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Liberty + Leadership News: July 23


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 to receive weekly updates.

Braver Angels Debates Encourage Civil Discourse in TFAS Classroom

Hundreds of students travel to Washington, D.C., from around the world each year to learn the principles of limited government, free-market economics and honorable leadership through TFAS Academic Internship Programs. Through internships, economics courses and one-of-a-kind networking and professional development events, TFAS students receive a well-rounded experience in the nation’s capital.

I enjoyed that I learned new things and heard ideas I hadn’t heard before. While I don’t agree with everything that was shared, I still learned a lot and I’m glad we had the opportunity to respectfully debate such a salient topic.” – Jonathan Voos ’21

Now, TFAS and the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) are working together to add Braver Angels debates to the TFAS curriculum. With the addition of these student-led debates, TFAS students are able to engage civilly with one another on well-researched issues pertinent to today’s political and economic climate.

Different from the typical debate where tempers may rise, Braver Angels representatives moderate each debate to minimize tension. Students are instructed to address the moderator as “Mr./Mrs. Chair” and to refer to each other as “the speakers,” as opposed to speaking directly to one another. This eliminates the opportunity for pointed attack.

Alexandra Huels ’21 poses a question that helps her classmates think about their topic from a new angle.

When tensions run high in tough conversations, it can be difficult to listen to others and understand their perspective, yet it is important to acknowledge other ideas. Public Policy + Economics student Jonathan Voos ’21 highlighted the importance of having these conversations, listening to those around you and learning from other opinions.

“I enjoyed that I learned new things and heard ideas I hadn’t heard before,” Voos said. “While I don’t agree with everything that was shared, I still learned a lot and I’m glad we had the opportunity to respectfully debate such a salient topic.”

Read more about the Braver Angels debates at TFAS.org/BraverAngels.

TFAS Students Learn about “The Forgotten Man”

With only days remaining in the program, TFAS students are packing in as many Washington, D.C., experiences as they can before returning home. Last weekend, students enjoyed excursions kayaking, hiking and visiting the National Mall. Journalism + Communications students had the opportunity to visit C-SPAN headquarters and learn about broadcast journalism.

Amity Shlaes spoke to TFAS students about the secret power of rebelliousness. Photo by: Anthony Bolognese, Capitol Hill Photo.

Over the course of week seven, students attended guest lectures and alumni networking events in addition to courses and internships. On Tuesday, July 20, TFAS held the annual Lev Dobriansky Lecture on Political Economy. Featuring world-renowned economic commentator and best-selling author Amity Shlaes, this Public Policy + Economics lecture is named in honor of the late Dr. Lev Dobriansky, an economics professor at Georgetown University who was the founding director of the first TFAS program. Dr. Paula Dobriansky, a TFAS trustee and daughter of Lev Dobriansky, introduced the speaker.

Shlaes discussed her book “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression,” which shattered widely held myths about the Great Depression and the New Deal policies. She recounted how she wrote the book against the advice of her newspaper editor in an act of personal “rebellion.” She described how using extensive archival material from original sources and newspapers of the day as the basis of her research. Shlaes encouraged students in the audience to use “productive rebelliousness” to accomplish challenging goals and garner the confidence to play the game of life.

“I encourage you to explore your own rebellion because it may be the thing that takes you where you want to go,” she said.

The lecture was followed by a Q&A session where students had the opportunity to ask Shlaes about Coolidge’s accomplishments, the economic recovery of the Great Depression, and the political climate of the era.

Post of the Week

TFAS Croatia is underway at the University of Dubrovnik! The program kicked off with a guided tour of the region last weekend followed by the first week of classes.


Faith Bottum, Rago ’21, is featured in the Rapid City Journal for being the 2021 recipient of the TFAS Joseph Rago Memorial Fellowship for Excellence in Journalism.

Carrie Sheffield ’06, Novak ’06, writes about how government unemployment benefits can negatively impact employment rates in a piece for International Women’s Forum.

TFAS Grewcock Senior Scholar Dr. Donald Devine joined Conservative Conversations with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute to discuss Frank Meyer, fusionism and his book, “The Enduring Tension.”

Naomi Schaefer Riley, Novak ’01, describes the dangers of “woke philanthropy,” a term that describes when activists attempt to tell philanthropists how to give their money, in a piece for The Wall Street Journal.

Jonathan Voos ’21 writes for The Washington Examiner on how a constitutional amendment could preserve the independence of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Helen Andrews, Novak ’17, discusses “red nostalgia” in Eastern Europe in a piece for The American Conservative.

TFAS Trustee M. Peter McPherson argues that lawmakers can double their investment in U.S. workers by increasing the maximum student Pell Grant in Forbes.

Elise Amez-Droz, PPF ’19, has been awarded a Free Society Fellowship from Young Voices.

Dina Aboughazala ’05, ’08 has received funding for her journalism platform Egab from the Google Digital News Initiative.

Joy Pullmann, Novak ’13, shares her thoughts on work-family life balance for women in a piece for The Federalist.

Nina Trentmann ’08 shares ways in which Chief Financial Officers across industries are fighting inflation in the U.S. in The Wall Street Journal.

Laura Lee Burkett ’14 is now the government relations manager for Jacobs Engineering.

Connect with @TFASorg on social media!


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