Home » News » January in Brief

January in Brief


In case you missed it (ICYMI), here’s a recap of TFAS news highlights for the month of January – more young leaders joined the TFAS Alumni Network, Novak Fellows made news and TFAS scholars took on economic and governmental reform.

TFAS Welcomes New Alumni

Forty-five young leaders joined the TFAS Alumni Network in January after completing the 2019 TFAS International Santiago program. The program, which takes place annually in Santiago, Chile, educates young people about the underpinnings of the free enterprise system and encourages them to apply these concepts to institutions in their home countries.

The new TFAS alumni, representing over 20 countries, studied economics and political theory at the Universidad de los Andes, learned about Chilean history and culture and took in the beautiful sites of Latin America.

Colombian student María José Bernal Gaviria (ILA 18) said the courses helped her discover great thinkers and encouraged her to discuss and analyze topics in a new way.

This program has been challenging enough to make me question crucial principles, enriching enough to bring me new tools to face reality and exciting enough to make new friends and learn from their cultures.”

– María José Bernal Gaviria (ILA 18)

To learn more about the Santiago program visit TFASInternational.org/Santiago.

Libertarian and Conservative Scholars Debate at TFAS HQ

On Jan. 17, TFAS hosted a philosophical debate to explore the differences in opinion and convictions between libertarians and conservatives.

Two debaters sit in chairs, debating topics of political philosophy during an event hosted by TFAS.
Dr. David Azerrad (right) and Dr. Nikolai Wenzel (left) debate at TFAS headquarters on Jan. 17.

TFAS faculty member Dr. Nikolai Wenzel, economics professor at Fayetteville State University, represented the libertarian perspective, while Dr. David Azerrad, director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics and AWC Family Foundation Fellow Institute at The Heritage Foundation, defended the conservative viewpoint.

The lively debate brought out more than 60 TFAS alumni, supporters and friends. Those interested were able to watch the debate online on TFAS’s Facebook page to see the debaters extoll their political philosophy and land a few hits against their opponent.

Watch the Facebook Live video and read more about the event at TFAS.org/LCDebateStory.

Novak Fellows Make News

Novak Fellows didn’t just produce news in January, they made their way into headlines as well.

Most notably, Matthew Schmitz (Novak 17) and Robby Soave (Novak 17), were some of the first journalists to call out bias reporting when students from a Catholic high school allegedly harassed a Native American veteran; both Fellows helped to change the conversation surrounding the controversy.

Early on, Schmitz took to Twitter, sharing other accounts of the incident and suggesting that more video and fuller reports should be uncovered before jumping to conclusions. Soave reported on what the full video said about the incident and appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight to talk about his reporting. Numerous media outlets and public figures have recanted their original stories, many citing Soave’s piece on Reason.org.

Recognized for her efforts to bring civility back into the public sphere, Carrie Sheffield (EJI 06, Novak 06) was interviewed about her bipartisan approach to digital television with Bold TV for The Daily Signal’s podcast.

Of her political segment with former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken, Sheffield said, “We’re trying to model for the country what we like to say is the beloved community, which MLK talked about and that is the sense that you can disagree very strongly in policy, but you can do it in a way that is, as I like to say, profiting off of collaboration instead of profiting off of conflict.”

TFAS Scholars Talk Economics and Governmental Reform

Need a lesson in economics? This month, TFAS scholars talked personal freedoms, the trouble of bureaucracies and the economic way of thinking.

When NPR’s “Economists on Screen” series wanted to know how the portrayal of the fictional CIA economist Jack Ryan stacked up against the real deal, they reached out to TFAS Academic Director Dr. Anne Bradley for answers. Prior to joining TFAS, she worked as an economic analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of Terrorism Analysis. During the interview, Dr. Bradley provides a firsthand look at how the economic way of thinking can and should be used as a tool to counter terrorism.

This month, TFAS Senior Scholar Dr. Don Boudreaux opined for TribLive on the unrealistic belief that “each democratic society contains a subset of people who, if given power over their fellow citizens, will reliably exercise that power with superhuman magnanimity, Solomonic wisdom and near-omniscience.” Also for TribLive, Boudreaux remembered the anniversary of the end of the draft – applauding it as the most “pro-freedom move in the last 50 years.”

Looking at how the U.S. should reform its bureaucracy, TFAS Grewcock Senior Scholar Dr. Donald Devine wrote about his time running personnel policy under President Ronald Reagan for The Daily Signal.


Want more TFAS news? Start with the articles below and then sign-up for our weekly newsletter.


Recent Posts


Economics Beyond the Classroom with Rosolino Candela

This week, another exceptional guest joins us on the Liberty + Leadership Podcast: Dr. Rosolino Candela, senior fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Dr. Veronique de Rugy Speaks on Women and Economics at Annual Dobriansky Lecture

The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) hosted the annual Lev Dobriansky Lecture on Political Economy on Tuesday, June 4. Dr. Veronique de Rugy, the George Gibbs Chair in Political Economy and Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University…

Woodhouse Public Policy Fellows Discover Post-War Conservative Thought

The newly revamped Woodhouse Public Policy Fellowship closed on a high note for the class of 2023-24 at TFAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C., this May.