Home » News » Liberty + Leadership News: Feb. 21, 2020

Liberty + Leadership News: Feb. 21, 2020


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

See TFAS alumni, staff, faculty and friends who are writing and making today’s headlines by visiting our “Quick Links.”

Alumnus and Foreign policy expert speaks to Spring Class

Tensions in the Middle East have continued to grow following the U.S. military airstrike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad earlier this year. As legislative professionals and news pundits debate what this means for the future of U.S.-Iran foreign policy, research fellow at the Hudson Institute and TFAS alumnus Blaise Misztal ’00, PPF ’09, sat down with Capital Semester students to provide his expertise on the conflict.

Misztal discusses U.S.-Iranian policy with the Capital Semester students.

An expert on foreign policy and the Middle East, Misztal spoke to the students about his experience researching and drafting policy recommendations concerning national security issues in Iran and surrounding regions. Misztal believes that prioritization and risk assessment are the two most important factors to consider when drafting these proposals.

“There is broad speculation as to what the actual policy is in the Middle East,” Misztal said. “And there are some important questions to consider when looking at the conflict in Iran: What are our objectives? And what is the greatest threat that Iran poses?”

Misztal also explained why Iran’s political, social and economic complexity makes the country unique.

Following the lecture, Misztal met with the students to answer their questions on foreign policy and current events.

“What’s interesting to me about Iran is that it is everything that we have to deal with as policy makers and policy professionals all rolled into one country,” Misztal said.

Misztal attended the TFAS Prague program in 2000, and was selected as a 2009 TFAS Public Policy Fellow. He holds a Master of philosophy in political science from Yale and a bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Chicago.

TFAS thanks Blaise Misztal for sharing his time and expertise with Capital Semester students this spring.

Continuing Education Director Opines on George Washington’s Unifying Vision For America

In honor of Presidents Day, TFAS Director of International and Continuing Education Programs Brenda Hafera opined on Washington’s thoughts on the dangers of divisive politics and looked to his establishment of the Potomac River project as an example for unifying today’s libertarian-conservative debate in a piece for The Federalist:

Following the Revolutionary War, America was economically weak. So George Washington took measures to ensure financial growth. He championed the Potomac River project to establish a network of roads and tributaries that connected separate parts of the country. This would allow citizens to travel and trade with one another, improving the lives of everyday Americans and securing the promise of prosperity to millions yet unborn. This was an end worthy of the attention of America’s father.

Washington also saw prosperity as a means. It can satisfy material needs while creating the conditions for a nation and a people to act justly … A wealthy country need not renege on debts to its allies. Prosperity makes that possible.

Yet beyond such advantages, Washington saw prosperity as necessary for the accomplishment of his greatest task: the establishment of an American national character.” –  Brenda Hafera, The Federalist

She further explained how Washington’s Potomac River project was essential because it would promote cultural education and unity, in addition to trade and commerce. Read more in The Federalist.

Alumni Share Transformational Impact of Liberty + Leadership Campaign

During the TFAS Founders’ Day celebration on Feb. 6, President Roger Ream ’76 triumphantly announced that TFAS had surpassed an ambitious $25 million campaign goal, allowing us to expand our educational offerings for young professionals and reach thousands more students with our transformational programs.

Melanie Benit ’14, ’15, PPF ’18, gives testimonial remarks about the impact of campaign-funded programs and thanks supporters for making her TFAS experiences possible.

In a room of more than 140 TFAS students, alumni, supporters, faculty and friends, three alumni – Charisma Hunter ’18, ’19, Melanie Benit ’14, ’15, PPF ’18, and Matthew Taylor King, Rago ’19 – also took to the stage to thank supporters and speak about their transformational TFAS experiences.

Benit, a multi-program alumna who participated in the 2018 TFAS Public Policy Fellowship provided heartfelt insights on how the Fellowship gives intellectual leaders a necessary outlet to share and discuss ideas. An activism manager at the Institute of Justice, Benit shared how much she looked forward to her monthly Fellowship meetings when she could set her work and personal commitments aside to connect with peer leaders and discuss fundamental ideas, like those espoused in the Lincoln Douglas Debates. “It really was a wonderful time to let go of the burdens of today and think about the bigger picture, like the Experiment in Self-Government,” she said.

Hear more from these alumni on about the impact of campaign-funded programs and watch their TFAS testimonials at TFAS.org/CampaignImpact.

View more photos from the TFAS Founders’ Day celebration on Facebook.

Video of The Week

Charisma Hunter ’18, ’19, Melanie Benit ’14, ’15, PPF ’18, and Matthew Taylor King, Rago ’19 thank supporters and speak about their transformational TFAS experiences during our Founders Day celebration.

Quick Links

USA Today sports reporter Michelle Martinelli ’10 joined a test flight with the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds before their Daytona 500 flyover.

Matthew Continetti, Novak ’08, opines for National Review on Rush Limbaugh’s influence on American conservatism.

Capital Semester student Shannon McSkimming ’20 writes about her current TFAS internship experience on the Hill in a blog post for Flinders University.

Herbert W. Stupp ’70 reviews new book, “Call Sign Chaos,” co-authored by former United States Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Bing West in a recent article for The Washington Times.

TFAS Senior Scholar Dr. Don Boudreaux emphasizes the importance of free markets in successful innovation following the recent Iowa caucus app malfunction in an article for Trib Live.

Venezuelan political asylum seeker and TFAS campus speaker Andrés Guilarte was interviewed for WPTF’s Triangle’s Afternoon News with Rick and Donna Martinez in Raleigh, North Carolina, just prior to his speech to students at NC State on Tuesday. Listen to the full segment here and here.

Robby Soave, Novak ’17, opines for Reason Magazine on the Trump Administration’s plan to reduce the size of the Department of Education.

Michael Brendan Dougherty, Novak ’09, analyzes Vice President Joe Biden’s performance in the Democratic primaries in an article for National Review.

Ben Nuelle ’14 reports for Agri Pulse on new water infrastructure legislation.

Matthew Walther, Novak ’16, opines for The Week on the divisive Democratic primaries.

Tanja Porcnik’s ’04, ’05, PPF ’07, has authored her first article as an opinion writer for the Brussels Times  exploring the EU’s role in international free trade.

Martina Olbertova ’08 discusses the future of luxury brands in an interview for Eat Love Savor lifestyle magazine.

Tarini Parti ’10 is featured on a panel of top political reporters for CNN’s “Inside Politics” segment.

TFAS Senior Scholar Dr. Don Boudreaux opines for the American Institute for Economic Research on the current state of the American economy.

Alexis Lenderman ’17, ’19 and Justin Black ’18, ’19 are featured in an article for MLive.com on “The Scholarship Expert,” their newly-launched joint business venture aimed to help college students graduate debt free.

TFAS Regent Emeritus Dr. Lee Edwards examines C-SPAN’s recently released third survey of historians on presidential leadership in an article for The Daily Signal.

Matthew Taylor King, Rago ’19, has recently published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Democratic primary candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Naomi Schaefer Riley, Novak ’01, opines for the Institute for Family Studies on the collapse of international adoption.

TFAS professor Richard Benedetto opines for The Hill on former Vice President Joe Biden’s decline in momentum throughout the Democratic primaries.

Shant Boyajian, Law ’08, PPF ’13, opines for Infra Insight Blog on impending infrastructure funding legislation in the U.S


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