In February, the 2014 Freedom Scholars attended a weekend seminar on the theme “Liberty and Equality” in Arlington, Va. The seminar was part of the Curriculum of Liberty Seminars, a co-sponsored program between TFAS and The Liberty Fund, Inc.
TFAS program managers selected the 12 Freedom Scholars from the previous year’s programs. Richard Boyd of Georgetown University and Alexei Marcoux of Loyola University of Chicago facilitated rich discussions among the students.
“The conference helped me to articulate my views more clearly so that I can talk to other people more openly about what I think,” said student Miro Nguyen (AIPE 13). “We talked about political views I usually don’t get the chance to speak about.”
Student Stephen Houserman (IEIA 2013) said the environment was a superb forum to discuss important aspects of American society such as equality, liberty and the welfare state.
“Through intellectual dialogue addressing the interpretation of moral justice and equality in the United States, I feel that apart from educating ourselves, our group contributed to the overall discussions being raised in the U.S. today,” Houserman wrote in an email.
Leading up to the conference, students received reading lists that included texts from Adam Smith, F.A. Hayek, Bertrand de Jouvenel, Robert Nozick, Tibor Machan, Thomas Sowell and H.B. Acton. Students jotted down notes and their opinions to bring into the weekend discussion.
Nguyen said the professors were great at leading the discussion and letting students share their opinions and challenge each other. She said the discussions applied to what she has studied in college about psychology. She described the other conference attendees as extremely impressive.
“All of the other students are leaders in their schools. Reading their profiles is mind-blowing,” she said.
Outside of the conference, students were able to spend some time exploring D.C. Nguyen said they visited the Old Post Office Pavilion and a local coffee shop.
“It was definitely an honor to be invited to the conference,” Nguyen said. “I enjoyed every minute of it. It was great to be surrounded by clever students. I loved the opportunity.”