October 26, 2017 Print

From left to right: Maurizio Camillo Borra, Cesare Busetto, Silvia Gastaldello (European University Institute), Zhou Yong, Alex Chafuen, Carlo Lottieri (Istituto Bruno Leoni), and Dr. Alberto Dalla Libera (Geneva Group International).

Atlas Network President Alejandro (Alex) Chafuen will receive the 2017 Mengzi – Marco Polo Award on October 27, 2017 from the the Italian-Chinese Association for the Development of Economics and Culture (ASECIC). The program will begin at 3:30 p.m. in Palazzo Bo at the University of Padua.

“It is a great privilege to receive the 2017 Mengzi-Marco Polo award,” said Chafuen. “During my many decades studying and promoting a free economy around the globe, I witnessed the many benefits of trade across and within national borders. The award is named after a philosopher and a multi-faceted traveler, ambassador, and merchant, who were optimistic about human nature when it was nurtured by environments with the proper incentives.”

The award, named after the famous Chinese philosopher Mengzi (or Mencius, d. 289 BC), celebrates those who work to liberate human nature and the human spirit. Mengzi believed that humans will prosper if allowed to grow up in a healthy environment. In economics, he favored low taxation, reducing government barriers, and opposed price fixing. Mengzi criticized those who thought human nature could be molded by those ruling over them. The Mengzi Award is also inspired by the contribution of Marco Polo, the Venetian explorer who over seven centuries ago opened the eyes of the West to the many Chinese contributions to culture, economics, and civilization. ASECIC is led by Professor Carlo Lottieri, a noted classical liberal who collaborates with numerous Italian universities and think tanks.


Alex Chafuen

“Both Mengzi and Marco Polo opened the eyes of many to the human potential and guided new efforts to increase trade and understanding among peoples from different nations,” continued Chafuen. “This recognition of the work I have been able to do thanks to my many colleagues and supporters of Atlas Network and several other think tanks and associations, gives me renewed energy to continue working for freer markets under a rule of law based on the dignity of the individual.”

Given the efforts to enhance trade through “A New Silk Route” and the One Belt One Road Initiative, before the award ceremony, Chafuen will give a keynote lecture on the importance of trade as an engine that helps build and enhance civilization. The program will include remarks by the Chinese ambassador in Italy, Li Ruiyu, and Pierpaolo Baretta, the Italian under-secretary of economics and finance.