Atlas Network is excited to announce the finalists of this year’s Think Tank Shark Tank — Europe competition, which is sponsored by the Smith Family Foundation and will be held during Europe Liberty Forum from May 29-30 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Three think tank professionals will compete in a showcase of the region’s most exciting new projects. The winner, chosen by a panel of judges comprised of thought leaders in the industry, will receive a $10,000 prize in project seed-funding. The finalists are Admir Čavalić (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Ratko Nikolić (Serbia), and Maryan Zablotskyy (Ukraine). The judges will be Amy Proulx (John Templeton Foundation, Switzerland), Jon Utley (Freda Utley Foundation, USA), Lars Kolind (Denmark), and Linda Edwards (UK), with Terry Kibbe (Free the People, USA) as master of ceremonies.
Admir Čavalić, Director, Association “Multi” (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Project: The Libertarian Municipality
Association “Multi” is seeking funding for its Libertarian Municipality project, in which it plans to work with one of the 143 municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Multi plans to partner with the local government in a chosen municipality to implement reforms focusing on economic development. The long-term goal of the project is to demonstrate to the surrounding region that a municipality can thrive by putting the ideas of liberty in practice.
"We want to create our libertarian municipality to show that ideas of liberty give results in practice and improve the lives of ordinary people," said Čavalić. "We do not need to change the country or world in order to make libertarian improvements. We only need one, small municipality to do that, and the rest will follow."
Čavalić is the founder and director of Multi, a PhD student at the Faculty of Economics in Tuzla, and an active lecturer at this and other faculties in the country. He is a director of the OPEN Festival, the largest libertarian festival in Europe, which he started after winning the Think Tank Shark Tank competition at Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner 2015.
Ratko Nikolić, President, Center for Anti-Authoritarian Studies (CAAS, Serbia)
Project: Selfie Citizen Journalism Project
CAAS is seeking funding for its Selfie Citizen Journalism Project, which aims to educate young classical liberal journalists, bloggers, and activists and to also provide a public forum for their ideas. The project plans to create a new online course for CAAS’ School of Journalism that will train and develop 20 citizen journalists to produce videos of events pertaining to democratic division of power, rule of law, economic and individual liberties, and government corruption. CAAS plans to recruit new blog writers and citizen journalists through this course.
“Harnessing the wave of democratization and decentralization of video content creation ability brought by the omnipresent smartphones, CAAS is aiming to provide a libertarian alternative to the censored and corrupt mainstream media in Serbia,” said Nikolić. “We are aiming to create a network of capable and dedicated young ‘selfie reporters’ who will produce 20 first-hand selfie reports about corruption, cronyism and civil liberties infringements across the country. Our ‘Citizen Journalism 101’ YouTube course – ran by the celebrities of the Serbian investigative journalist scene – and our professional editor will make sure that the produced content satisfies the highest standards of journalist ethics while our social media promotional strategy will ensure that our selfie news clips are seen by at least a quarter of a million of news-hungry Serbian citizens.”
Nikolić founded CAAS in 2015 and serves as its president. He has spent several years running pro-liberty nonprofits and served as the regional director for ex-Yugoslav countries at Students for Liberty.
Maryan Zablotskyy, Director, Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation (UEFF, Ukraine)
Project: De-Occupy Europe!
UEFF plans to create an alliance of freedom minded organizations from the GUAM countries (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova) through an online platform in order to coordinate a response to the issue of 7 million people living under Russian occupation. UEFF argues the occupied territories share a lack of access to financial systems, democracy, and lack of protection for human rights, and that the platform will raise the public profile of these occupations and the associated risks and problems that accompany them. It seeks to also highlight illegal arrests and assassinations of activists from the occupied territories in media.
“Seven million people (roughly equivalent to the population of Bulgaria) are living under de-facto Russian military occupation, with another 2 million displaced,” said Zablotskyy. “Those living under military occupation are the least free people in Europe. People living under occupation have almost no basic rights and zero democracy. Legal systems are practically non-existent, and access to banking and financial systems is absent. These six occupied territories comprise 63,404 square kilometers, an area higher than that of 25 European states. These territories are home to at least 86,500 Russian troops that are a threat to neighboring countries and the EU. We want to tackle this problem by limiting the amount of corrupt revenue that these regions can generate and making occupation more expensive. We also want to increase freedoms of those internally displaced.”
Zablotskyy is the director of UEFF, which he co-founded in 2015. He holds a master's degree in finance from Lviv Commercial Academy and a PhD in economics from Ukrainian National Science Academy. Maryan took part in the development of numerous law drafts, of which 7 have been fully adopted. These laws terminated two dozen different permits and licenses, improved land rights protection, and decreased corruption.