Home » News » Liberty + Leadership News: July 30, 2020

Liberty + Leadership News: July 30, 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 to receive weekly updates.

TFAS alumni, staff and faculty continue to make headlines. Read news, analysis and updates by visiting this week’s “Quick Links.”

“How We’re Covering the Story–Not Just Our Faces:” Journalists Discuss Challenges of COVID-19 During Virtual European Journalism Institute

Despite closures by partner universities abroad and travel restrictions imposed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 European Journalism Institute (EJI) welcomed 22 participants from 13 countries in July for a three day virtual seminar on “Journalism, Liberty and COVID-19.”

Rym Momtaz ’05, ’07 shared insights on the challenges she has faced as a journalist during the coronavirus crisis.

Sponsored by TFAS and The Media Project, this three-part virtual conference gave journalists the opportunity to share experiences and lessons learned during the coronavirus outbreak, and how this moment in time will mold the industry going forward. In a session on “How We’re Covering the Story–Not Just Our Faces,” participants explored how various media outlets are covering news of the coronavirus pandemic in different parts of the world.

France correspondent for Politico Europe, Rym Momtaz ’05, ’07 agreed that her day to day work was transformed by the coronavirus pandemic. As a political reporter, Momtaz shared the challenges she faced in covering timely news without the ability to conduct in-person interviews and event coverage.

“It brought to light some very real challenges that we take for granted as journalists because, in normal times, you could just call someone up and get them to meet with you in person–whether it was for coffee or lunch,” Momtaz explained. “But when we don’t have that, it really restricts our ability to do our work, which is to inform our readers and our citizens in general. Democracy suffers when we can’t do that.”

To learn more about the engaging three-day program, please visit TFAS.org/EJI20.

2020 Capitol Hill Lecture Series Launches Online

The 8th annual TFAS Capitol Hill Lecture Series continued virtually this summer, exposing Washington’s interns to new ideas surrounding “Free Markets, Individual Liberty and Civil Society.” The annual event, co-hosted by TFAS and the Office of U.S. Senator Rand Paul, introduces Washington, D.C. interns to prominent leaders advancing the cause for freedom.

In the first event of the 2020 series, Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee addressed a small gathering of Capitol Hill interns and more than 60 thousand Facebook Livestream viewers. During the event, Paul and Lee discussed current events related to freedom and individual liberties, including an in-depth discussion on the latest coronavirus laws and mandates. Watch the full video, including an introduction by TFAS President Roger Ream ’76, below or on Facebook.

On August 5, the Capitol Hill Lecture Series will feature an exciting discussion on prosecutorial overreach with Senator Rand Paul and Sidney Powell, attorney to Michael Flynn and author of the best-seller “Licensed to Lie.” Stay tuned for livestream details to be announced soon, or follow The Fund for American Studies on Facebook and turn on post notifications to get notified directly on Facebook.

Economics for Leaders Continues to Teach High Schoolers Through Engaging Virtual Sessions

This week, TFAS’s high school programming division hosted its sixth week of Economics for Leaders online economics camps for young leaders across the U.S. More than 400 of this summer’s nearly 620 students have already attended a week-long session to learn “the economic way of thinking” from top economic professors and FTE mentor teachers.

Earlier this month, students participating in the Berkeley 2 program (an online program originally scheduled to be hosted in-person on Berkeley’s campus) attended a discussion session on “Incentives, Innovation, and the Role of Institutions,” led by Professor Roger Butters.

2017 Economics for Leaders students participate in an economic simulation at Tufts University.

Butters discussed how profit motivates people and encourages them to innovate, as well as how institutions that protect innovation (like patents) also encourage it. He explained how, if people are assured of receiving the benefits of their innovation by institutional factors like patents, they will innovate. 

Butters opened the lecture by informing the class that they were all trillionaires, which quickly got everyone’s attention. He then launched into a discussion of the innovations of hard drives and data storage. He explained how in the 1950s, when the first commercially-available hard drive came on the market, one MB of storage cost about $10,000. Because of decades of innovation and competition amongst firms, the cost of one MB of storage is now measured in pennies (or less)! So, Professor Butters argued, if the students were to take a 64GB iPhone, which costs just a few hundred dollars today, back to the 1950s, they would have something worth in the trillions of dollars (in today’s money).

Following the program, one student remarked, “Professor Butters presented the economic lecture in one of the most interesting and instructive way I’ve experienced. He also answered one of my questions in a really unique perspective and indirectly made me challenge myself to look at problems in different direction. His session was definitely my favorite period throughout the program.”

Throughout the week, students engaged in additional leadership building and economic simulation activities to gain a better understanding of the world and learn how to integrate economics into the process of everyday decision-making. To learn more about TFAS’s high school programming division, visit FTE.org.

Post of the Week

TFAS Virtual Summer student Ella Kramer ’20 shows off her “hometown pride” with a photo in her TFAS t-shirt at Meridian City Hall in Meridian, Idaho, and classmate Gisenly Garcias ’20 snaps a picture at dinner in her hometown of Miami, Florida.


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A post shared by The Fund for American Studies (@tfasorg) on



Robin Brand ’02, PPF ’11, was interviewed for the Radio Advisory podcast about issues of price transparency for medical providers.

Entrepreneur Jill Erber shares what it’s like being a small business owner during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in an interview with Reason magazine’s Katherine Mangu-Ward, Novak ’05.

Graham Kilmer ’14 reports for Urban Milwaukee on an increase in COVID-19 cases in suburban areas.

Rym Momtaz ’05, ’07 reports for Politico on French President Emmanual Macron’s efforts to avoid public scrutiny by the media amid the coronavirus crisis.

Chinenye Monde-Anumihe ’11 was interviewed by Guardian Women and Business Day to discuss her career in international relations and her efforts in the fight against COVID-19.

Joy Pullman, Novak ’13, writes for The Federalist on the negative impact of another nationwide lockdown in the U.S.

TFAS senior scholar Dr. Don Boudreaux breaks down the economic damage caused by the nationwide COVID-19 shutdown in an interview with The Federalist.


 Kylee Zempel ’17, PPF ‘19, discusses media bias in a piece for The Federalist.

Laura Vanderkam ’99, Novak ’06, interviews author Lisa Canning about her career path and time management for her Best of Both Worlds podcast.

Haley Britzky ’16 reviews the new Netflix documentary “Father Soldier Son” in a piece for Task & Purpose.

Matthew Walther, Novak ’10, opines for The Week on GOP’s poll numbers going into the 2020 election.

John McCormack, Novak ’11, opines for National Review on religious liberty in classroom settings following the Supreme Court rulings in Bostock vs. Clayton County and Our Lady of Guadalupe School vs. Morrissey-Berru.

Kylee Zempel ’17, PPF ’19, was interviewed by Bill O’Reilly on “cancel culture” in America today.

Firas Maksad ’01 opines for the Wall Street Journal on the need for U.S. support of Arab states during the ongoing regional conflict.

Ryan T. Anderson, Novak ’07, writes for Public Discourse on the need for more religious liberty progress in our country.

Kari Travis ’12 opines for Carolina Journal on North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s “executive overreach” in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline deal.

Tim Carney, Novak ‘03, discusses proposed market regulations on Uber’s competitors in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner.

Leah Libresco, Novak ’18, compares the pace, script and score of “Hamilton” to that of other popular broadway shows in a feature for FiveThirtyEight.


Ben Weingarten, Novak ‘19, was named a Newsweek columnist, where he will be writing biweekly opinion pieces with a focus on China.

Patrick McGarry ’17 is now a legislative correspondent for U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse of Washington.

Connor Haaland ’18 will be attending Harvard Law School this fall. Read about Connor’s journey in an alumni profile by his alma mater, South Dakota State University.

Dr. Akl Fahed ’06, ’07 was interviewed on the Slice of Health podcast to discuss his work with GoodPath, a healthcare nonprofit dedicated to redefining how people manage chronic health conditions.

Jeff Zubricki ’05 is the head of U.S. Government Relations for Etsy.com.

Liz Gross ’02 was interviewed by In Business as their “Professional of the Week” for her work as the CEO of Campus Sonar, a startup social listening agency for educational institutions.




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