In early April, fourteen of TFAS’ brightest young alumni from Eastern and Mediterranean Europe participated in a three-day conference on “Liberty From Locke to Hayek” in Athens, Greece. Led by professors Dr. Stephens Davies of the Institute of Economic Affairs and Dr. Adam Martin of King’s College London, conference attendees spent the weekend discussing the key concepts of a free society and individual responsibility.
TFAS alumnus Bernhard Bonelli (CSS 09) found Athens to be the perfect backdrop for the weekend’s topics. “It’s awesome to discuss the modern champions of liberty, like Locke, Smith or Hayek in the place were the ancient champions like Aristotle and Plato founded Western civilization,” he said.
In addition to John Locke, Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek, participants studied and discussed the works of John Stuart Mill and Bastiat Frédéric. Although many of the readings focus on economic issues, the conference went beyond basic matters of supply and demand and asked participants to consider the broader social, political, cultural and moral implications of different visions of human liberty.
“Liberty Fund seminar discussions are special because they are driven by student input. That is what makes them so challenging, but at the same time so rewarding,” said Bonelli. “By going deep into original texts, you get to know an author really well and tap into a different way of learning and understanding from what you are used to in college.”
Participant Nikola Djuric (IIPES 12) also found value in the conference’s in-depth style of discussion. “It was very interesting to take part in the often intense debate over the interpretation of classical texts which bare evident relevance for our societies today, in terms of both politics and economics, ” he said. “Considering the fact that I have shifted focus away from political theory and towards business, an opportunity to be a part of an event like this was most pleasant.”
In between seminars, the TFAS alumni had the opportunity to explore the vast historic sites of Athens including the Acropolis. “Having a fabulous dinner in the rooftop restaurant of the hotel in front of the magnificent scenery of the Acropolis was really the icing on the cake” said Bonelli.
Of course, being with fellow TFASers was also a highlight of the conference. “I have made valuable friendships with several other participants, which I am confident will last, ” said Djuric.
Bonelli agrees. He was able to reconnect with his 2009 Capital Semester classmate,Jacek Spendel (CSS 09), during the conference. “It was great to be a part of the TFAS family again – meeting old friends like Jacek and also getting to know new TFAS friends from all over Europe,” he said.
Conference partipants include: Bernhard Bonelli (CSS 09), Nikola Duric (IIPES 12), Jiri Holik (AIPES 09), Erda Hoxha (IIPES 12, AIPES 13), Maria Iancheva (AIPES 11), Veranika Laputska (AIPES 11), Miriama Letovanec Svetkovska (ICPES 08), Gerta Lezi (IIPES 12), Ferida Mandic (IIPES 07, CSS 09), Pavels Prokofjevs (AIPES 11), Hrishabh Sandilya (AIPE 06, EJI 10), Jacek Spendel (AIPES 08, CSF 09), Mihael Sutalo (IIPES 10) and Milan Terzic (AIPES 12).
The conference was part of the Curriculum of Liberty Seminars, a co-sponsored program between TFAS and The Liberty Fund, Inc. To read about past Curriculum of Liberty Seminars, please visit the links below.