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Liberty + Leadership News: February 24

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We hope you enjoy these 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!

Roy Abdo on His Journey to the American Dream

Roy Abdo ’06, ’07, PPF ’10, has led a truly remarkable life. He got his start with TFAS in 2006 when he left Lebanon to attend the TFAS program in Greece. On his way, war broke out in Lebanon, leaving him as a 21-year-old stranded in a foreign country and unable to go back home to Beirut. With the help of TFAS friends, staff and alumni, Roy traveled to the United States to embark on a new journey.

Today, Roy is the founder and CEO of Digital Revamp, a digital marketing agency helping organizations reach customers through digital strategy and thought leadership. He has worked for the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. State Department, Gallup and Middle East Broadcasting Networks. Roy has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Lebanese American University, a bachelor’s degree from both William Jewell College and Georgetown University, a master’s degree from The Catholic University of America, and an MBA from The Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School. He officially became a US citizen in 2018. Roy is a three-time TFAS alumnus, having participated in TFAS Greece in 2006 and Capital Semester Spring in 2007.

In this week’s episode of the Liberty and Leadership Podcast, TFAS President Roger Ream ’76 and Roy discuss how TFAS facilitated his journey to the United States, how the William Jewell College community helped him deal with a bit of culture shock when he arrived in Missouri, how he turned his business school case studies into real life business opportunities and why he believes the American Dream is very much alive – you just have to work harder and smarter


William F. Buckley’s Enduring Legacy

TFAS Trustee Emeritus Neal Freeman shares “The Enduring Legacy of William F. Buckley” at the TFAS Annual Conference on Feb. 4, 2023.

Businessman, political writer and TFAS trustee emeritus, Neal B. Freeman recently published a piece in National Review that was adapted from his speech from the TFAS Annual Conference earlier this month on the legacy of William F. Buckley Jr.

Freeman wrote how Buckley set out to change the world and did so. He shared personal stories that speak to the character of Buckley, telling stories at the forefront of the development of both National Review and Firing Line. From 1964 until 2012, four years after his passing, every Republican nominee for president was either a Buckley conservative or pretended to be, he wrote.

 …while you and I may watch the movie of our life in black and white, Bill Buckley saw his in vivid color. And in large, Rorschachian patterns. He had a knack for discerning connections, invisible to others, between mundane activity and high purpose.” – Neal B. Freeman

Buckley spent decades building the conservative majority. He met with conservative scholars such as Russell Kirk and his traditionalists to join the coalition and he did the same with Kirk’s arch rivals, Irving Kristol and his neoconservatives.

Read more about the legacy of William F. Buckley Jr. here.


Post of the Week

Javiera O’Bryan ’23 discusses her experience with TFAS Santiago on a featured post by the Facultad Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales UANDES.


 TFAS Faculty, Alumni, Supporters in the News

Robby Soave, Novak ’17, wrote an article about how the United States State Department funds a disinformation index that warns advertisers to avoid Reason, which was named one of the “ten riskiest online news outlets” by a government-funded disinformation tracker.


Benjamin Dierker, PPF ’18, started a new position as an executive director at the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure.


Emily Schroen ’19 wrote her first piece for The Diplomat, addressing a potential humanitarian crisis in South Korea.


Leila Mekhdiyeva ’17 wrote a personal piece about being a “diaspora kid” learning to embrace her Azerbaijani roots for The Caspian Post.


Erika Lizza, PPF ’22, is interning as a research assistant at Religious Freedom Institute.


Current Public Policy Fellow Michael Lucchese wrote an article about autocracy in Russia for Law & Liberty.


Lucy Westcott ’12 wrote an article about Ukrainian journalists for Committee to Protect Journalists.


George Lomsadze ’08, ’08 wrote a personal essay as a tribute to his recently deceased father for Eurasianet. It’s a time capsule from the Soviet era in Russia and Georgia, with people trying to maintain decency in an indecent system.


Martyna Pawluk ’22, who is currently interning at Mercatus with TFAS, and alumna Elise Amez-Droz, PPF ’19, co-wrote an article for Open Health Policy about the effects of the public health emergency’s end and the omnibus bill on Medicaid and other healthcare programs.


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