The Atlas Experience 2012: Speakers

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Gabriel Calzada

Gabriel Calzada Alvarez, Ph.D. is founder-president of the classical liberal think tank Instituto Juan de Mariana and has been associate professor of economics at King Juan Carlos University in Spain since 2004, where he is in charge of the applied economics courses at the Environmental Science Faculty. Calzada is also associate professor of economics at IE University and visiting professor at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala. He has published academic articles on a variety of topics including Energy, Defense and Security and Urban Planning in a dozen of publications, has published more than 300 economic op-eds, and appears weekly on national television and radio. International publications like Wall Street Journal or The Economist have produced editorial pieces on his researches. Gabriel has also testified before the US Congress on energy related issues and has presented testimonies for the record both at the US Senate and the US House of Representative where no significant number of politicians seems to have taken his advises very seriously.

Ann Bernstein, Executive Director, Centre for Development and Enterprise

Ann Bernstein heads the Centre for Development and Enterprise, South Africa. An independent think tank CDE is regarded by many including the London Financial Times as South Africa’s leading policy centre for social and economic development. In addition, CDE has a special focus on the role of business and its contribution to development.

Ann was a member of the Transition Team and then the Board of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (1994 – 2001). In 2005 she was selected as a Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, Washington DC. In 2007 she joined the Board of the Brenthurst Foundation. In 2008 and in 2009 she was an invited faculty member at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Her new book, The Case for Business in Developing Economies was published by Penguin in 2010 and issued in paperback late in 2011. It has received favourable reviews in the South African media, in the Economist and the Financial Times.

Jay Ambrose, syndicated columnist

Jay Ambrose is a nationally syndicated political columnist. Prior to his current tenure, he served as editor to numerous publications, such as Knickerbocker News, Winchester Sun, Rocky Mountain News in Denver, and the El Paso Herald-Post in El Paso. He was also director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard Newspapers in Washington, D.C. Ambrose is the recipient of several writing awards, including: the national Walker Stone Award for Outstanding Editorial Writing, First Place in Editorial Writing for the Texas UPI Editors Association, The Best in Southwest Regional Editors UPI editorial writing for nine states and the New York State Publishers Award for Community Service. The El Paso Herald Post was a Pulitzer finalist for work done to promote literacy, a cause to which Ambrose devoted himself for several years. Ambrose currently teaches at Colorado Christian University and is a fellow of a think tank at the school, Centennial Institute.

Jude Blanchette, Editor,, Atlas Network

Jude joined Atlas in January 2009 as a member of the Institute Relations team, focusing on think tanks in Asia. Prior to joining Atlas, he was a China-based special correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, a research assistant at the Cato Institute, and the Henry Hazlitt Research Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education. He studied economics at Loyola University and Mandarin Chinese at the Beijing Institute of Technology. He currently resides in Shanghai, China.

Baishali Bomjan, Associate Director, Asia Centre for Enterprise

Baishali joined Centre for Civil Society (CCS), a Delhi based think tank in 2008 to head its Communication and Public Relations department. She has conceptualized, designed and managed several international and national programs, certificate courses for journalists and publications of the Centre. Having worked extensively in both the development sector and the print media in Nepal and India, her work profile includes serving as the Director of Nuns Welfare Foundation of Nepal, Editor of Spark (corporate magazine) and Assistant Editor of the boss and VOW (Voice of Women), Nepal’s leading business and women’s magazines. She holds an MSc in Zoology from the University of North Bengal, India.

Alejandro Chafuen, President, Atlas Network

Alex served as President and CEO of Atlas from 1991-2009, and was elected to its Board in 2009. He is also the president and founder of the Hispanic American Center of Economic Research and is the author of Faith and Liberty. He serves on the boards of the Chase Foundation, the Acton Institute, and the Fraser Institute. A graduate of the Argentina Catholic University, he was Associate Professor at the Argentine Catholic University, University of Buenos Aires, and The Hispanic American University, CA. He recently became a Trustee for Grove City College, PA.

Rainer Heufers, Senior Fellow - Think Tank MBA

Rainer Heufers is the founder and Managing Director of Siap Solutions Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based consulting firm that provides strategic counseling, public policy consulting, leadership training, and other services to international think tanks, political parties, corporations, and government agencies.

After more than a decade of research on the social and economic transformation of the People’s Republic of China, Rainer Heufers represented the German Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty from 1999 to 2011 in several Asian nations, including Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. He also supported the development of a network of free market think tanks from around Asia: the Economic Freedom Network Asia (EFN Asia).

Todd Hollenbeck, Colorado Campus Coordinator, Students For Liberty

Todd is the Colorado Campus Coordinator for Students For Liberty and is joining their Executive Board in June. He is also the Executive Director of the Free Minds Film Festival, a Colorado Springs based pro-liberty film festival, and co-founder of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs chapter of Young Americans for Liberty. He has interened at the Independence Institute in Denver and Americans for Tax Reform Washington, DC.

Todd received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in Political Science and is currently working on his Masters of Business Administration.

Lance Izumi, Senior Director of Education Studies, Pacific Research Institute

Lance Izumi is Koret Senior Fellow and Senior Director of Education Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. He is the author numerous books, including Obama’s Education Takeover and Short-Circuited: The Challenges Facing the Online Learning Revolution in California. He is also the co-author of Not as Good as You Think: Why the Middle Class Needs School Choice and co-executive producer of the award-winning 2009 PBS-broadcast film documentary Not as Good As You Think: The Myth of the Middle Class School. In 2008, The New York Times selected Lance Izumi as one of its online contributors on the presidential race and education issues. He continues to write regularly for The New York Times’ “Room for Debate” opinion series. He is a current member and former two-term president of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. Mr. Izumi served as chief speechwriter and director of writing and research for California Governor George Deukmejian. He also served in the administration of President Ronald Reagan as speechwriter to United States Attorney General Edwin Meese III.

Axel Kaiser, Senior Fellow, Instituto Democracia y Mercado (Chile)

Axel worked as a professor of Political Philosophy and Latin American Politics, Chile. He writes an opinion columnist in the Chilean newspapers Diario Financiero and El Mercurio. He is the author of several books and is a senior fellow of Democracia y Mercado Institute.

Axel has a Masters in Commerce Investment and Arbitration and Master of Arts in American Studies, as well as a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Heidelberg, Germany.

Dr. Matthew Ladner, Senior Advisor of Policy and Research, Foundation for Excellence in Education

Dr. Matthew Ladner is the Senior Advisor of Policy and Research for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. He previously served as Vice President of Research and Goldwater Institute. Prior to joining Goldwater, Ladner was director of state projects at the Alliance for School Choice. Ladner has written numerous studies on school choice, charter schools and special education reform and coauthored Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress and Reform for the American Legislative Exchange Council. Ladner has testified before Congress, the United States Commission of Civil Rights and numerous state legislative committees. Ladner is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and received both a Masters and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Houston. Ladner is a Senior Fellow with the Foundation for Educational Choice and the Goldwater Institute.

Casey Lartigue, Director for International Relations, Center for Free Enterprise

Casey Lartigue is the Director for International Relations at the Center for Free Enterprise in Seoul, South Korea. He is a former talk show host on XM 169 The Power and a former policy analyst at the Cato Institute. He is co-editor of the book Educational Freedom in Urban America: Five Decades After Brown v. Board of Education. His writings have been published in USA Today, Ed. magazine (Harvard Graduate School of Education), Education Week, the New York Post, the Washington Times, Asian Week and the Washington Post. He has spoken at the National Press Club, Harvard University Law School, the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, been a featured guest on the Rush Limbaugh Show and C-SPAN, and testified before Congress on school choice in the nation’s capital. He has a master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a bachelor’s degree from the Harvard University Extension School.

Andrew Leigh Co-Founder, Taliesin Nexus

Andrew Leigh is a screenwriter and producer based in Los Angeles. He co-founded Taliesin Nexus, a nonprofit that educates and promotes liberty-minded filmmakers. Andrew has written or rewritten screenplays for numerous production companies and also served as a story editor for CAA, Sony Pictures and MGM. He conceived and produced a new documentary feature, “The Museum of Government Waste,” which is in post-production and, with any luck, will be released this fall. Andrew has also worked as a staff reporter for Investor’s Business Daily and as a Senate aide on Capitol Hill. His writing has appeared in many publications including the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Weekly Standard, National Review, and Sculpture Magazine. He is a contributor to’s Big Hollywood and Big Government and Greg Gutfeld’s Andrew earned a B.A. from the University of Chicago and a J.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Law.

Leonard P. Liggio, Executive Vice President of Academics, Atlas Network

Leonard is Distinguished Senior Scholar at the Institute for Humane Studies. He is Senior Vice President of The Mont Pelerin Society, a Trustee of the Philadelphia Society, and a Research Professor in George Mason University’s School of Law. According to Alejandro Chafuen, “Leonard’s hard work and generosity have made him one of the most respected figures in the international movement for liberty. He is perhaps the person best-suited to strengthen Atlas’s position as a promoter of independent think tanks.”

Brad Lips, Chief Executive Officer, Atlas Network

Brad joined Atlas in 1998 and became its Chief Executive Officer in 2009. He received his MBA from the Goizueta Business School of Emory University and his BA from Princeton University. In 1997-1998, Brad was researching regulatory issues for The Progress & Freedom Foundation before being persuaded by Alex Chafuen in 1998 to come to Atlas. Previously, Brad was a research associate for Smith Barney Inc.   He is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society and the John Templeton Foundation.  He has written on classical liberal ideas, including The Reagan Vision, published by the Goldwater Institute, and two chapters in Freedom Champions, published by Atlas in 2011.

Deroy Murdock, Senior Fellow – Media Programs
Mr. Murdock, a New York-based senior fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution (Stanford University) on War, Revolution and Peace.

Tom G. Palmer, Executive Vice President for International Programs, Atlas Network

Tom previously served as Vice President for International Programs at the Cato Institute and Director of the Center for Promotion of Human Rights. He is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and Director of Cato University, the Institute’s educational arm. He is the author of Realizing Freedom: The Theory, History, and Practice of Liberty. He received his BA from St. Johns College, MD, his MA in philosophy from The Catholic University of America, and his doctorate from Oxford University.

Sean Paige, Executive Director, The Pike Peak Freedom Forum

Sean Paige is deputy state director of Americans for Prosperity Colorado and executive director of The Peak Freedom Forum, a group promoting economic and civic literacy in the Pikes Peak region of Colorado. He’s been involved in public policy work for nearly 25 years, first in Washington D.C. and more recently in Colorado.

He came to Colorado in 2002 as editorial page editor at The Colorado Springs Gazette, where he spent five years vigorously championing the paper’s libertarian editorial philosophy, and has since served on both the Colorado Springs City Council and Colorado Springs Utilities Board. His 14 years in Washington included stints at the White House and as a congressional staff member. He’s a former spokesman for Citizens Against Government Waste, a former Warren Brookes Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and he’s also been a reporter and columnist for Insight Magazine, a news weekly published by The Washington Times. His latest new media project is, a website spotlighting the threat professional green extremists pose to our property rights, economy, limited government ideals and freedoms.

James Paterson, Editior, IPA Review

James Paterson is the Editor of the IPA Review at the Institute of Public Affairs. He is a columnist with Think and Grow Rich magazine and is regularly published in The Spectator Australia and ABC’s The Drum. His articles have also appeared in The Australian, the Australian Financial Review, the Herald Sun, the Courier Mail, Quadrant, CIS Policy magazine and The Punch.

James has appeared on radio and television dozens of times to discuss policy and political issues, including ABC’s Q&A, Australia’s top rating current affairs television program. James regularly appears on Melbourne Talk Radio as a guest ‘opinionator’ discussing the issues of the day. James has also been a guest speaker at the Perth Writers Festival and the National Young Writers Festival.

In addition to editing the Institute of Public Affairs’ magazine and appearing in the media on behalf of the organisation, James fulfils a number of other important roles at the IPA. James manages the IPA’s social media presence including its Facebook and Twitter accounts and its weekly email to more than 20,000 subscribers. James is also primarily responsible for designing the IPA’s membership recruitment strategy which will be key to the organisation’s ongoing financial viability.

James is a graduate of the University of Melbourne where he completed a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Commerce with concentrations in political science and economics. Prior to joining the IPA James was a writer in the public affairs department of an industry association and spent three and a half years as an adviser to a Liberal Senator

Anne Schieber, Senior Investigative Analyst, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Anne Schieber is the senior investigative analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. She produces investigative video reports that demonstrate the impact of public policies on people’s lives.

Prior to joining the Mackinac Center staff, Anne spent 30 years in broadcast journalism. She was a high-profile, award-winning reporter and anchor for WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids between 1998 and 2011. Anne has also worked for stations in Kalamazoo, Minneapolis, Buffalo, N.Y., and Allentown, Penn.

Over her career, she has won numerous awards, including a “Best Individual Reporting” honor from the Associated Press and “Journalist of the Year” from the Michigan Small Business Administration. Anne received her bachelor’s degree from Villanova University.

Adam Selig, CEO, Engage America

Adam Selig has a unique combination of financial, communication and social media technology experience and he has brought that together to help propel Engage America and the issues it represents into the consciousness of American population. In addition to Engage America, Adam is the Managing Partner and Chief Operating Officer of Lumentus, LLC, a technology-enabled strategic communications firm that helps clients manage brand reputation issues across media platforms. Prior to Lumentus, Adam was the Chief Executive Officer of Visible Technologies.. Adam has been responsible for expanding and managing business for clients, including General Electric, Credit Suisse First Boston, and Time Warner. During his tenure at Broadstreet, he stewarded the company’s 600% growth. He was also responsible for the sale of Broadstreet to the London based communication conglomerate, Incepta, plc (later merged with Huntsworth, plc) and converting a private company into a division of a public entity.

Adam also worked as a CPA at Ernst & Young, LLP. He has a BS in Accounting from Binghamton University and an MBA in Business Administration from Columbia University and the London Business School in a joint international program. Engage America is mobilizing bloggers and other activists to make arguments backed with facts, as they engage with online communities in discussions of tax policy, government spending, regulation and other topics relevant to restoring a free economy.

Tanja Stumberger, Senior Fellow, Atlas Network

Tanja Štumberger joined Atlas in January 2012 as Senior Fellow. Her work focuses on the Atlas Network in Europe. In addition, Tanja is Executive Director of the Liberty Seminars in Slovenia. Between 2006 and 2011, she was a research associate and manager of global external relations at the Cato Institute. As an undergraduate, Tanja Štumberger studied Applied Economics at University of Maribor, Slovenia, and Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. She did her graduate studies in American Political Thought at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Georgetown University, USA.

Shira Rawlinson, Communications Coordinator, Institute for Justice

As the Institute for Justice’s Communications Coordinator, Shira Rawlinson works on IJ’s award-winning media team to make the case for economic liberty, free speech, private property rights school choice and the need for judicial engagement. She has secured news coverage in various outlets nationwide, including the BBC, CBS Evening News, New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, National Review, Reason Magazine, National Law Journal and the Times-Picayune. Before joining the Institute in 2009, Shira worked on political campaigns in California and New Mexico as well in the British House of Commons for a Member of Parliament. Shira resides in Washington D.C.

Matt Warner, Director of Programs, Atlas Network

Matt served as director of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Natural Resources Task Force. In this position, Matt worked closely with state legislative leaders to champion free market energy and environmental policy priorities. Before joining ALEC, Matt was director of public affairs for the James Madison Institute (JMI), a Florida-based think tank where he managed media and legislative affairs. Matt is a graduate of Florida State University and is a graduate student in economics at George Mason University.

Uqualla, Shaman
Uqualla is a member of the Havasupai Tribe, who live within a remote area in the western Grand Canyon. A spiritual emissary and ceremonialist, he was born into a family with a Medicine Man Grandfather, Arthur Kaska. His mother was given the knowledge of the “traditional ways”—hunts, deer tanning, gourd making, singing and dances—and passed these gifts to her children. As a recognized ceremonial entity and spiritual advisor, Uqualla is often called to officiate unions, birth, blessings and healings. His Sacred Oratory, a lecture, is heard throughout Japan, Europe, South America, and the United States.

Carmina Valdizan, Operations Manager, Free Cities Institute

Carmina Valdizan is the current Operations Manager of the Free Cities Institute; a think tank associated with the Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala. She co-founded Fundación Libertad of Panama in 2001 and is a current member of the Board. She attended Atlas Think Tank MBA in 2011.
In 2002 Carmina founded Kobold Toys and in 2008 co-founded Kobold Toys online; a retail specialty Toy Store. She studied Law at Universidad Francisco Marroquín. In the upcoming months she will become and advocate of the Free Cities Institute.

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