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.
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