Templeton Freedom Awards for Excellence in Promoting Liberty
The largest international prize program that celebrates think tank contributions to the understanding of freedom
Atlas is proud to present the 16 winners of the Templeton Freedom Awards. The winners come from 10 countries around the globe. They represent some of the best work from think tanks around the network and demonstrate effective strategies for communicating and defending the message of free enterprise, individual liberty and the morality of capitalism.
Named after the late investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton, the Templeton Freedom Award was established in 2003 and is the largest international prize program that celebrates think tank contributions to the understanding of freedom. The Templeton Freedom Awards program has awarded more than $1.5 million in prizes and grants in the past eight years. This year’s awards program grants a $10,000 prize to each winner.
The awards categories include:
Ethics & Values
Recognizing outstanding research and innovative projects concerning the relationship between free enterprise and the ethics, values, and character that sustain it.
Free Market Solutions to Poverty
Recognizing outstanding research and innovative projects addressing how sound economic and legal institutions can solve problems of poverty.
Recognizing outstanding research and innovative projects on social entrepreneurship to benefit the poor, increased cooperation among think tanks, the private sector organizations for the free society; and general building of a sound, strong, civil society.
Initiative in Public Relations
Recognizing non-profit research institute that have demonstrated outstanding success in effectively communicating the ideas of a free society.
Innovative Media Award
Recognizing outstanding think tank projects that use film or multimedia technologies to promote the principles of a free society.
Award for Special Achievement by a University-based Center
Recognizing outstanding projects and achievement by university-based centers in promoting liberty.
Award for Special Achievement by a Young Institute
Recognizing out-standing performance by an institute that is less than five years old. One winner will be chosen from a developed country, and another one from a more difficult part of the world.
Recognizing outstanding work by think tanks to improve education about freedom.
Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, Israel
The Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (JIMS) won a Templeton Freedom Award for the Center for the Study of Judaism and Economics (CSJE). The core mission of the center, which opened its doors in 2008, is to defend the potential economic superiority of capitalism on the grounds of morality and religious beliefs which is an issue that has caused many Israelis and Jewish people around the world to doubt the system based on the same religious and moral grounds. CSJE is a unique place where students, rabbis, economists, entrepreneurs and policy makers meet to discuss the connection between Judaism and economic freedom.
CSJE was inaugurated with a talk on Judaism and Economics by Nobel Laureate in Economics Professor Robert Aumann. JIMS has hosted many scholars, including Professor Uzi Siegel from Boston College, Zvi Eckstein from Tel Aviv University and the Bank of Israel, Professor Sam Peltzman from the University of Chicago, and Russ Roberts from George Mason University. The lectures held at CSJE have been attended by hundreds of people and receive extensive press coverage.
The research done at CSJE is also integrated into the JIMS Center for Public Policy research papers on current economic policies being discussed at the Israeli congress. Showing lawmakers that “free market” ideas align themselves with classic Jewish religious sources has multiplied the effectiveness of the institute in the public arena. In addition to lectures by visiting scholars, conferences and research, CSJE sponsored the publication of two manuscripts “Judaism, Markets and Capitalism” by Corinne and Robert Sauer and “Judaism, Law, Free Market” by Rabbi Isaac Lifshitz.
Center for Policy Studies, Denmark
The Center for Policy Studies (CEPOS) has won a 2012 Templeton Freedom Award in the category of Ethics and Values for their book “Deeds of Benevolence.” Henrik Gade Jensen, a CEPOS philosopher on staff, wrote the book. The publication recalls Denmark’s past of individual initiative and innovation. This is contrasted with what is now a growing government where according to CEPOS 66 percent of the Danish citizens are either employed by the state or are receiving some kind of public welfare.
In the book, Jensen documents how well the civil society in Denmark used to perform a multitude of tasks in areas such as health, both higher and lower levels of education, helping the poor, funding political parties, police work and regulating banks and businesses.
The book demanded a massive study of a multitude of pre 1930 written material found mostly by digging deep into the treasures of the Royal Danish Library.
Acton Institute, United States
The US based Acton Institute has won a 2012 Templeton Freedom Award for their PovertyCure educational initiative. PovertyCure advocates moral free enterprise as the key to authentic and permanent poverty elimination. PovertyCure has already had a tangible impact on the poverty debate through high-impact partnerships, resources, and conferences even though the project was only officially launched last fall, relying on the efforts of an extensive coalition to market and publicize the effort.
A visit to the website reveals a growing list of 160 national and international partner organizations from over 50 countries. These partners represent academia (University of Notre Dame, University of Cambridge), entrepreneurial groups (SEVEN Fund, MicroRate), and religious ministries (Goshen International, Partners Worldwide). The ‘Voices’ section of the PovertyCure website features over 30 well-known experts, as well as those who have overcome poverty including Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, Cambridge University scholar Peter Heslam, and Oxford University professor Paul Collier. Over 30,000 web users have watched these short, impactful videos to date.
A major element of the campaign was Poverty, Entrepreneurship, and Integral Development, a seven-part conference series taking place throughout Africa, Europe, and Latin America. In total, conference lecturers fielded some 300 television and radio interviews with media outlets around the world, while the conferences themselves received coverage on television, radio, and Internet sources reaching more than 50 million individuals. This figure includes such popular outlets as The Guardian, The Economist, and Financial Times. Additionally, social media is one of the initiative’s most effective vehicles. PovertyCure’s Facebook page, which had 2,300 likes this time last year, boasts 368,000 today, representing a substantial number of people around the world who interact with and share our content. A documentary is currently in the works and will be broadcasted by PBS.
National Center for Policy Analysis, United States
The National Center for Policy Analysis publication (NCPA), Enterprise Programs: Freeing Entrepreneurs to Provide Essential Services to the Poor, has won a 2012 Templeton Freedom Award. The NCPA assembled a task force of experts to analyze poorly designed government regulations which block many private sector options that could provide essential services to the poor. The resulting Enterprise Programs report identifies ways to provide these necessary services to low-income families – transportation, child care, security, health care, and housing – at affordable prices, through targeted regulatory relief.
Enterprise Programs are a way around the current regulatory barriers. Building on earlier efforts such as “Enterprise Zones” and “Empowerment Zones,” Enterprise programs are not limited to a prescribed geographic area and encompass a variety of services that would increase economic opportunities for, and improve the quality of life of, low-income families and communities. Enterprise Programs are a way to reduce or eliminate regulatory barriers for entrepreneurs who meet one requirement: that they provide an essential service predominately to poor and distressed families.
This report is offered as a starting point and marshals evidence of the problems faced by low-income families in transportation, child care, security, housing, and health care. It recommends public policy changes that would allow the private sector to create solutions.
Instituto Democracia y Mercado, Chile
For the past three years Instituto Democracia y Mercado has been working on their documentary series project “Latin American Entrepreneurs.” These series of documentaries compile the stories of Latin American entrepreneurs who overcame poverty and adversity through individual initiative, ingenuity, and hard work.
The documentaries are produced by the institute and a team comprised of an executive producer, director, editors, producers, and photographers who are hired by the Institute. So far nine documentaries have been released, profiling Intellectual Entrepreneurs from countries such as Peru, Bolivia, Mexico and Venezuela. The institute partners with think tanks in each country to find compelling stories and have on the ground support. The videos are currently on YouTube and the project’s website. The whole series is scheduled to be shown throughout major TV networks in Latin America.
Corporacion Transparencia por Colombia, Colombia
Corporacion Transparencia por Colombia has won a 2012 Templeton Freedom Award for their Network of Municipal Council Observatories. The institute focuses on how to make local and federal governments more transparent and through this project they created a key vehicle for citizen participation.
The main mission of the project is to increase the responsibility and integrity of public sector management through more supervision, monitoring and results evaluation by civil society groups with the end goal of holding governments more accountable. The work is being done in eight different cities around Colombia and directed by the institute in collaboration with the private sector, the media, universities and unions.
The activities implemented by the Network are regularly covered by reports in the media where Corporacion Transaprencia has vast following garnering almost 1,000 media mentions every year through written press, radio, TV, social media and blogs.
Centro de Divulgacion del Conocimiento Economico para la Libertad, Venezuela
CEDICE’s Free Market Journalist Training Program has proven a success as it awards CEDICE the third Templeton Freedom Award in their history. The program consists of training press, television, radio or institutional journalists on how to communicate information and opinions based on the principles of free enterprise and individual liberty providing tools of economic analysis to do so.
The program consists of workshops directed to journalists from TV, press, radio, or social networks and features ideas of classical liberals such as Friedrich Hayek, James Buchanan, and Ludwig von Mises. CEDICE has already trained 350 journalists as well as journalism students from all over Venezuela.
Participants write short essays on the lectures to allow instructors to evaluate their understanding of the contents and their performance is under constant evaluation. At the end of the course a certificate is granted to those with sufficient qualifications based on their understanding of the new concepts, course attendance and participation, and responsibility on assignments.
Taxpayers’ Alliance, United Kingdom
The Taxpayers’ Alliance has come out with another impactful campaign that has made them deserving of another Templeton Freedom Award to add to the one they won in 2010. The campaign, called “Taxpayer Funding of Trade Unions,”exposed the taxpayers’ subsidy of influential public sector trade unions. In the first publication, released in 2010, Taxpayers’ Alliance found that unions received £85.8 million from public sector organizations in 2009-10. In November 2011, an enhanced and updated version of the 2010 report found that Unions received £113 million from public sector organizations in 2010-11 and 2,840 full-time staff were working on trade union activities or duties at taxpayers’ expense.
The institute engaged in Britain’s largest ever Freedom of Information campaign in order to obtain the information needed for the report. The research is available online, giving the public, media and policymakers the ability to search for local data or search by organization. A strategic media campaign included, besides targeting the usual media outlets such as broadcast, print and online media, a grassroots mobilization using the Alliance’s 65,000 supporters nationwide in local ‘Action Days’ to highlight the taxpayer funding of unions at the local level and hosted a major ‘Rally Against Debt’ at Parliament in 2011.
The group has also targeted policymakers both in parliament and in the executive branch. The campaign has pushed this issue to the top of the political agenda. Responding to the research David Cameron committed the government to ending taxpayers’ subsidizing full-time trade unionists. He stated: “I do not think full-time trade unionists working in the public sector on trade union business rather than serving the public is right, and we will put that to an end. That is absolutely the case, and the evidence today makes that case even stronger.” The institute is now pushing the government to turn their promises into action.
Moving Picture Institute, United States
The Moving Picture Institute (MPI) has won its first Templeton Freedom Award in 2012 for the MPI Fellowship Program. The program supports the career development of rising freedom-oriented filmmakers. To maximize the impact of fellows’ work, MPI offers guidance on scripting, production, marketing, and distribution, while also creating opportunities for fellows to network and share ideas.
MPI supports 12–15 fellows each year through grants that range from $2,500 to $10,000.The grants can support a short film from development through distribution, providing a major career boost for emerging filmmakers.
A few examples of the program’s impact include views in the millions of material produced by the fellows, a video shortlisted for an Academy Award, an Emmy, and impact on public policy through fellows who go on to work to other think tanks producing high quality material.
Contrepoints is a web magazine focused on free-enterprise and individual liberty news content for French-speaking countries. It aims at giving a fresh new classic liberal or libertarian angle on information, news current affairs, social issues, as well as cultural and philosophical matters. It reaches out to the general public thanks to an easy-to-read layout and intense marketing.
Contrepoints has reached more established media in the francophone countries around the region and has been taken into account as an important competitor in the media by their counterparts, both left and right on the ideological spectrum.
The website boasts 160,000 unique visitors as well as more than half a million page views each month. The strategy of the website consists of combining economic and political news content with other areas of interest to the general public and attracting people to the website through different angles with a big marketing push.
Center for the History of Political Economy, Duke University, United States
The Center for the History of Political Economy (HOPE) has won their first 2012 Templeton Freedom Award. The mission of this center is to reverse the trend of having history of economics disappearing from the economics curriculum. In the four years that the Center has been in operation, they have developed a number of high quality programs.
A fellowship program that brings junior and senior academics to Duke for a semester or a year to do their own research and participate in the center’s weekly workshops and seminars. Active workshop series, lunch series, and annual conference which in 2011 included speakers such as Matt Ridley (author of The Rational Optimist), Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie (authors of Declaration of Independents), Nicholas Wapshott (author of Keynes Hayek), and Larry White and Doug Irwin. Another successful program is the “summer in the archives program.” In the program junior fellows and graduate students work for eight weeks under the guidance of professional archivists sorting, cataloging, and writing up descriptions of materials to be found in the papers of each economist. This not only familiarizes the young scholars with archival techniques, it gives them the first look at the papers, spawning many research projects.
HOPE also sponsors summer institutes that attracted 160 applicants for 30 slots this past year, up by 70 from the year before. Students who attend receive History of Economic courses which they would rarely get in their universities. Students came from top schools such as Brown, Berkeley, Northwestern, Minnesota, and Michigan. The goal is to stimulate students to offer courses in the history of economics once they graduate, and, for a few, to develop a research interest in the field. They feel that in the long run this will change the ethos of the profession.
Initiative for Public Choice and Market Process, College of Charleston, United States
The Initiative for Public Choice & Market Process (IPCMP) has won a 2012 Templeton Freedom Award for its innovative undergraduate program that works with students, faculty members at the College of Charleston, and greater Charleston community. It accomplishes its mission with the following programs: Monthly Speaker Series, Student Research Fellowships, Student Reading Groups, Adam Smith Week, Faculty Research Support, and outreach to the Community.
One of their main products is the BB&T Free Market Speaker Series. This is monthly series that hosts exceptional speakers from academia and business which have included in recent years Deirdre McCloskey, Virginia Postrel, Peter Boettke, Michael Munger, and Bruce Yandle. Each speaker attracts over 100 participants. In addition, they have partnered with other South Carolina universities for Socratic style reading group. There were a total of twenty events with over 1,100 total participants. The annual Adam Smith Week is one of their major events attracting an average of 400 participants each year.
Outreach to the community has been a large part of their success. They have partnered with the Bastiat Society, an organization that seeks to educate business professionals on the ideas of a free society, on a variety of events to foster awareness of the importance of free market ideas beyond our students. Working with scholars from around the state and country IPCMP collaborated with the South Carolina Policy Council, to produce Unleashing Capitalism: A Prescription for Economic Prosperity in South Carolina.
MacDonald Laurier Institute, Canada
Following a Fisher Award in 2011, the MacDonald Laurier Institute (MLI) continues its success with a 2012 Templeton Freedom Award. The MLI is increasingly recognized as the thought leader on national issues in Canada, prodding governments, opinion leaders and the general public to accept nothing but the very best public policy solutions for the challenges Canada faces.
In the past year alone MLI had 428 publications and op-eds in various news outlets (print, broadcast, and Internet), on a variety of topics such as the vulnerability of Canada’s infrastructure; and the Canadian government’s regulation of foreign investment.
In its first year of operations, MLI was selected as one of the Top 20 “Best New Think Tanks” by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. In their second they were selected as one of the top five new think tanks in the world. In 2012, Brian Lee Crowley, MLI Managing Director, was named one of 100 most influential people in Ottawa.
India Institute, India
The India Institute’s study on “The Private School Revolution in Bihar: Findings from a survey in Patna Urban” earned the institute a 2012 Templeton Freedom Award. The study authored by Baladevan Rangaraju, Professor James Tooley and Dr Pauline Dixon is the culmination of a yearlong primary research in Patna, the capital city of the state of Bihar with a population of 1.7 million people living in 72 municipal wards. The study includes a census & survey of all private unaided schools, a random sample survey of 360 households to understand school choice decision-making, and GPS mapping of all the schools to understand their distribution pattern. This comprehensive and innovative approach has provided a huge body of easily appreciable evidence that the government under reports private school contribution to justify its monopoly.
This creative exercise helped the institute calculate the number of private schools (9 to 93) within one kilometer radius of government schools in the city, making it the strongest evidence that restrictive government policies are not based on facts. Government data showed 14 private schools, in place of 1224 the institute found. The pioneering nature of the study, powerful numbers, and the visual appeal of the GPS maps have kick-started a serious public debate.
Two success indicators were the government acknowledgement of the fact that its numbers are wrong and the initiative of the state government to undertake reforms. Additionally, Baladevan Rangaruju, Director of India Institute, was invited by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration to give a presentation on urban school planning based on GPS mapping where Baladevan advocated for the efficient use of public funds and redefining demand estimation. The Bihar government, which had informal access to the report before the official launch, has announced that no private school will be shut down though mandated by law. The Education Department of Bihar has invited the India Institute to collaborate in revising rules for school recognition.
Free to Choose Network, United States
The Free to Choose Network continues its success in the Templeton Freedom Awards by winning once again for one of their latest products, a documentary called “From Poop To Profit.” The video was originally produced as part of the “Call Of the Entrepreneur” by Acton Media. The Free to Choose Network adapted one story from the series into an instructional video of its own focusing on teachers and students from all over the United States which includes a study guide to foster discussion of the ideas in the video. The DVD has been distributed nationwide to over 27,000 teachers in IA, IL, MN, MO, NE, SD, and WI. On average, 90 students will watch each DVD.
Teacher feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. One teacher who received the video said “Fantastic video! The video is engaging to students from grade four and up to high school level. The students understood the emphasis on the main characteristics and ideas of entrepreneurs and began to generate their own ideas immediately after the video. Thank you for providing a free resource for teachers!!”
Another teacher mentioned “This video helped my students think of ways they can earn money for themselves using their individual talents, such as making bracelets, beginning a clothing line, and making our own compost for our school garden. I loved their energy as they talked walking out of class. At first they laughed at the title; now they’re thinking of their own creative titles for their own businesses. What a fun teaching experience!”
European Students for Liberty, Europe
On the back of Students for Liberty’s success last year, European Students for Liberty (ESFL) has won a 2012 Templeton Freedom Award. ESFL is the first non-partisan pan-European pro-liberty student movement. They are aiming to provide student groups and individuals with pro-liberty resources all over Europe.
ESFL has currently 105 groups in 20 different countries in its network. They are targeting to grow over the next 12 months to 155 groups in 30 European countries. They have distributed about 4,500 free books in the first six months of existence and are aiming to send out more than 25,000 free books to pro-liberty student groups in Europe in the next 12 months
Their main goal is to get more young Europeans exposed to the ideas of liberty through more new media and electronic material. They currently have 1,000 subscribers to their bi-monthly Newsletter and 4,300 Facebook and plan to expand even further in the coming months.
The first ESFL conference in 2011 attracted 220 students from 25 different countries.