by Anastasiia Mykolenko
On June, 6-9th, Liberty International World Conference 2019 was hosted in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, by the local free markets-oriented NGO Silk Road Foundation.
Many of this year Conference’s attendees found the event to be “the best Liberty Conference” in terms of organization, logistics, accommodation, extra activities, and, of course, the location.
Indeed, not many participants were familiar with Mongolian culture and spirit before the conference. It is largest contiguous land empire in the world’s history, and is becoming a cultural bridge between East and West nowadays.
The Mongolian team did their best to show their hospitality and high level of organizational skills. All the participants were warmly welcomed at the airport right on time and transferred to the hotel, with the locals driving them through steppe Mongolian landscapes.
The first Conference’s evening started with the welcoming speech from the Founder of the Silk Road Foundation, M.Khaliunbat. Next came the Mongolian National performance and the introductory lecture by Tom Palmer. The attendees had the opportunity to “meet and greet” each other during the beautifully arranged cocktail party.
The intense dive into the liberty ideas started the next day on June, 7th. The lectures were held at the hotel’s conference room, which was an an extremely comfortable and time-efficient venue for the lunches and breakfasts. Among the first lecturers were Hugo van Reijen talking about “The Entrepreneur and the Government;” Glen Crippe, presenting his and Jacek Spendel’s activities for young freedom fighters; Andrés Cusme Franco and Maria Alejandra Londono with the case studies on Ecuador and Columbia respectively; and the young, but powerful liberty defender Ayemen Fatima from India with her lecture on the War on Drugs.
These presentations were followed by the inspirational speeches of Yaron Brook and Kyle Varner. The Chinese struggle for freedom was passionately presented by Li Zhao Schoolland, and the dangers of socialism were explicitly detailed by Yuri Maltsev.
The speeches of Mongolian presenters, Batchuluun Baldandorj and Mirsuljan Namazaliev, were given in Mongolian; however, the English translation was kindly provided by specially-invited interpreters.
The first day of the Conference resumed with lectures on destructive regulations from Per Bylund, and the well-structured presentation on FinTech from Wei Wu.
All the speeches were extremely engaging and were followed by an enlightening Q&A session. The first day of the Conference ended with Mongolian stand-up comedy, which engaged everyone.
The next day was quite intense as well, as the program was filled with burning topics of today. The current situation in Venezuela was presented by Pedro Urruchurtu, a young activist bravely fighting for freedom in the heart of his troubled country, who travels the world to shed the light on current events there. Pedro’s efforts were supported and embraced by the libertarian community, and, at the end of the conference, he was granted a lifelong membership in Liberty International.
Jan Kuban lead a brainstorming session and invited all attendees to discuss ways to deliver the ideas of liberty to students. He also presented his own suggestions, which were thoughtful and persuasive. María José Bernal Gaviria from Colombia continued on this topic, talking about students’ leadership and activism in promoting liberty ideas.
Ken Schoolland presented a wider perspective on that matter in his lecture on: How Nations Embrace Entrepreneurship.” Saturday’s discussions concluded with a presentation by Jeffrey Singer on harm reduction; Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa’s talk on intellectual entrepreneurship; and the insights of China’s innovation strategy from MA Junjie.
The second day of the Conference ended by going to the Ulan-Bataar Central Cultural Palace for a group picture there, and enjoying a delicious Mongolian dinner in a cozy, but quite classy, restaurant.
The last day of lectures started with free market healthcare and global warming discussions led by David G. Vequist and Tsenguun Purevjav respectively. These engaging lectures were followed by the presentation of Hiroshi Yoshida from Japan on “Market vs. Government.” Christopher Lingle and Amartuvshin Dorj continued the previous day’s deliberation on libertarian activism.
After these engaging speeches, Jacek Spendel was introduced as the newly-elected president of the Liberty International.C
The next lecture on “North Korea and Freedom” by Henry Song was particularly impressive, as it was followed by the protest against the totalitarian practices of the North Korean regime by the North Korean Embassy in Ulaanbaatar.
The official part of the Conference ended with the Mini Naadam Festival at Chinggisiin Khuree Tourist Complex ,the ger camp outside of the city. The Conference’s participants were privileged to see the Mini Naadam Festival, a national celebration. It was organized at the wide steppe area and filled with colorful Mongolian yurts either owned by nomads or used to accommodate tourists.
The conference’s attendees got a chance to see wrestling, one of the most popular Mongolian entertainments, followed by the fascinating performance of national singers and acrobats. Also, some of the participants rode a Mongolian horse and even tried archery.
The Closing Ceremony was held at the monumental ger restaurant decked out in a Mongol Empire theme. Traditional Mongolian dishes were served, warm closing speeches were made, and the organizers of this truly amazing event were deservedly celebrated. The dinner was concluded by the successful fundraising auction, organized by Liberty International.
The majority of the participants extended their stay in Mongolia for the additional sightseeing activity, arranged by the conference organizers. First thing on Sunday, the group drove to see the Genghis Khan Statue Complex with the biggest equestrian statue in the world. Next, participants went for hiking, horse riding, and discovering Mongolian temples at the picturesque natural landscapes.
The Mongolian friendliness and inspiring spirit of freedom was impressive! The intense and riveting lectures in conjunction with thoughtfully- organized entertainment activities made the Liberty International Conference 2019 an unforgettable and enduring experience.
TESTIMONIALS FROM PARTICIPANTS
Pedro Urruchurtu Noselli, Venezuela
Attending the Liberty International World Conference has been one of the most incredible experiences I have ever experienced. To share with wonderful liberty champions from all over the world and to have talked about what’s going on in Venezuela in a country like Mongolia, which understands what are the consequences of socialism, is something I will never forget. Thanks for this unique experience!
Ayemen Fatima, India
The biggest stand out of LI world conferences is the diversity of topics it brings to the Libertarian platform. The speaker line up is so well thought of and impactful. I’ve learnt so many different Dynamics of the fight for freedom around the world, thank you LI for such a brilliant conference.
María Alejandra Londoño, Colombia
LIWC 2019 in Mongolia was an amazing experience, you just walk in this wonderful libertarian family to learn and grow, to take the experiences and insightful new ideas back home to keep the fight for freedom all around the world.
Maria Jose Bernal, Colombia
It was an honor to share thoughts and great ideas with amazing people from all over the world. Thank you for inviting me to speak about dreams and projects for libertarian students in Latin America. This was an enriching and delightful experience for me, in the way that I was able to represent my country, Colombia, as well as my organization, Students For Liberty. I learned from people with different cultures, languages, and ways of life, all with a common principle: liberty. Thank you!