chilean financial newspaper El Pulso and also at a local newspaper in the north of the country. He is one of the editors of the book Subsidiariedad en Chile: Justicia y Libertad (Subsidiarity in Chile: Justice and Freedom), published in 2016.

This was first published in the Freedom’s Champion Winter 2016 edition.

See more Alumni in Focus:
Connor Boyack: Entrepreneurial hustle in Utah pays off big.
Akash Shrestha: Championing entrepreneurs in the new Nepal.
Candelaria de Elizalde: A demanding voice in Argentina.
Ayesha Bilal: Navigating Pakistan's opaque maze of bureaucracy.