Although Brazil emerged from its recession in 2017, corruption and cronyism still trouble the nation. Government monopolies are large, provide low quality services, and create barriers to entry that discourage competition. To combat these trends, Students For Liberty Brasil (SFLB) have designed, planned, and executed a series of state conferences that promote liberty and train future leaders around the country.
“Brazil has an extremely statist culture — 70 percent of Brazilians still believe that the government should act directly in the economy to induce growth,” said Fernando Miranda, executive director of SFLB. “In academia, solutions to public problems are usually presented from the point of view of ‘what the state can do.’ … That's why Students For Liberty Brazil’s work is so important. We are ensuring that the next generation in Brazil stands for freedom. We are forming the next generation of communicators, intellectuals, judges, lawyers, and all sorts of social leaders who will turn the state culture towards liberalism.”
From March 14 to April 20, SFLB hosted state conferences in 21 of the 27 Brazilian states. More than 30 speakers were booked for the conferences, 30 percent of whom were entrepreneurs. More than 2,300 attended the conferences. The state conference in Pará, which is located in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, had an audience of 300.
“Thanks to state conferences, states far from major centers such as Pará and Roraima hosted events for the first time,” continued Miranda. “This has generated great commitment from local communities, sometimes leading organizers to travel by boat to make their events viable. Also, new students groups were funded after these events with impact that will last for years to come.”
Miranda noted that the series of state conferences had a dual impact. First, organizers accessed development opportunities, from strategic planning and crisis management to event promotion and team leadership. Second, participants left with the tools and motivation to make their campuses and the world a freer place. One such participant is Raphael Lima, who started a popular YouTube channel with over 400,000 subscribers after attending a Students For Liberty event in his city.
“When we started thinking about a State Conference model … we wanted to create a larger number of Raphaels, leaders dedicated to creating their own organizations, and investing their time and effort in the liberty movement,” continued Miranda. “Our main motivation is to create leaders prepared to host events, with capacity for organization, mobilization, and fundraising — people who really want to believe that it is worth investing in the liberty movement, like Raphael did three years ago.”