Conference Schedule


Day #0: Thursday, 9 February 2017

16:00 - 19:00

Registration Desk (Venue: O59)

Day #1: Friday, 10 February 2017


Registration Desk (Venue: Grand Ballroom)


Speed Networking
(Venue: Grand Ballroom)

A great Liberty Forum tradition! In a “speed dating” format, you will quickly meet new freedom champions and hear new perspectives. A great way to expand your contacts and experience the diversity of Atlas Network’s worldwide partners.

  • Hosted by Daphne Vallado, Times Group, India


Liberty in 2017 – Opening & Welcome
(Venue: Grand Ballroom)
An overview on what's happening in the liberal movement around the world and especially in Asia--our successes, challenges and roadmap for the future.

  • Hosted by Baishali Bomjan, Centre for Civil Society, India


Winning the battle of ideas
Panel (Venue: Grand Ballroom)
Throughout the world, the philosophy of liberty is under attack. By the failure to march with a growing sense of justice, people and governments are blindly wounding, even destroying, those fundamental human liberties which have been the foundation and the inspiration of progress. How do we win the battle of ideas in a changing world around us? What is the scope for liberal ideas in the contemporary global context? This panel will set the tone of the conversation during the conference.

  • Chair: Rainer Heufers, Centre for Indonesian Policy Studies
  • Panelists: Raghav Bahl, The Quint, India | Tom Palmer, Atlas Network, USA | Linda Whetstone, Network for a Free Society, UK|   Ma Jun Jie, Unirule Institute of Economics, China




Concurrent Breakout Sessions

How do we persuade people to embrace liberalism?
Panel (Venue – Grand Ballroom)
Mainstream dialogue in popular culture, amongst students, and political groups is largely non-liberal across the world and in Asia in particular. What can we do to bring ourselves from the periphery of the debate to the centre, and have our ideas heard by the people who need to hear them the most? Recalling a quote from Frederic Bastiat which captures the challenge, 'The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is not to be skillfully attacked, but ineptly defended.'

This panel will feature individuals that have successfully conveyed the liberal message to important target groups, making ideas based work relevant, easy to access and understand. They will share examples of liberal projects and efforts that have recently been popular, and insights from these that we can learn from.

  • Chair: Charu Chadha, Media 9, Nepal
  • Panelists: Ken Schoolland, International Society for Individual Liberty, USA | JP Narayan, Lok Satta Party, India | Glenn Cripe, Language of Liberty Institute, USA | Barun Mitra, Liberty Institute, India

Property Rights as a Human Right
Track A: Big Ideas (Venue – 059)

Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property." So declares article 17 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Many today argue about the distinction between human rights and property rights, and many who claim to champion the one turn with scorn upon any defender of the other. What they fail to see is that property rights, far from being in conflict, are in fact the most basic of all human rights. There are several aspects of this important truth. The human right of every man to his own life implies the right to find and transform resources: to produce that which sustains and advances life. That product is a man's property. That is why property rights are foremost among human rights and why any loss of one endangers the others. Panelists representing activists, researchers, policy experts on this panel will present specific case studies, overview and the current state of affairs in their countries as well as challenges and opportunities that lie before them.

  • Chair: Baladevan Rangaraju, India Institute
  • Panelists: Ambrish Mehta, Action Research in Community Health and Development, India | Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Azim Premji University | Rainer Heufers, Centre for Indonesian Policy Studies |    Akash Shrestha, Samriddhi Foundation, Nepal


(Venue: Grand Ballroom)


Think Tank Shark Tank
(Venue: Grand Ballroom)

Open only to Atlas Leadership Academy graduates, three contestants from Asia will be chosen to pitch their innovative project before a panel of philanthropists and the regional network of free-market think tanks for the chance to win $5,000.

  • Host: Lawson Bader, Donors Trust, USA
  • Judges: Dan Grossman, Atlas Network, USA | Daniel Green, John Templeton Foundation, USA | Luis Miranda, Centre for Civil Society, India | Rajesh Jain, Free A Billion, India| Terry Kibbe, Free the People, USA
  • Contestants: Adinda Muchtar,, Indonesia | Akash Shrestha, Samriddhi Foundation, Nepal | Tricia Yeoh, Institute for Democracy & Economic Affairs, Malaysia





Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Regulations for a Prosperous and Innovative Market Economy
Track A: Big Ideas (Venue: Grand Ballroom)

Economic freedom leads to a more dynamic market, and prosperous economy. Yet reforms which increase economic freedom are often subject to significant political opposition from interest groups and even the general public. Asian examples of pro-market reform that have been both political and economic policy triumphs include privatising of State owned Enterprises, liberalising a sector (Telecom in India), administrative and process reform by easing processes and strengthening institutions, all the way to large scale policy reform to liberalise the entire economy. Panelists will share insights of successes from a variety of countries to show how these reforms were pushed through, and the challenges that were overcome.

  • Chair: Seetha, Columnist & Public Intellectual, India
  • Panelists: Vivek Dehejia, IDFC Institute, India | Alex Tabarrok, George Mason University, USA | Syed Mizanur Rahman, Daffodil International University, Bangladesh | Nonoy Oplas, Minimal Government Thinkers Inc, Philippines

You Plant the Seeds, but Do You Watch them Grow?
Track B: Think Tank Management (Venue – Meeting Room)

The young generations of today will be the leaders of tomorrow, and it is essential that they be introduced to the ideas of freedom so that the nature of discourse in the future is in a more liberal direction. Partners from across Asia have worked tirelessly toward this goal, by engaging and training youth both on and off college campuses. From the many thousands of minds that have been reached, only a few have shown signs of growing into champions of liberty. How do we engage, identify and nurture upcoming generations, such that they become the next liberal champions in Asia? Panelists will discuss their strategies, successes and challenges in creating a sustained engagement with promising youth.

  • Chair: Amy Proulx, Templeton Foundation, USA
  • Panelists: Li Schooland, Acton Institute, USA | Khalid Ramizy, Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organisation | Kyle Walker, Students for Liberty, USA | Samta Arora, Centre for Civil Society, India

State, Private Sector and Liberty in a Digital World – Challenges for Liberals
Track A: Big Ideas (Venue – O59)

While advancing digitalisation in general is a blessing for the (developing) world it also creates new situations which are challenging personal freedoms. Nowadays it is much easier for states to put their citizens under surveillance and there is increasing desire to know many more details about citizens’ behavior. In addition freedom of speech can be curbed when powerful online platforms censor postings and declare opinions of their users as objectionable. The data which is created by individuals online is used by companies while the user has no clue how the data is processed and has no possibility to object the usage by other companies. As more and more communication and commerce move online it becomes much easier for states to cut off their citizens from the rest of the world. While simply de-digitising won’t be a solution this panel will look at strategies and ideas how citizens can safeguard their rights in the digital age and what especially liberals should do to create a world in which digital means create more freedom for everybody.

  • Chair: Ruben Dieckhoff, Friedrich Naumann Foundation, South Asia
  • Panelists: Anja Kovacs, Internet Democracy Project, India | Julian Morris, Reason Foundation, USA | Ajay Shah, National Institute of Public Finance & Policy, India | Saikat Datta, Centre for Internet and Society, India




Dinner sponsored by Friedrich Naumann Foundation
(Venue: Grand Ballroom)

Launch of book: 'What does it mean to be liberal in India?'

  • Address & Chair: Ronald Meinardus, Friedrich Naumann Foundation, South Asia
    Toast to freedom by Sreyoshi Guha, author from What does it mean to be liberal in India?
  • Dinner
  • Keynote Dinner Address: Economic Freedom for Human Rights by Chandra Bhan Prasad, Public Intellectual and Commentator, India



Day #2: Saturday, 11 February 2017


Yoga Class

Yoga is known to be an internal journey of freedom. Start your day with experiencing freedom in movement, the Indian/yogic way, to expand your energy and clear any physical and mental blocks that limit you!

  • Hosted by Ritika Shah, Centre for Civil Society


Registration Desk (Venue: Grand Ballroom)


Concurrent Breakout Sessions

What's a winning political strategy?
Track A: Big Ideas (Venue: Grand Ballroom)

There have been several attempts to advance liberty through a variety of political strategies: creating a liberal political party, influencing members of parliament, shifting the voter base on a specific issue, placing our own Trojan horses within the government. In this panel, we ask panelists to share their strategy, and discuss their successes and challenges. Besides campaign approaches, we also ask them to highlight tactics and day to day best practices in engaging with governments for impactful dissemination of our ideas.

  • Chair: Praveen Chakraverty, IDFC Institute, India
  • Panelists: Rajesh Jain, Free a Billion, India | Matt Kibbe, Free the People, USA | Wan Saiful Wan Jan, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, Malaysia

New strategies on advancing Economic Liberty
Track B: Think Tank Management (Venue – Meeting Room)

In many countries, the productivity of enterprise and entrepreneurship is limited by bad economic policies. We believe think tanks can be catalysts for policy reforms that create freer competition, enabling enterprise and innovation that benefit consumers, producers, and the greater society. Panellists will share their strategies in identifying and tackling worthwhile reforms that represent local priorities and local vision for change, and successes and challenges in how to optimize and execute research, marketing, and advocacy plans for demonstrable change.

  • Chair: Daniel Anthony, Atlas Network, USA
  • Panelists: Anthea Haryoko, Centre for Indonesian Policy Studies | Dhanuraj D, Centre for Public Policy Studies, India | Deana Jayamanne, Advocata Institute, Sri Lanka




Concurrent Launch of Publications

The Private School Revolution in India
Keynote (Venue – Grand Ballroom)
Address on the role of budget private schools in providing access and choice to India's poorest families. The keynote will culminate in the launch of Centre for Civil Society's Annual Report on Budget Private Schools in India. This report provides a repository of credible information collected through research, and by collating perspectives and information from practitioners, policymakers and scholars engaged with the sector.

  • Introduction to report by Rohan Joshi, Centre for Civil Society, India
  • Address by Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, Institute of Education at University College London, India

Self-Control or State Control? You Decide
Keynote (Venue – O59)
Who should determine the course of our lives? There is no shortage of people who aim to control others, imposing their will and restricting choice through the force of government. A new book edited by Dr. Tom G. Palmer, Atlas Network's executive vice president for international programs, explains how choosing personal responsibility allows us to regain control over our own lives. Self-Control or State Control? You Decide features essays by experts who delve into the relationship between freedom and responsibility, their philosophical and scientific underpinnings, and the practical value of self-control.

  • Introduction by Daniel Antony, Atlas Network, USA
  • Address by Tom Palmer, Atlas Network, USA




Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Education of Choice for all: The role of Budget Private Schools
Track A: Big Ideas (Venue: Grand Ballroom)

Over the past decade there has been a surge of research and policy interest in the role of private schools educating disadvantaged children in developing countries. There is now a growing body of research into the working and impact of budget private schools on education outcomes globally. An increasing number of investors and service providers are working with these schools to understand them and improve quality, efficiency and sustainability. The emergence of various school chains globally, both in partnership and independent of the state, is of particular interest as a means to scale best practices. The sector is however marred by polarised debates on the morality of private provision of education, and a reluctance of government and civil society groups to engage constructively with BPS to improve education quality, access and equity. Within this context, this session will discuss the role of BPS in meeting the goal of providing education of choice for all children.

  • Chair: Gopal Jain, Gaja Capital, India
  • Panelists: Brajesh Mishra, Varthana, India | Neil D’Souza, Zaya Learning Labs, India | Parth J Shah, Centre for Civil Society, India | Gandhi Kingdon, Institute of Education at University College London, India

Running a successful think-tank
Track B: Think Tank Management (Venue – Meeting Room)

Think tanks are in the business of changing the world. But they are also businesses that have to deal with practical management issues such as human resource management, recruitment of interns and volunteers, taking care of finance and admin, managing incoming funds and monitoring project budgets, setting office procedures and policies. In this session, we ask panelists to share their experiences and lessons from managing a think tank start-up.

  • Chair: Manali Shah, Meaningful Meetings & Participatory Strategy, India
  • Panelists: Sara Sihaloho, Centre for Indonesian Policy Studies | Deependra Chaulagain, Samriddhi Foundation, Nepal | Tricia Yeoh, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, Malaysia | Amit Chandra, Center for Civil Society, India

Creating & using impactful datasets for effective advocacy
Track B: Think Tank Management (Venue – 059)

Among the different techniques for bringing liberal reform, using impactful datasets has been a consistently successful means. There are several examples from different contexts, be it global (Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World Index, the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings), national (PRIME’s Pakistan Economic Policy Scorecard), local (Praja’s report cards on local government in Mumbai & Delhi) or sectoral (Janaagraha’s Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems). Panelists share insights, and how they have used these datasets for effective advocacy.

  • Chair: Hindol Sengupta, Centre for Civil Society, India
  • Panelists: Manish Jha, FACTS, Nepal | Anil Nair, Janaagraha, India | Christian Zaens, Institute for Solidarity in Asia, Philippines | Laveesh Bhandari, Indicus Analytics, India


(Venue: Grand Ballroom)


Introduction of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Theme & Presentations by Asia Liberty Award Finalists
(Venue: Grand Ballroom)

The 2017 Asia Liberty Awards recognize think tanks within the Atlas Network that have made important contributions to improving the landscape for enterprise and entrepreneurship in the region.

  • Hosted by Cindy Cerquitella, Atlas Network, USA
  • Finalists: Prashant Narang, Centre for Civil Society, India | Jin kwon Hyun, Center for free Enterprise, South Korea


Concurrent Breakout Sessions

The Compatibility of Islam and Freedom
Track A: Big Ideas (Venue: Grand Ballroom)

Muslim majority lands were once the most advanced regions on earth in the areas of tolerance, freedom, science and medicine. Today they are shown as laggards in most international indices covering economic freedom, human development and human rights. The economic failure of Muslim countries is not caused by incompatibility between the tenets of Islam and the principles of a free economy, but the deviations from the liberal tradition of early Islam. Islam not only wants freedom of the individual from theocracy, but also from control by the state. Islam emphasises the role and responsibility of the individual; freedom of faith is fundamental principle. (Islamic Foundations of a free society, IEA 2016).

Asia provides 62% of the global Islamic population, with the four most populous Islamic nations being Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Islam is also the dominant religion on the continent. Panelists will discuss the compatibility between Islam and Freedom in their local contexts, and look at trends from across the region.

  • Chair: Ronald Meinardus, Friedrich Naumann Foundation, South Asia
  • Panelists: Wan Saiful Wan Jan, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, Malaysia | Mohammad Abul Ahrar Ramizpoor, Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organisation | Bican Sahin, Freedom Research Association, Turkey

Fundraising: Getting Active and Getting Creative
Track B: Think Tank Management (Venue: O59)

The challenge of winning the battle of ideas requires us to continue finding new champions all over the globe. As the freedom movement in Asia grows, the need for building and sustaining robust organisations to maintain this burgeoning network becomes ever more important. What is it that donors look for when supporting our work? How do we maximise our local connections and networks and build relationships to ensure that we get our message across to the right individuals? This Think Tank Management session provides an opportunity to learn directly from those who invest in the worldwide freedom movement. Panelists share what they look for in funding opportunities, and what groups could do better to earn lasting support. No pitches allowed, but bring your questions to refine how you can successfully present your work to win support for your work!

  • Chair: Luis Miranda, Centre for Civil Society, India
  • Panelists: Tom Palmer, Atlas Network, USA | Terry Kibbe, Free the People, USA | Harpreet Singh, Dasra, India





Concurrent Breakout Sessions

What Makes a Robust Financial Policy?
Track A: Big Ideas (Venue: Grand Ballroom)

Developing and adopting a written financial policy is a valuable practice for any country. It clarifies the government’s role, authority, and responsibilities for essential financial management activities and decisions, and has tremendous repercussions not just for key stakeholders in the sector but for the general public at large. The absence of an adopted policy or the presence of an obsolete one has grave consequences of a nation functioning with a set of assumptions that may or may not be accurate or productive. What makes a robust financial sector that enhances a nation’s long-term growth, and what type of regulatory environments need to be put in place to ensure this? What are the current challenges in Asia and globally? What lessons can get draw from successful countries and why? Our panelists representing academia, policy and the financial services sector will address these critical questions.​

  • Chair: Niranjan Rajadhyaksha, Live Mint, India
  • Panelists: Christopher Lingle, Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala | Susan Thomas, Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research, India | Sudeepto Deb, Minerva Consulting, India

Attracting Successful Board Leaders
Track B: Think Tank Management (Venue: O59)

A key element of a successful think tank is a well functioning board. A strong board increases the organisation’s ability to create and sustain a sphere of influence across sectors in politics, business, government, academics, media, business etc, along with the more traditional fiduciary and strategic responsibilities of a board. Our panelists, all of whom have tremendous experience serving on boards of think tanks and other non-profits, will provide insights on how to effectively attract and manage successful board leaders to improve the impact of your organisation.

  • Chair: Lawson Bader, Donors Trust, USA
  • Panelists: Kris Mauren, Acton Institute, USA | Robin Sitoula, Samriddhi Foundation, Nepal | Simon Lee, Lion Rock Institute, Hong Kong | Nasrullah Stanekzai, Kabul University, Afganistan | Mohit Satyanand, Entrepreneur and Policy Wonk, India




Registration for Freedom Dinner
Registration Desk (Venue: Grand Ballroom)


Freedom Dinner & Asia Liberty Awards
(Venue: Grand Ballroom)

The gala Freedom Dinner is an exclusive event closing what has been two incredible days of making new friends, learning new ideas and sharing your work with those who are equally passionate about being in this movement. Remembering the lost heroes of Liberty - A tribute to the great champions of Liberty we’ve lost this past year and a toast to continuing their legacy. Amit Varma will deliver a keynote address on the subject of 'Freedom in India.' In the last few months, the landscape of freedom has changed in the subcontinent. There are new threats to freedom, as well as new opportunities, and this keynote will focus on how India's unfolding demographic transformation can make it the most significant battleground for freedom in the history of humankind."

  • Host: Baishali Bomjan, Centre for Civil Society, India
    Tribute to Lost Heroes of Liberty 2017
  • Keynote Address: Freedom in India by Amit Varma, India Uncut
  • Chair: Mohit Satyanand, Entrepreneur and Policy Wonk, India
    Awards Ceremony for Asia Liberty Awards & Shark Tank by Tom Palmer, Atlas Network, USA

For any queries or further information, please contact Gopikrishnan: | +91 99959 69229

PARTNERS  Atlas Network  FNF