Alex Chafuen, longtime President of Atlas Network, will be moving to Acton Institute in January 2018 to serve that organization as its Managing Director, International.
“This is a bittersweet announcement,” said Atlas Network Board Chair, Linda Whetstone. "Alex Chafuen joined Atlas Network almost at its inception and became its most visible and celebrated leader. His impact on the worldwide freedom movement has been enormous and will surely continue to grow. We are looking forward to continued collaboration with him in his important new role with the Acton Institute which seems a perfect fit for his experience and talents.”
“I am extremely thankful to my colleagues, donors, and allies of Atlas Network who, for over three decades, made possible our work of helping start and develop think tanks across the globe,” said Chafuen. “I feel blessed to be able to join the action at Acton which, like no other think tank, can help us win the moral case for a free economy.”
Alex Chafuen arrived at Atlas Network – originally established as Atlas Economic Research Foundation – in 1985, when the organization’s annual budget was less than $500,000 and its network included 27 partners. Chafuen worked alongside Atlas Network founder Sir Antony Fisher, who wrote excitedly to F.A. Hayek during Alex's first month of part-time work:
"I have also begun work on the setting up of a major conference, possibly in Jamaica, where we hope to invite those interested in setting up or running institutes in the countries of Central or South America. There are many problems in making such arrangements, but the only way to succeed is to set about trying. I have just been joined on a voluntary basis by a young man, Alejandro Chafuen, who was born in Buenos Aires. He became a member of the Mont Pelerin Society at the Stanford meeting -- the youngest member at the time -- has a Ph.D., and knows most of my contacts in Central and South America. He has many more of his own. He hopes to get a job in the San Francisco area and is willing, on a part-time voluntary basis, to work on the setting up of this conference."
Chafuen became President and CEO in 1991, and led the organization during a long period of growth. Alex has served Atlas Network as its president from 2009 to the present, and the network now touches 94 countries with 485 independent partners, many of which benefited from early counsel from Alex, among them the Acton Institute.
“As one of our founding board members and earliest supporters, Alex has been an important part of the Acton Institute’s work and mission since day one,” said Acton Institute Executive Director Kris Mauren. “Twenty-seven years later, we are truly honored to bring his invaluable experience and wisdom in the think tank industry to lead our global growth.”
Atlas Network CEO Brad Lips reflected, "I was looking back today at video from our 2010 Freedom Dinner, at which we celebrated 25 years of Alex Chafuen’s career at Atlas Network. Four special presentations were given: one by Linda Whetstone, who has since become Atlas Network’s board chair; another by the late Giancarlo Ibárgüen, in whose name Alex helped create an annual prize given out at our Latin America Liberty Forum; another by Alvaro Vargas Llosa, with whom Alex has been actively collaborating recently via programs of Fundación Internacional para la Libertad; and another by Kris Mauren, with whom Alex will work at Acton Institute. The sentiments expressed that night by those four remain true today. Alex Chafuen is a tireless advocate for free markets and individual liberty, and our whole Atlas Network team is full of appreciation for his many accomplishments.”
Chafuen is a trustee of Grove City College in Pennsylvania, and has been a member of the Mont Pelerin Society since 1980. A graduate of the Argentina Catholic University, he was a professor at the Argentine Catholic University, University of Buenos Aires, and The Hispanic American University. Chafuen, who holds a Ph.D. in economics, serves on several boards including the Chase Foundation of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Fraser Institute (Canada), and is an honorary active member of the John Templeton Foundation, the Templeton World Charity Foundation, and the Templeton Religion Trust.
He is a member of the board of advisers of The Philanthropic Enterprise, and was a member of the founding committee of Donors Trust. He is also the president and founder of the Hispanic American Center of Economic Research.
Chafuen has received numerous recognitions. They include the 2014 Walter Judd Freedom Award from The Fund for American Studies, and the 2017 Jack Kennedy Distinguished Memorial Award from Grove City College. This year, Chafuen was elected president of The Philadelphia Society.
Atlas Network will host a special tribute to outgoing president Alex Chafuen at its upcoming Latin America Liberty Forum in Santiago, Chile, in June 2018.