The 31st edition of Fórum da Liberdade on April 9-10 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, hosted over 6,500 participants and over 20 speakers, including six presidential candidates and a federal judge in charge of the prosecution of one of the largest corruption scandals in history. Fórum da Liberdade is hosted by Atlas Network partner Instituto de Estudios Empresariais (IEE). The livestream of the event had over 635,000 views.
Organizing under the theme of “The Voice of Change,” the event occurred amidst the general climate of dissatisfaction with the government and excitement with the recent developments in the corruption investigation “Operation Car Wash,” including the arrest of former Brazilian president Lula for corruption and money laundering.
In a turbulent year of presidential elections, Fórum da Liberdade provided a platform for the discussion of alternatives to the old and ineffective way of doing politics in Brazil. The public had the opportunity to hear from six “pre-candidates” in this year’s elections and got to hear from both long-time political figures and new candidates presenting fresh ideas from a liberal perspective.
With the presence of names such as Deidre McCloskey; Sérgio Moro (the federal judge in charge of the prosecution of the crimes of Operation Car Wash); Antonio Di Pietro (the prosecutor in the Mani Pulite corruption trials in Italy); Theodore Dalrymple (senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, author of several books, and retired physician); and Leandro Narloch (a Brazilian journalist and writer); Fórum da Liberdade also covered important issues dominating the public discourse in Brazil, including corruption, freedom of speech, political correctness, and entrepreneurship.
In the last two years, Fórum da Liberdade has moved from being a two-day lecture and debate-based event to a weeklong marathon of seminars and workshops organized in partnership with other Brazilian and international organizations (Oficinas da Liberdade), cultural sessions, special programs for entrepreneurs, and a rich schedule of concurrent panels.
The growing success of Fórum da Liberdade doesn’t distract IEE from its commitment to the ideas of liberty. Instead, it pushes them to make those ideas mainstream and that, combined with its success in bringing attention to Brazil’s broken rule of law, continues to set an example for civil society worldwide.