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Liberty + Leadership News: December 3


We hope you enjoy these top news stories about TFAS activities, alumni and events this week. Sign up to receive TFAS updates, and visit us on social media for additional up-to-the-moment TFAS news!

28th Annual TFAS Journalism Awards Dinner Honors Leaders Shaping American Journalism

TFAS welcomed more than 160 alumni, supporters and friends to the 28th Annual TFAS Journalism Awards Dinner in New York City on Nov. 3, 2021. TFAS and its esteemed guests were thrilled to be back at the Metropolitan Club to honor the best in real, honest American journalism with prestigious Fellowships and journalism achievement awards.

TFAS was proud to present alumna Katherine Mangu-Ward, Novak ’05, with the 2021 Kenneth Y. Tomlinson Award for Outstanding Journalism for her exhibition of excellence in reporting and a determination to present the truth. Neal B. Freeman was also recognized for his lifelong dedication to exceptional ethical journalism with the Thomas L. Phillips Career Achievement Award. In Freeman’s acceptance remarks, he thanked TFAS and acknowledged the legacy of the TFAS Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship’s namesake.

Paul Rago, father of the late journalist Joseph Rago, presents 2021-22 Rago Fellow Faith Bottum with her award at the 28th Annual TFAS Journalism Awards Dinner.

“Robert Novak cared about young journalists because he cared about America,” Freeman said. “He believed that without a free and skeptical press, America could never achieve a free and democratic republic.”

The Novak Fellowship offers early-career journalists the opportunity to pursue year-long projects on topics related to the principles of a free society through grant funding. 2021-22 Fellows Kevin Daley, Kenny Xu, Emma Freire, Sonner Kehrt, Micah Meadowcroft, and John Farley Alumni Fund Fellow Oliver Wiseman shared remarks of gratitude and their plans for the fellowship projects during the ceremony. 2021-22 Joseph Rago Memorial Fellow for Excellence in Journalism Faith Bottum also received her Fellowship award during the dinner and shared how reading the late Joseph Rago’s work inspired her to commit to true independent journalism. Bottum called the opportunity “a dream job.”

I get to learn how to edit and write from the best and in my opinion, The Journal is the best place ever for young journalists to be,” she said.

Read a full recap of the event and watch a video of the ceremony at TFAS.org/JournalismAwards21.

A Place Where Freedom is the Ultimate Goal

Venezuelan political activist, asylum-seeker and TFAS Outreach Fellow Andrés Guilarte recalls his childhood as a beautiful time in the age of Venezuelan prosperity. Born in 1994, Guilarte witnessed a dramatic shift in his corner of the world as the country that had long been implementing socialist policies continued its downward spiral with the election of Hugo Chavez in the late 1990s. In the span of just a few years, millions of Venezuelans fled the country to escape the ever-worsening poverty and violence.

Guilarte speaks to students at the Catholic University of America in 2019.

After several years of working toward change through protests and advocacy in Venezuela, Guilarte fled his home country after securing an internship in Washington, D.C., with the Cato Institute. As his Cato internship was ending, TFAS was seeking new avenues to reach young leaders with the truth about the dangers of socialism.

TFAS supporter Frayda Levy heard Guilarte’s story and thought he would be a perfect fit for TFAS’s new Venezuela Project. She reached out to him and Jorge Galicia, another Venezuelan asylum-seeker, and the pair spent the next few months studying the history of Venezuela and the real effects of socialism. After several months of preparation, Guilarte gave his first presentation to college students. He described the feeling of this new opportunity as surreal.

Coming to TFAS was surreal because it was – well, it’s like when you think you won’t have any opportunities, and suddenly you’re given this huge opportunity you never imagined. That’s the way I saw it.”  – TFAS Outreach Fellow Andrés Guilarte

“My first few months in the U.S. were really hard, so I never imagined I would get a call out of the blue to come to D.C.,” he said. “Coming to TFAS was surreal because it was – well, it’s like when you think you won’t have any opportunities, and suddenly you’re given this huge opportunity you never imagined. That’s the way I saw it.”  

Read more about Guilarte’s message and involvement with TFAS at TFAS.org/Guilarte.

Public Policy Fellows explore American Founding as framework for current challenges in public policy

Each month, the TFAS Public Policy Fellows meet to discuss various topics relating to the experiment in self-government. They examine the challenges and questions a free society must address in order to flourish, and they learn how to include this knowledge in policymaking decisions.

2021-22 Public Policy Fellows Drew Lingle, Madison Leblanc and Patrick McGarry Jr. gather at TFAS for their November meeting.
2021-22 Public Policy Fellows Drew Lingle, Madison Leblanc and Patrick McGarry Jr. gather at TFAS for the November meeting.

In their November meeting, the Fellows heard from Dr. Samuel Gregg, an author and expert in political economy and the director of the Acton Institute. Dr. Gregg spoke about the relevance of political economy in modern day discussions. He defined political economy as the idea that economic life cannot be left out of political consideration – that values and economic truths must be included in political discussions.

Dr. Gregg highlighted the reasons why contemporary arguments should be framed by the American founding. This country’s founders often thought of political economy and let these ideas shape their policy decisions. The way they incorporated both politics and economics laid the groundwork for the overwhelming success and democratic functioning of the U.S.

The Fellows asked insightful questions of the guest speaker in order to learn more about the subject in relation to their own interests. This Q&A led to a discussion of civil society, which is an area of expertise for Dr. Gregg. He said that civil society is strong in the U.S., especially compared to other nations, but it’s not nearly as strong as it used to be. That is why the work of TFAS is so important.

Post of the Week

The early admissions deadline for the 2022 TFAS D.C. Summer Program is Tuesday, Dec. 7. Undergraduate college students are encouraged to apply for the opportunity to live, learn and intern in the nation’s capital for the summer.


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Kent Keirsey ’02 is running for U.S. Congress in North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District.

Faith Bottum, Rago ’21, has an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal on how decentralization of federal agencies can help protect democracy in the age of teleworking.

Bill Wirtz ’17 discusses the importance of preserving the American agriculture industry in a piece for National Interest.

Martin Rodriguez ’15, PPF ’15, interviews the former Chilean ambassador to China to discuss the future of U.S.-China relations for The Harbus.

Jordan Rodell ’18 and John Foulkes ’17 co-author a piece for Stateside Associates about North Carolina’s budget.

Kurt Couchman ’02, PPF ’07, opines on the Build Back Better Act for Fox News.

Guest lecturer for the TFAS Public Policy Fellowship Allen Guelzo was interviewed on the Law & Liberty podcast about his latest book on the life of Robert E. Lee.

Peter Suderman, Novak ’10, discusses Ukraine’s fight for independence in this article for Reason.

Curt Mills, Novak ’18, writes about the future of the Iran Deal in an article for The American Conservative.

Naomi Riley, Novak ’01, published two articles recently – one for Deseret News about restorative justice and violence in schools, and another for the New York Post on why women are leaving the workforce and not returning.

Joel Pollak, Novak ’17, writes about the return of Republicans in Pennsylvania suburbs for Breitbart.

Robby Soave, Novak ’17, explains how the Biden administration’s spending plans exemplify a poor understanding of economic realities in a piece for Reason

TFAS Grewcock Senior Scholar Donald Devine questions the relevance of conservative fusionism in the modern era in this article for The American Spectator

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