International Society on Individual Liberty (ISIL) is an organization that upholds the freedom of individuals and engages actively in facilitating activities that promote individual freedom. In July, ISIL held the ISIL World Conference on Market Liberalization in Ubud, Bali. The event gathered various groups of people ranging from economists, human rights activists, journalists, academics, and students from around the world to discuss market liberalization as the main topic as well as other issues related to the freedom of individuals.
I was chosen as one of the students from Indonesia to attend the event with a full scholarship from Friedrich Naumann Foundation and Freedom Institute after going through a rigorous selection process. The event was held at Villa Bhiyu Siyu, Ubud from 29 June to 3 July 2015.
I came in a little late on the first day after attending the National Climate Change Forum 2015 earlier in Seminyak. When the Indonesian representatives and I arrived at the venue, the event has already started and the host-country speakers which were represented by the Director of Freedom Institute, Rizal Mallarangeng, was giving his opening speech, followed by economist David Friedman and Dr Mary J Ruwart who discussed the climate change from economic perspective. ISIL World Conference did not only provide the participants with high-quality speakers consist of more than 36 speakers from around the world, but also interesting discussion sessions and in-depth discussions around the issue of freedom, particularly market liberalization.
Not only that, ISIL World Conference also gave me a new family, as the participants became increasingly close with each other during interactive games designed by committee to introduce the participants who came from the United States, United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, Africa, Thailand, Australia, Japan, China, Korea, Switzerland, Malaysia, Cambodia, Nepal, Greece, etc. The games were held every afternoon after the session ended which later followed by a gala dinner and a cultural show.
In the other sessions we discussed foreign direct investment presented by former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand; Bit Coin by David Veksler; some sessions on market liberalization and freedom versus slavery (serfdom) by David Friedman and Mary J Ruwart; Greek crisis by Panos Evangelopulous; Middle East crisis by Nouh El-Harmouzi; freedom by Yeon-mi Park and Casey Lartigue, migration and economic development by Ken Scholland, and the Peace, Love, and Liberty by Tom Palmer.
Speakers from Indonesia, for example Rofi Uddarojat, presented his research on migrant workers. There was also the founder of Islam Liberal Network and social activist in Indonesia, Ulil Abshar Abdalla who reviewed the topic of Religion, Spirituality, and Liberty. This event was filled with valuable opportunity to meet and engage in discussions with youth, leaders, economists, and other freedom activists from around the world.
One of the most interesting sessions, in my opinion, was the sharing of experience session from Yeon-mi Park, a human rights activist from North Korea. She reminded us of the importance of freedom through a very saddening life experience. Living in a country with an iron-hand leader who does not upholds human rights are the things that cannot be imagined. Yeon-mi’s attempts to escape from the shackles of dictatorship were extraordinary. For the sake of her and her family’s freedom, Yeon-mi was willing to risk her life.
Yeon-mi Park’s experience was very inspiring and important for us to know and learn from because by knowing how miserable the North Koreans who are hungry for freedom, we will have better appreciation on the importance of freedom and not be discouraged in the fight for it.
Unlike the majority of North Koreans who prefer to be submissive and silent under the North Korean Government coercive measures, Yeon-mi family chose to leave North Korea for China, which at the time they considered to be a better place. They thought that it would be better to die than to live without freedom, especially when they know the fatal consequences of getting caught by the North Korean government.
Finally, I also learned important lessons from this conference that market liberalization can bring benefits to the community and that slavery and statism is a detrimental thing. It should not be implemented in the community for the freedom and well-being of individuals to be appreciated.

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