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Featured Speakers

Virginia Postrel
is the author of The Substance of Style and The Future and Its Enemies and is a biweekly columnist for the new Bloomberg View division of Bloomberg.com. A popular speaker for business, design, and university groups, she teaches a seminar on “Glamour: Theory and Practice” in the Branding MPS program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has been a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Forbes and its companion technology magazine Forbes ASAP. Postrel received the 2011 Bastiat Prize, honoring journalism. From July 1989 to January 2000, Postrel was the editor of Reason magazine. She founded Reason online, the magazine’s website, in 1995.

Chen Guangcheng is a Chinese legal activist who worked on human rights issues in rural areas of the People’s Republic of China. Blind from an early age and self-taught in the law, Chen is frequently described as a “barefoot lawyer” who advocates women’s rights and the welfare of the poor.

Grover G Norquist is the president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a taxpayer advocacy group. ATR is a coalition of taxpayer groups, individuals and businesses opposed to higher taxes at the federal, state and local levels. Norquist also serves on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association of America, the American Conservative Union, and The Nixon Center and has written three books: Rock the House; Leave Us AloneGetting the Government’s Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives; and (with co-author John Lott) Debacle: Obama’s War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future.

Mohammad Abul Ahrar Ramizpoor is general coordinator of Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization (AELSO), a partner of the Atlas Network. He is also a human rights officer at the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and teaches law at private universities in Kabul. He is a well-known human rights activist in Afghanistan and has actively participated in many national and international seminars and conferences on different topics of law, free society values, good governance, and rule of law in the UK, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Japan, Russia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, India, and the Arab Emirates.


Nimish Adhia is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Manhattanville College in New York. He received his PhD in Economics in 2010 from University of Illinois where he wrote his dissertation on the role of ideology in India’s economic liberalization. He has worked at the Cato Institute in Washington DC and his articles are forthcoming in the Journal of Socio-Economics and Education About Asia. He directed the 2012 Summer Internship Program at the Center for Civil Society in New Delhi.

Inés Calzada Álvarez is a founding partner and secretary at OMMA, the Online Center for Higher Studies Manuel Ayau, based in Madrid, Spain. She also recently joined the spanish liberal think tank Instituto Juan de Mariana as project coordinator. Inés studied Forestry Engineering at the Albert-Ludwig University in Freiburg, Germany, and worked as independent forestry consultant mainly for the public sector for 10 years. Since her master’s degree in Austrian Economics at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Spain, she’s focusing on free market environmentalism solutions.

Reza Ansari joined Atlas in May 2011 as the manager of Persian Outreach Programs. He also helps monitor all Atlas foreign language programs. He is a graduate of East Carolina University, where he got his MS in Applied Economics. His previous studies in Iran include a MS in Socio-economic Engineering from Sharif University of Technology, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from University of Tehran. Back in Iran, he worked as an engineer, an economic analyst, and a freelance translator. He also interned at Association for Liberal Thinking in Turkey in 2009.

Baishali Bomjan 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.

Tarren Bragdon is president and chief executive officer of the Foundation for Government Accountability, a research and advocacy organization committed to making Florida the most economically vibrant state in America. In 2008, he was named chief executive officer of The Maine Heritage Policy Center, a free market think tank based in Portland, Maine. Under his leadership, the organization grew to become the largest state-based free market think tank on a per capita basis. In September 2010, he received the Thomas Roe Award, given annually by the State Policy Network to the individual with the greatest impact on the nation’s free market movement. From 1996 through 2000, he served in the Maine House of Representatives. Elected at the age of 21, he remains the youngest person ever elected to the Maine House.

Matt Bufton is the Executive Director of the Institute for Liberal Studies (ILS). Matt graduated in 2002 from the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business. He worked for a private sector insurance provider in marketing and project management before returning to school for graduate studies in 2008. He studied political science at the University of Windsor and Public Policy at the University of Michigan. He was the recipient of a Humane Studies Fellowship in 2008/09 and 2009/10 and participated in the Atlas Economic Research Foundation’s MBA for Think Tank Management in August 2008.

Alex Chafuen 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 is a Trustee for Grove City College, PA.

Cindy Cerquitella joined Atlas in 2006. She graduated from Hillsdale College, where she received a BA in Political Economy. Prior to attending Hillsdale, Cindy spent four years in Budapest, Hungary where her parents ran an International Christian School. Cindy serves as Program Manager of the Atlas Leadership Academy, a new program launching in 2012. She develops training programs, both online and in person to serve the needs of the Atlas Network. Previously, she worked part-time as the Director of Programs, planning events for Americas Future Foundation.

Mallory Factor is the John C. West Professor of International Politics and American Government at The Citadel and is the author of Shadowbosses, a new exposé of government employee union power in America today. He has written widely on economic and financial issues for various publications nationwide. Mallory is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and served as Vice-Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on Terrorism Financing.

Sean Fieler serves as Chairman of the American Principles Project and the Pro-Life Commission of the Archdiocese of New York. He is president of the Chiaroscuro Foundation and serves as a board member of the Witherspoon Institute, the Manhattan Institute, the Dominican Foundation, the Committee for Monetary and Research & Education and the Susan B. Anthony List. He is also an executive member of the Republican Governors Association and the Republican State Leadership Committee. He speaks and publishes on the topic of monetary reform. He has given talks on monetary policy at the annual Grant’s Conference, the Atlas Liberty Forum and has written for The Wall Street Journal and The Weekly Standard.

Michel Kelly-Gagnon was the president of the Montreal Economic Institute from 1999 to 2006. He was president of the Quebec Employers Council until January 2009. Early in his career he practiced law with Colas & Associates in Montreal.He was one of six people from Quebec honoured in Canada’s Top 40 Under 40™ 2008 awards. In 2010, the Canadian Minister of Industry appointed Mr. Kelly-Gagnon to the Board of Directors of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, an independent corporation which supports world-class research and technology development. He is also actively involved in the board of directors of the Fondation Universitaire Pierre Arbour and the John W. Dobson Foundation. He’s been back at the helm of the Montreal Economic Institute since January 2009. He was a degree in law from the Université de Montréal. Mr. Kelly-Gagnon is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society.

Yarden Gazit is a Research Fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (JIMS), Israel’s leading free market think tank. He regularly authors studies and position papers on the Israeli economy, and has presented his work to policymakers in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. He has written for leading Israeli media such as Ha’aretz, the Jerusalem Post, and Ynet, and was interviewed on several Israeli radio and television stations. He holds a degree in economics from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, USA.

Debbi Gibbs is the President of Just Managing, a music agency, and has worked as an executive director in the broadcasting and entertainment industry for many years. She holds an Architecture degree and lives in New York with her son. Over the last twelve years Debbi has held numerous board positions, both locally and nationally, with Compassion & Choices, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to expanding choice at the end of life. For the past several years she served as Chair of the National Board of Directors.

John C. Goodman is president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis and author of the new book, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis. He is widely known as the “Father of Health Savings Accounts.” He frequently testifies before Congress on health care reform and retirement topics. Dr. Goodman regularly appears on the FOX News Channel, CNN, FOX Business Network and CNBC. His health policy blog is one of the most popular health policy blogs and it is the place where pro-free-enterprise, private sector solutions to health care problems are routinely vetted by experts from across the political spectrum. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University.

Marcel Granier is the chief executive officer of Radio Caracas Television (RCTV). In 2007, the Chavez government imposed a requirement that RCTV reapply for its broadcast license then denied the application. RCTV operated successfully as a cable station until the government frightened away its advertisers. Granier lives in Venezuela and speaks out for democracy and human rights. He is a member of the Board of CEDICE in Venezuela.

Dr. Samuel Gregg is director of research at the Acton Institute. He has written and spoken extensively on questions of political economy, economic history, ethics in finance, and natural law theory. He has an MA in political philosophy from the University of Melbourne, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in moral philosophy and political economy from the University of Oxford, where he worked under the supervision of Professor John Finnis. He is the author and co-author of several books which have been translated into multiple languages. He became a member of the Mont Pelerin Society in 2004, and the Philadelphia Society and the Royal Economic Society in 2008.

Adam Guillette, Moving Picture Institute’s director of development, has extensive experience in nonprofit development and donor relations. As founder of the Florida chapter of Americans for Prosperity, he served as state director and head of donor relations. In 2008, he became regional development officer at the Leadership Institute, where he managed donor relations for the states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama. While attending the University of Florida, he published the largest student-owned newspaper in the country and stood as a mayoral candidate for the city of Gainesville, FL.

Sanford Ikeda is an associate professor of economics at Purchase College, The State University of New York. He received his Ph.D. from New York University, where he is currently a visiting scholar and research associate. His research interests include the dynamics of interventionism, public policy, the political economy of cities, antitrust, and Japanese drumming. He is past-president of the Society for the Development of Austrian Economics. His publications include Dynamics of the Mixed Economy, “The role of social capital in the market process,” and “How compatible are Public Choice and Austrian Political Economy?”

Jerry Jordan earned a doctorate in economics from UCLA and holds honorary doctorates from Denison and Capital universities. He is the former President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Before joining the Bank, he was a senior vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. His commercial banking experience includes five years at Pittsburgh National Bank and seven years at First Interstate Bancorp in Los Angeles. He was a member of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisors in 1981-82. He is also an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and a past president of the National Association of Business Economists.

Matt Kibbe is the president and CEO of FreedomWorks. He has been with the organization for over 15 years. An economist by training, Matt Kibbe is a well-respected national public policy expert, bestselling author and political commentator. He also serves as Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Austrian Economic Center in Vienna, Austria. Before joining FreedomWorks, he worked in academia, business, and lawmaking. He has appeared on national news shows including FOX News, NBC, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, FOX Business, PBS, and CSPAN. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily, POLITICO, The Washington Examiner and numerous other national and online publications. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.com, RedState and FoxNews.com.

Aleksandar Kokotovic is finishing his studies at the University of Belgrade, where he is currently pursuing a Bachelors degree in Political Science. He is a regional director for the Balkans and an executive board member of European Students For Liberty, and a marketing coordinator for the Libertarian Club Libek from Belgrade, Serbia. Aleksandar has been involved in many pro-liberty activities during the last couple of years and has decided to make fighting for liberty one of his lifelong goals.

Luis Larrain serves as the Executive Director of Libertad y Desarrollo, a public policy think tank in Chile. He is a published author with articles appearing in Newspaper El Mercurio, El Diario Financiero and Capital magazine. He earned a degree in Economics from the  Universidad Católica de Chile.

George Leef was a vice president of the John Locke Foundation and director of the Pope Center until the Pope Center became an independent entity in 2003. Previously, Leef was on the faculty of Northwood University in Midland, Michigan, where he taught courses in economics, business law, and logic. Since 1996 he has served as book review editor of The Freeman. Leef is the author of Free Choice for Workers: A History of the Right to Work Movement (2005) and editor of Educating Teachers: The Best Minds Speak Out(2002). Leef has published widely, with articles and reviews appearing in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Regulation, the Christian Science Monitor, the Detroit News, Raleigh News & Observer, the Cato Journal, and other publications.

Brad Lips 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.

Emmanuel Martin holds a PhD in economics from the University of Aix-Marseille in France. Martin is the editor of www.UnMondeLibre.org, the francophone platform of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation outreach and discovery programs. He has published a large number of op-eds which have been syndicated in various newspapers including L’écho in Belgium, Les échos in France, Il Foglio in Italy, The Wall Street Journal Europe, Libération in Morocco, and El Watan in Algeria.

Edita Maslauskaite joined the Lithuanian Free Market Institute in 1999. In May 2006 she was appointed vice president to head LFMI’s fundraising and administration. Since 2002 she has served as development officer. Edita is responsible for developing and maintaining contacts with LFMI‘s supporters and the business community. She is also a program manager of the Atlas Free Enterprise Center in Lithuania. Edita holds an MA in business administration from Vilnius Gediminas Technical University. She is working toward a Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) at the Baltic Management Institute.

Quentin Michon has been involved in the French libertarian movement for 5 years. He is currently editor-in-chief of Contrepoints, a libertarian online newspaper, and treasurer of Liberaux.org, the association publishing Contrepoints. Liberaux.org aims at spreading libertarian ideas online, via an online newspaper, an online encyclopedia and several other websites.

Tamaldou Mohamed is the founder and former President of the Network of Arab Liberals (The NAL), which is comprised of Arab liberal parties and activists in the Arab world. Tamaldou Mohamed currently serves as the Vice President of International Liberal and the treasurer of the Arab Center for Scientific Research and Human Studies in Morocco. He is the author of several studies on the Arab world and has translated a variety of books from French to Arabic.

Deroy 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 Palmer 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.

John Ramsey is the founder of the Liberty for All Super Pac. Liberty For All prides itself on being an organization dedicated to electing candidates based on their dedication to the principles of freedom, rather than party affiliation. After success in Kentucky and Michigan, Liberty For All has now distinguished itself as the only liberty organization that wins elections at the local, state and national levels. He is a student at Stephen F Austin State University in Texas working on a degree in business and hopes to create multiple start-up ventures designed to highlight the merits of a free society.

Baladevan Rangaraju is the founder and director of the Delhi based not-for-profit independent think tank the India Institute. He has 10 years of experience in teaching and education management, and 4 years of experience in policy research and advocacy. His areas of expertise include education policy, research, strategy and campaign management. He aims to promote individual liberty and rule of law through these avenues and the country’s active judiciary. Before founding India Institute in September 2010, Bala was the National Director of the School Choice Campaign. The campaign gained its greatest visibility when he was at the helm, organizing India’s largest public hearing on education where more than 5000 people demanded school vouchers, garnering a media story almost every other day. The campaigned earned the Templeton Freedom Award 2010 for Innovative Public Relations.

Bican Sahin is an associate professor of political science in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Hacettepe University. He is the president of Association for Liberal Thinking. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2003. Among his research topics are classical liberal and libertarian philosophy, the relation between liberal democracy and Islam, and the relationships between state and civil society in Turkey. He conducted a post-doctoral research at the University of Maryland, College Park through an Earhart Foundation fellowship in 2007-2008. The title of his post-doctoral project is “An Expansive Theory of Liberal Tolerance: The Historical Case of Pierre Bayle”.

Ali Salman recently founded Policy Research Institute of Market Economy as a think tank in Islamabad, Pakistan. He is an author, columnist and consultant on issues of economic development in Pakistan with special interest in Islam and Free Market Economy. Ali holds master degrees in Economics, Public Policy and Business Administration. He is an alumnus of International Academy of Leadership, Germany and Atlas Economic Research Foundation’s Think Tank MBA program. Ali did his Masters in Economics at Boston University as a Fulbright Scholar; in Development Studies at the Institute of Social Studies as a Royal Netherlands Fellow; and in Business Administration at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

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. 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.

Ernesto Selman is the Executive Vice-President of Centro Regional de Estrategias Económicas Sostenibles (CREES), the only think tank promoting economic freedom in the Dominican Republic. He has had experience in the private and public sectors of the Dominican Republic, as well as in multilateral financial institutions. He has a BA in Economics from Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC) and a Masters Degree on Economic Policy Management from Columbia University. He completed postgraduate studies at Georgetown University and at Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID). Ernesto is Professor of Economics at Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) in Santo Domingo. He has published dozens of articles in major newspapers of the Dominican Republic on economics, politics, history and sociology.

Robin Sitoula is the executive director of Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation – a public policy institute based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He first became involved in youth activism in 1997. In 1999, he joined Youth Initiative as a co-founder of the organization. Since then, he has been designing, developing and conducting programs meant to bring leadership skills and civic awareness to young students and young policymakers in Nepal. He is also the founding President of Liberal Youth South Asia and has traveled extensively throughout South Asia to conduct programs in free market and democracy with young people in the region. Mr. Sitoula graduated with a degree in Investments and Financial Management (MBS Program) from Tribhuwan University of Nepal. He has co-authored research papers on youth employment status and youth political organizations and their influence in Nepal.

Gonzalo Schwarz manages the Awards and Grants program at Atlas that include the prestigious Fisher Memorial Award and Templeton Freedom Awards.  Additionally he manages the Latin American Program. He currently holds an MA in Economics from George Mason University and is looking to pursue other graduate studies. He is originally from Uruguay and has lived in four other countries throughout his life. In the past he worked in academics and other non profits. He enjoys participating in academic seminars and was also part of the Koch Foundation Fall internship in 2009. His main hobbies are sports, reading and spending time with his family.

Tsvet Tsonevski is director of Academic Affairs at the Foundation for Economic Education. Following the steps of Adam Smith, Tsvet began his career as legal counsel at the Bulgarian Customs Agency. He joined the free-market community first as “Social Change” analyst at the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation in Washington, DC and then as research coordinator at the Institute for Humane Studies in Arlington, Va. Tsvet has lectured on competition law, international trade law, trademarks law and EU law in the US and in Europe. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Institute for Market Economics and writes a weekly column for the Institute for Radical Capitalism in Bulgaria. Tsvet holds law degree from Bulgaria and LL.M. in law and economics from George Mason School of Law.

James Tusty is a producer for Free To Choose Network (FTCN) and a co-owner of Sky Films Incorporated (SFI). In 1981, he founded the film production company Mountain View Group, Ltd., and ran it for 27 years before selling it in 2008 to two long-standing employees. He then started producing films about freedom. He and his wife Maureen released their first documentary feature, The Singing Revolution, in 2008, which wa compared to the power of Casablanca by the New York Times. A frequent collaborator with FTCN, he and Maureen are currently working on a national FTCN documentary regarding the importance of economic freedom that will air on U.S. public television in the fall of 2013.

Paulo Uebel is the former Executive Director of Instituto Millenium (from 2008 to 2011), a think tank in Brazil that promotes democracy, rule of law, market economy and liberty. He served as General Director of the south chapter of LIDE – Group of Business Leaders (from 2009 to 2010), one of the largest business associations in Brazil, accounting for more than 46% of the private GDP. Before that, he practiced law in the private sector for 7 years. He was also the president of IEE (from 2005 to 2006), an institution that develops young business leaders committed to a free society. In 2011, he won the Libertas Award during the Liberty Forum, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Paulo has a BSC in Law from the Catholic University of RGS and a specialization in tax, financial and economic law from the Federal University of RGS. He has a Global Leadership Certificate from Georgetown University. Currently, he is working on his master degree in public administration at Columbia University, where he is research assistant of the Institute of Latin American Studies.

Matt Warner is the director of Programs and Communications at Atlas. Previously, he 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.

Linda Whetstone is the daughter of Atlas’s founder, the late Sir Antony Fisher. In addition to her role on the Atlas Board of Directors, she serves as Chairman of the Network for a Free Society, and as a member of the Boards of the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Mont Pelerin Society, the Istanbul Network for Liberty and British Dressage. She runs a small business in England with her husband and writes on agricultural and development issues.

Katarzyna Zabawa is the deputy director of communications at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research where she works with the VP of communications in cultivating relationships with top-level media, as well assisting in the planning and execution of marketing rollouts, and overseeing the daily operation of the press office. Previously, she served as the Manhattan Institute press officer for state and local issues where she coordinated media placements for MI scholars with local and national media. Before moving to New York, she worked in communications on several New Jersey political campaigns and the 2008 presidential election. As a native of Poland, she moved to the United States as a young girl who embraced the American dream. She is currently training for the 2012 NYC Marathon. She has a B.A. in political science and a B.S. in journalism from Boston University.

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