Think Tank MBA 2013 Participants

Atlas’s Think Tank MBA is a 10-day executive strategic planning and leadership development course designed to help think tank leaders draft a plan to grow their institutes, and achieve their missions’ to limit government and increase individual responsibility. This course brings together think tank leaders from around the world for an immersive and interactive training experience. You can meet each of these participants, and learn about their work advancing liberty at the Elevator Pitch Competition on the evening of November 13. Alumni of this program earn 5 Atlas Leadership Academy credits. To learn more visit

Aldo Abram is the Managing Director and co-founder of Libertad y Progreso in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Aldo has a Master’s degree in Economics Science from CEMA. He is a Professor in the Masters of Finance and of Policy and Economics of ESEADE. Previously, Aldo was the Managing Director of the Centro de Investigación de Instituciones y Mercados de la Argentina of ESEADE. Also, he has been a partner and General Manager of two economic and finance consultant firms. Aldo often publishes articles about economics for both the national and the international press.

Rafael Arribas is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at the Institute for Liberty and Democracy. As CFO, Rafael has organized and lead ILD’s financial, accounting, technological, and administrative resources with the aim to fulfill program goals and strategic objectives of the ILD. In the past, Rafael has been a Senior Associate at Estudio Echecopar Abogados, an Associate in the corporate finance department of Gómez-Acebo & Pomb Abogados, Foreign Intern at Holland & Knight LLPa, and an Associate at Estudio Olaechea Abogados. Rafael has also been an Assistant Professor at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and at Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas. He has written several articles, including articles published at the University of Chicago and Ius et Veritas Law Review. He received his law degree from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, and completed postgraduate studies at the University of Chicago Law School, where he earned his LL.M. degree.

Petar Čekerevac is the Executive Manager of the Libertarian Club, Libek. He holds a Bachelor degree in International Relations, and a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies. In addition to his studies at the University of Belgrade, he has studied Scandinavian and International Politics at the University in Oslo, in Norway. Petar has worked for several civil society organizations in Serbia as a vice-coordinator, project manager or activist, and has completed an internship in Norway. His main professional and academic interests are conflict resolution, individual rights, public policy and political theory. He regularly speaks and lectures on events in Serbia and the Western Balkans, and has been a guest speaker on events in Denmark and Russia.

Miguel A. Collado Di Franco is the senior economist at Centro Regional de Estrategias Económicas Sostenibles (CREES), a free market-oriented public policy and research think tank in the Dominican Republic. He has a Bachelors degree in Economics from Pontificia Universidad Católica Maestra and a Master’s of International Business Studies from the University of South Carolina. During his career, he has held various positions in multinational companies, and has been consultant for the Multilateral Investment Fund, United Nations Development Program for Development (UNDP) and the National Bureau of Statistics of the Dominican Republic.

Dr. Nouh El Harmouzi received his Ph.D in Economics, from Paul Cézann University, France, and earned his MA in Economics at King Muhammad V of Al-Rabat, Morocco. He served as a professor for five years at Paul Cézann University, teaching Economic Development Theories and Economic Philosophy and Thought. In addition, he published many articles and research papers in various periodicals and his last book is The Underdevelopment in the Arab-Muslim World.

Amit Gordon has over fourteen years of experience in the development sector on issues ranging from Child Rights, Gender Justice, to Poverty Housing and Health. He has worked with various multinational agencies like the British Council, Habitat for Humanity, World Vision and is now working with Centre for Civil Society (CCS) in Delhi. At CCS he looks after Human Resources, Finance and Administration related matters. He is qualified in HR management and has gained finance management skills from the different international organizations he has been a part of.

Richard Lorenc is the Director of Programs & Alumni Relations at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), where he oversees FEE’s educational programs and alumni development. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, and is a member of the Leadership Committee of Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry. His writing has been published in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Huffington Post, Daily Caller and others. He is a graduate of Emory University and lives in Atlanta.

Erik Makrush serves as the Director of the Center for Government Transparency and Accountability for the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) and has worked for IFF since 2009. Erik’s work over the past decade on limited government and the removal of barriers to allow our capitalist society flourish has been noteworthy. He has served as a legislative advisor since 2005 and served on the Board of Directors for a local charter school. Prior to moving to Idaho in 2002, Erik lived in the Washington, D.C. area and served in the US Navy. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Political Science with an emphasis in Law, and a minor in business from Boise State University. Erik was commissioned as a Navy Supply Officer in 2010 and continues to serve in the Navy Reserves.

Dr. Emmanuel Martin is the director of the Institute for Economic Studies in Europe, an institute that runs summer seminars designed to introduce students to the ideas of liberty. He is also the editor of, a libertarian project focused on African issues. Emmanuel holds a PhD in economics and has written dozens of op-eds and commentaries on various topics ranging from development issues to Europe or libertarian analysis.

Marco Navarro is the President of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. He also teaches political science in the Department of Policy Studies at Mount Royal University in Calgary. His teaching and pioneering research have been recognized, respectively, by a Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award (1999) at Mount Royal University and an Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship (2004-2006) at the University of Calgary. Marco was a member of the Board of Directors for the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights and Democracy) 2009-2012. He serves in various boards including Civitas and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. He regularly comments on Canadian and provincial politics for various local, national, and international print and broadcast news outlets.

Janet Neilson has a Bachelor of Commerce in Honours Business Administration, a Bachelor of Arts in Honours Economics, and a Master’s of Arts in International Affairs. She is a director and a founder of the Institute for Liberal Studies. Currently, she also is also a Research Assistant to Scott Reid. In the past, she has worked as the Quality Management Assistant at the Department of National Defense, a health policy analyst at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and a teaching assistant at the University of Windsor.

Olumayowa Okdediran is a committed advocate of liberty. In 2010, he came across the works of Frederic Bastiat, Bruno Leoni and Ludwig von Mises, the compelling arguments especially of Bastiat against protectionism provided Olumayowa with an appetite for the study of the ideas that lead to a free society. In 2010, he co-found the African Liberty Students’ Organization (ALSO) and served as the vice president for strategy at the first ALSO chapter in his school. Olumayowa has been instrumental in the establishment of several ALSO chapters across Africa. In 2011 he became ALSO Outreach Assistant responsible for ALSO’s expansion in English speaking African countries. He currently sits on the international Executive board of Students For Liberty and directs Students For Liberty’s efforts in Africa. He is a contributing author to Atlas and Students For Liberty’s latest book Why Liberty.

John Poreba is Director of Regional Development at the Leadership Institute (LI). He leads a ten-person team tasked to develop five regions of the U.S., bringing LI staff and supporters together to support major political training initiatives on college campuses, in the public policy process, and around the world. His specialties include persuasive speaking and writing, fundraising, nonprofit management, strategic planning, and research. John is a graduate of Penn State University and earned his master’s degree in Statecraft, summa cum laude, from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC. With a passionate interest in effective political techniques, he has trained hundreds of students, activists, and leaders from more than 26 countries to be great communicators.

Giannina Raffo graduated with a degree in International Trade from Simon Bolivar University. She has participated in many workshops and seminars including the Simon Bolivar University Model of United Nations of Harvard. In the past, Giannina has worked with the National Council of Investment Promotion (CONAPRI), reviewing and analyzing the current trade agreements in Venezuela. Now she works for the Center of Dissemination of Economic Knowledge (CEDICE) by contributing economic research, monitoring CEDICE’s legislative agenda, and helping coordinate new education projects for young people. Additionally, Giannina writes for Invest Venezuela and volunteers with the Young Entrepreneurs of Venezuela.

Craig Richardson is the Executive Director of the American Tradition Institute. Previously, he has served as Executive Director of the American-Danish Business Council, The National Park and Recreation Foundation, and Leadership for America’s Future PAC (LEADPAC). He has also been a Research Analyst, worked for a Senate campaign, and worked in public relations. In 1993, he started his own research, communications, and fundraising business before co-founding Washington Strategies, where he worked for nearly 10 years. In 2002, he sold his interest in Washington Strategies and joined DCI Associates as Vice President. In November 2003 he founded Richardson Consulting. Craig received a B.A. degree from Bowdoin College and holds an M.A. degree from Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College.

Martín Simonetta is Executive Director of Fundación Atlas1853 (Argentina). In 2004 we has elected as “The Outstanding Young Person of Argentina-TOYP” by the Junior Chamber International and received the “Animarse a Más” (Strive to Excel) award from PepsiCo. Martín is currently professor of “Political Economy” at the Universidad de Ciencias Empresariales y Sociales (UCES) and of “Argentine Economy” and “World Economy” at the Argentine Chamber of Commerce. He was Visiting Professor of “Market Process” at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín, Guatemala. He holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations (Universidad del Salvador) and a M.A in International Economic Policy. (Universidad de Belgrano).

Kenli Schoolland obtained her masters from the London School of Economics, and a bachelor’s from the University of Buckingham in Economics and Politics. She has worked as an intern at free-market think-tanks: the Institute of Economic Affairs in London and Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, and was published in the IEA’s Journal of Economic Affairs in 2012 on the topic of the Chinese economy. She is currently the Director of Development for the International Society for Individual Liberty. Kenli has taught at Liberty English camps and Economics seminars in Lithuania, Poland, Georgia, Bulgaria and China; and has spoken at conferences in the UK, Italy, China, Slovakia, and the Netherlands.

Zoltan Somogyi is a graduate of Eötvös Loránd University for Sociology Studies and founder of the Free Market Foundation. He is also the board member of the Civil Platform Association, Honorary President of the Hungarian Traditional Kung fu Academy, and has previously been the Chief Secretary of the Hungarian Communications Society. Additionally, Zoltan is the author of hundreds of political and communications analyses published in the leading Hungarian media and a guest professor at several universities.

Juanita Spencer is a policy researcher with an extensive background in helping individuals and small businesses navigate the government labyrinth. An entrepreneur and a past candidate for public office, Juanita has also volunteered in political policy and leadership roles. She has worked with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Metropolitan Halifax Chamber of Commerce. Currently, she is the Manager of Research and Operations for the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. Juanita has written on a variety of topics including the perverse incentives of government action and the taxation and regulation of small business. She has delivered talks to future policy leaders on the small business-government interface. Furthermore, she has been in numerous leadership roles including the Co-Chair of her local School Advisory Council and a Board member at Canada Nova Scotia Business. Spencer has a BA from Saint Mary’s University and an MPA from Dalhousie University.

Jacek Spendel is a founder and president of the Freedom and Entrepreneurship Foundation and executive director of the Polish-American Leadership Academy, FEF’s flagship project. He is PhD candidate (Political Philosophy) at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland. Graduated in sociology at the University of Silesia and also studied at the Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Spendel also serves as the Local Coordinator for the European Students for Liberty. He is a former president of the KoLiber (Conservative – Libertarian) Youth Association. As Polish representative of the Language of Liberty Institute, he organized four times Liberty English Camp in Poland. Spendel gained experience in think-tank management from the Globalization Institute (where he worked between 2005 and 2012) and several internships (i.e. Eastman Kodak, Goldwater Institute) he completed over the years. He loves to travel and meet new people and cultures.

Rafael Gutierrez Serrano is Chief of Staff at the Center of Research for Development (CIDAC), in Mexico City. Before joining CIDAC’s team, Rafael was a Project Manager for a New York based firm dedicated to education programs. In his previous years, he also worked as an assistant to the President of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, where he was responsible of researching and analyzing various international documents. He also served as an assistant for the Mexican Mission to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. His experience includes working as Junior Associate for a corporate law private firm and as Research Assistant for the Congress of United States of America. He holds a BA in International Law from the University of the Americas-Puebla. He is fluent in Spanish, English and French.

Zilvinas Silenas joined the Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) in 2006, after graduating from Wesleyan University in Connecticut in 2005. He became president of LFMI in 2011. His field of analysis at LFMI encompasses energy, transport and competition policies. Zilvinas participated in several high-level working groups of legislation of energy, was a member of working groups of “Sunset” (reform and closing down government agencies), and “Sunrise” (cutting red tape, improving conditions for businesses) commissions for the Lithuanian government. Zilvinas has also worked as a teacher of Economics and an adviser to a CEO of an energy company.

Marek Tatala is a Board Member and economist at the Civil Development Forum (FOR Foundation) in Warsaw, Poland. He also serves as a research assistant of Prof. Leszek Balcerowicz, Founder and Council Chairman of the FOR Foundation. His work focuses on public finance, pension system, local governance, political economics, and the right to access public information. He received his BSc in economics and politics from the University of Bristol in England and MA in economics from the Warsaw School of Economics in Poland. He is also a graduate of the CPPR-ACE Winter School in Public Policy Research Methods in Kochi, India. During his studies he served as the Vice-President of the Law and Economics Students’ Association (Warsaw) and President of the Polish Society (Bristol). He is planning to continue his studies as a PhD student at the Warsaw School of Economics with research focused on institutional and political economics.

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