Since 2006, Atlas has sponsored major conferences on the role of academic centers in inculcating in the young a better appreciation of liberty. They have provided a forum for professors and administrators of academic centers to engage in discussions about the challenges and problems facing university think tanks in general. By gathering those who have been successful in setting up university centers and start-ups who are willing to embark on this noble endeavor, these conferences have given Atlas the opportunity to pursue its organizational mission of discovering and nurturing “intellectual entrepreneurs” within the academia, create a network of support for them, and expose them to the “nuts & bolts” of think tank management. These conferences have also provided Atlas the opportunity to effect change in the climate of ideas by giving voice to professors who are willing to go out of their way to counter prevailing radical ideas hostile to the principles of the free society. Specifically, these conferences are designed:
1) To provide a forum for a healthy exchange of ideas among professors, university administrators, and donors on the problems and challenges facing academic centers and on issues facing higher education and ways to reform it;
2) To provide a gathering for like-minded academics, create a network of support, and expose them to the nuts-&-bolts of center-building. As Professor James Otteson of Yeshiva University puts it, there is a need to create “intellectual communities for faculty who can support each other in this endeavor in order to avoid isolation and discrimination and to create a spirit of camaraderie and friendship among like-minded faculty.”
3) To increase the profile of Atlas within the academia. These conferences have given Atlas the opportunity to pursue its organizational mission of discovering and nurturing “intellectual entrepreneurs” within universities, as center-building does create alternatives to the traditional programs and activities being offered by college departments now driven by leftist agenda.