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Liberty + Leadership News: January 7


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!

Fighting for Freedom, Advocating for Liberty

Born and raised in Venezuela, Jorge Galicia remembers a happy childhood with great birthday parties, international vacations, and a close-knit family. He never imagined that one day he would be forced to go into hiding and eventually flee his country simply to stay alive. Now working as a TFAS outreach fellow, Galicia uses his story to share the dangers of socialism with college students across the Americas.

TFAS Outreach Fellow Jorge Galicia travels the country sharing his story and inspiring college students with a message of the value of freedom.

When he was a teenager, Galicia began to notice slight changes in his middle-class family’s way of life. The 20 bolivares (Venezuelan currency) his mom gave him for school lunch no longer bought a full meal. His family waited in a line wrapped around the block just for a piece of bread. Electricity and internet connections began to fail. The water supply to their home dwindled. They no longer felt safe walking down the street after being robbed at gunpoint several times.

After years of turmoil in Venezuela, Galicia was selected to participate in Project Arizona, an educational program developed by TFAS alumnus Jacek Spendel ’08, ’09. Through this program, Galicia sought refuge in the United States while building professional skills and learning how to be an even more effective advocate for liberty. Through the TFAS Venezuela Project, Galicia has had the opportunity to share his story with college students around the country.

“A lot of people said this could never happen in Venezuela, but it happened,” he said. “Now we regret it. I hear Americans say this will never happen in the United States, but if we follow the wrong ideas, it will. We’re already seeing consequences here that we saw when socialism began to take hold in Venezuela.”

Read more about Galicia’s story and why he chooses to be an advocate for freedom at TFAS.org/Galicia.

Alumni Staff Spotlight: Kristin Underwood

TFAS students know firsthand the transformational benefits of our programs. Some alumni participate in multiple programs to see more of what TFAS has to offer, and some alumni are so captivated by TFAS’s impact they return as staff members.

Kristin and her classmates enjoy a special briefing at the Newseum in 2013.

Kristin Underwood ’13 began her TFAS journey in the summer of 2013 as a participant in the D.C. Summer Program. She said the experience opened her eyes to the values on which our country was founded.

“During the program, I discovered the power of the individual and personal responsibility,” Underwood shared. “Reading the works of Tocqueville, Adam Smith and today’s scholars like Arthur Brooks, combined with the guest lectures and other classroom activities, really sealed the deal for me. I walked away understanding what it means to be an American, and I developed the leadership and networking skills I needed to get my start in the professional world.”

The following summer, Underwood joined the TFAS team as a program advisor to assist with the summer programs, and in May 2015 she joined the staff full-time as a communications associate. Nearly seven years later, she serves as the marketing and communications director where she has the opportunity to connect with students and alumni from around the world.

During the program, I discovered the power of the individual and personal responsibility… I walked away understanding what it means to be an American, and I developed the leadership and networking skills I needed to get my start in the professional world.” – Kristin Underwood ’13

“The most rewarding part of my job is getting to talk to alumni,” Underwood said. “Through my role in the communications team these past six years, I’ve had the unique opportunity to talk to TFAS alumni from across the globe. I’ve heard countless times how a two, three or eight week TFAS program can be a life-changing experience, and as an alumna myself, I can attest to that.”

To learn more about Underwood’s TFAS journey, visit TFAS.org/UnderwoodSpotlight.

Post of the Week

Applications are now open for TFAS Prague 2022. College students are encouraged to apply by March 1 for the opportunity to learn about philosophy, government, economics and conflict management in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Visit TFASInternational.org for more information.


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Boldizsár Hajas ’21, Cesenge Savanya ’21 and Zsombor Verkmann ’21 are featured in a “Semester Recap” by The Hungary Foundation for their joint participation in the TFAS Capital Semester Fall program and The Hungary Foundation’s Széll Kálmán Public Policy Fellowship.

TFAS professor Dr. Bradley Thompson joined alumnus Ugo Stornaiolo ’20 to discuss the Revolutionary War in America and the morality of countries seeking independence on España – Navarra Confidencial.

TFAS professor Dr. Donald Boudreaux compares “Smithian” and “anti-Smithian” economics in an article in The Frontier Post.

Lauren Belive ’05 is the new director of government affairs for SoftBank Group.

Ximena Bustillo ’19 has been named as one of 20 journalists selected for the National Press Foundation’s 2022 Paul Miller Fellowship.

Vladimír Vaňo ’99 joined the Rádio Diatón show to discuss the economic and cultural implications of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sarah Sicard ’13 profiles Miss Colorado 2021, the first active duty soldier to win the title, in a piece for Army Times.

Sandra Sadek ’19 has been selected as a spring 2022 Fellow at the Fort Worth Report.

Garrett Boorojian ’09 was interviewed by Suncoast View about the impact of inflation on family budgets in 2022.

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